Life of Olaudah Equiano

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Olaudah Equiano was born in 1745, in now what is known as Nigeria, but back then was known as the region inhabited by the Igbo people. He was one of 7 children, the youngest of 6 boys, and he also had one younger sister. Source 1, Equiano’s autobiography, “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa the African”, which tells the story of how he was kidnapped at a young age, possibly 11, from the Igbo village of Essaka in the region of Benin, where he had grown up. From here he endured the Middle Passage to the “New World”, where he was forced to into slave labour. This being said, some writers, however, claim that Equiano was born in colonial South Carolina and not in Africa. Source 2, is a map that shows the route of Equiano’s many travels throughout his long career that was said to be 8 years, at sea. It clearly demonstrates that he was unusually well-travelled for his time. He stated in his autobiography that he was passed from owner to owner in Africa, and was eventually sold to a slaver bound for Barbados. Here he was “reconditioned,” after experiencing the traumatic experience of the Middle Passage. He was then purchased to work as a slave on a plantation in Virginia, where conditions tended to be much more humane than in the sugar colonies. This was said to be the first of several fortunate turns of fate. Equiano was first renamed Gustavus Vassa by his English master – Mr Campbell, however within a year; he had been sold again and was now in the hands of a British Naval officer, Michael Henry Pascal. Source 2, a map of Equiano’s travels, As Equiano travelled with Pascal to England, he found himself in a situation that would give him the ability to become educated in the seafaring life and gain other valuable life skills. In his autobiography, he recalled that as well as learning the basics of seamanship from Pascal, “I had long wished to read and write and for this purpose I took every opportunity to gain instruction.” Both...
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