IGBO HISTORY: Olaudah Equiano was the first black abolitionist and a renowned writer.


At the age of 11, He was captured by  slave traders from his hometown in Isseke, present day Anambra State and sold into bondage to the British colony of Virginia.

He was given the name Gustavus Vassa by one of his many owners, and was forced to serve several masters, among them was a British Naval officer
Whom he traveled between four continents with. 

These journies helped him to produce the most popular and vivid slave narrative of his era.

He purchased his freedom in the year 1777 at the age of 32, after having mastered reading, writing and arithmetic.

He settled in England, and soon became a leader of the emerging anti-slavery movement.  

He presented one of the first petitions to the British Parliament calling for the abolition of slavery.

In 1787, He became the first person of African ancestry to hold a post in the British Government when he was appointed to the post of Commissary for Stores to the Expedition for Freed Slaves.  This venture created the country, "Sierra Leone". 

He worked with leading British abolitionists to see that the Parliament abolish Slave Trade. 

In 1789 he wrote and published his autobiography titled The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa the African.
His narrative soon became the first “best seller” written by a black Briton.  Among those who purchased copies of his narrative were the Prince of Wales and eight dukes.

He also embarked on a lecture tour of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland to promote his book particularly among the growing number of abolition committees it spawned.

He married an Englishwoman, Susanna Cullen, in 1792. The couple had two daughters.

Equiano died in 1797, ten years before the slave trade was abolished and 36 years before Parliament outlawed slavery throughout the British Empire.


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