Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott

Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott (Illustration) Famous People World History Nineteenth Century Life

Few people today may know who Charles Cunningham Boycott was, but everyone knows his name.  That’s because there’s a story attached to the landowner whose last name gave rise to a new word:  Boycott.

Bad harvests, in 1879, once again led to near-famine conditions in Ireland.  Irish tenant farmers were harmed even more when their country began importing cheap grain from America.

One logical fix was to lower land-rental payments for Irish farmers.  Action was taken, to make that happen, but the wheels of change turn slowly.  Irish tenant farmers were being harmed with no cure on the immediate horizon.

Sometimes change only occurs when it’s forced.  With land agents failing to address the concerns of Irish tenant farmers, workers refused to harvest the crop of Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott in 1880. 

A new word - “boycott” - was thus added to the English language.

This image - depicting Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott - is a caricature by Spy (Leslie Ward).  It was published in Vanity Fair's January 29, 1881 issue.

Click on the image for a better view.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 23, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Jun 16, 2015

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


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"Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott" AwesomeStories.com. Jul 23, 2013. Jul 19, 2018.
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