Über den Autor
Olaudah Equiano (16 October 1745 - 31 March 1797), known in his lifetime as Gustavus Vassa, was a writer and abolitionist from Ashaka Nigeria. Enslaved as a child, he was taken to the Anglo-Caribbean, British West Indies, and sold as a slave to a captain in the Royal Navy. Later he was sold to a Quaker trader. Eventually, he purchased his freedom in 1766 by intelligent trading and careful savings.
In London, Equiano was part of the Sons of Africa, an abolitionist group composed of Africans living in Britain, and he was active among leaders of the anti-slave trade movement in the 1780s. He published his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano in 1789, which depicted the horrors of slavery. It went through nine editions and helped gain passage of the British Slave Trade Act of 1807, which abolished the African slave trade.
As a freedman in London, he supported the British abolitionist movement. Equiano had a stressful life; he had suffered suicidal thoughts before he became a Protestant Christian and found peace in his faith. After settling in London, Equiano married an English woman named Susannah Cullen in 1792 and they had two daughters. He died in 1797 in Middlesex. Equiano's death was reported in American as well as British newspapers, as his autobiography had been widely read. Plaques commemorating his life have been placed at buildings where he lived in London. Since the late 20th century, when his autobiography was published in a new edition, he has been increasingly studied by a range of scholars, including many from his homeland, Igboland, in the eastern part of Nigeria.
Published in 1789, Equiano's autobiography was the first of its kind to influence a wide audience. He told the story of his life and suffering as a slave. He describes scenes of outrageous torture and made it clear to his readers how the institution of slavery dehumanized both owner and slave.
Equiano's work became an important part of the abolitionist cause, because he was able to portray Africans with a humanity that many slave traders tried to deny. Anyone with an interest in the slave trade or the abolitionist movement will find this book essential reading.
Nigerian slave and abolitionist OLAUDAH EQUIANO (1745-1797) was sold to white slavers when he was eleven and renamed Gustavas Vassa. He worked on a naval ship and fought during the Seven Years' War, which he felt earned him a right to freedom. Eventually, he was able to purchase his freedom and move to England, where he was safe from being captured back into slavery. There, he was an outspoken advocate of the abolitionist movement.