Arrival of the first tubers
It seems odd to reflect that no one in England knew about ‘potatoes’ until the time of Queen Elizabeth I. Sir Walter Raleigh is thought by some to have brought potatoes back from one of his trips to Virginia, USA, in about 1585.
But there is mystery surrounding the truth. The true potato (Solanum tuberosum) was probably brought to Europe from Colombia, by the Spanish, somewhere around 1580. They arrived in Britain around 1585/86, Belgium and Germany by 1587, Austria about 1588, and in France around 1600. They didn’t reach Ireland until about 1700, and it was from Ireland that spuds were introduced to North America in about 1720.