Who introduced the potato to Britain?

Potatoes were first introduced to Britain in the late 16th Century by the famous Royal Naval commander and explorer Sir Walter Raleigh, following a visit to South America. He found the tribespeople of Chile and Peru ate a root vegetable that they called 'batata', and upon sampling one himself, found that they were good food.

He returned to England with a shipment of potato vegetables, plants and seeds, but although they were received favourably in the court of Queen Elizabeth 1st, many ordinary English people did not like them, and some even thought that they were poisonous!!

The potato was only slowly introduced as a mainstay vegetable crop in Britain and Europe- many folk were reluctant to accept the foreign novelty, and even after this resistance was overcome, they were looked down upon by wealthier classes as the food of the poor, which it would never do for a lady or gentleman to be seen dining upon. It was not until the mid-19th Century that they became generally embraced by British society as a whole.