The Potato originated in the Andes of South America the Inca Indians in Peru first cultivated them. However, the invading Spanish conquistadors centuries later also loved the Peruvians' potatoes.
The Spaniards had been on the look out for jewels and gold - potatoes became one of the exotic finds they excitedly brought back to Europe to impress royalty in 1536.
The word ‘potato’ known in Spanish as ‘patata’ is derived from the word ‘batata’.
Introduced to Europe in 1536, the potato was subsequently conveyed by European mariners to territories and ports throughout the world. Thousands of varieties persist in the Andes, where over 100 cultivars might be found in a single valley, and a dozen or more might be maintained by a single agricultural household.
Once established in Europe, the potato soon became a vital food staple and farm crop. But lack of genetic diversity, due to the fact that very few varieties were initially introduced, left the crop vulnerable to disease. In 1845, a plant disease known as late blight, spread rapidly through the poorer communities of western Ireland, resulting in the crop failures that led to the Great Irish Famine.