Olaudah Equiano Facts

Olaudah Equiano Facts
Olaudah Equiano was an African slave in London who gained his freedom, helped to support the end of slavery in Britain, and wrote about it in his autobiography. He was born in Nigeria in 1745 into the Igbo tribe. At the age of eleven Olaudah Equiano was kidnapped, along with his sister, and sold into slavery. He was sold several times until he was finally shipped to the Barbados and then to the Virginia colony in America. Sold again, Olaudah went to England with his owner Michael Pascal. A few years later, after learning English he was sold again and was taken to the Caribbean again, where he was able to buy his own freedom. His biography is considered to be one of the first slavery accounts documented by a former slave.
Interesting Olaudah Equiano Facts:
Olaudah's father was a man of dignity known as 'Embrenche" with markings carved into his forehead, and his mother was heavily involved in communal wars. His mother taught him self-defence.
Olaudah means good fortune and symbolizes one who is well-spoken.
Olaudah Equiano had six older siblings. When he was kidnapped the criminals also took his sister. They were separated and sold to different people.
When Olaudah arrived in the Virginia colony, after having been sold in Barbados, his new owner Michael Pascal renamed him Gustavus Vassa. Olaudah did not want to accept the new name but Pascal punished him until he accepted it.
Pascal was a Royal Navy member and took Olaudah back to England with him. Pascal took Olaudah with him during the Seven Years' War in France, making him haul gunpowder to the gun deck during battle.
Pascal took a liking to Olaudah and had his sister-in-law in Britain take him in and teach him English. Olaudah received an education and was baptized as a Christian in 1759.
Pascal sold Olaudah to Captain James Doran, who then sold him Robert King, an American in the Caribbean.
Robert King allowed Olaudah to save money to buy his own freedom, for forty pounds. He also encouraged Olaudah to keep improving his reading and writing skills.
Olaudah bought his freedom in 1767, and moved to England. He thought it was too dangerous to remain where he was as he had almost been kidnapped into slavery again.
Olaudah began to work with the Royal Navy in England, on the Racehorse ship, traveling on a route through the Arctic in search of a route to India.
While on the northern Arctic expedition Olaudah worked with Dr. Charles Irving who later employed him to pick the slaves in South America to work on plantations, which he was also hired to manage.
In the 1780s Olaudah became active in the British movement to end slavery.
Many fellow abolitionists encouraged Olaudah to write and publish his story, which he did.
Olaudah's book was titled The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African.
His book was so popular it went through nine editions while he was still alive.
Olaudah married in 1792 and had two mixed-race daughters.
Olaudah continued to support the slavery abolitionist movement until his death.
Olaudah died in 1797 at the age of 52, a year after his 34 year old wife died. His four year old daughter Anna Maria died shortly after, leaving only Joanna Vassa, the youngest.


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