Olaudah Equiano and his Role in the Abolition of Slavery in Africa Essay

Olaudah Equiano and his Role in the Abolition of Slavery in Africa Essay

Length: 665 words (1.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Olaudah Equiano was an eighteenth century African slave who later became an author. Born in 1745, Equiano was the son of an Eboe village leader in the present country of Nigeria (Williamson). At only eleven years old, Equiano and his sister were captured and sold into slavery (Carey). His experiences from his home in Africa, as well as those as a slave, would later influence his renowned autobiography The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African.
First published in 1789, Volume I focuses on Equiano’s short time in Africa followed by his treacherous journey as a slave. He begins the narrative with an in depth description of his homeland of Nigeria, speaking of their food, clothes, and religious views. He then recounts the events following his kidnapping, as well as the treacherous expedition from Africa to the West Indies known as the Middle Passage. Once in the West Indies, Equiano saw firsthand the selling of his countrymen. While there, he was not purchased, so Equiano was taken to Virginia, where he labored in the fields of a plantation. Not long after arriving in Virginia, Equiano was sold to Henry Pascal, a lieutenant in the British navy. After purchasing Equiano, Pascal returned to England. During their journey, Pascal renamed Equiano Gustavus Vassa. Once in England, Equiano began to go to church with his new friend Robert Baker, who began to teach him to read and write. Pascal later sent Equiano to work for his sisters, the Guerins. The Guerins promoted his education and Christianity, and eventually, the sisters convinced Pascal to permit Equiano to be baptized. Eqiano was extremely loyal to Pascal, but after a few years the slave was sold to James Doran. Equiano was astonished th...


... middle of paper ...


... readers will learn from his story.
After the publishing of his narrative, the final years of Equiano’s life were extremely successful for an African of the eighteenth century. With the popularity of his autobiography growing, Equiano led an abolition campaign throughout Great Britain. He traveled the country endorsing his book as well as advocating anti-slavery. Equiano married Susanna Cullen in 1792, and the two would eventually have two daughters (Carey). Equiano eventually benefited financially from his book and was able to provide his daughters with generous inheritances. Equiano eventually died in 1797 in London, England (Williamson). Although he would perish before anything was accomplished in the anti-slavery movement in Great Britain or the United States, Equiano and his autobiography played a pivotal role in the abolition of slavery in these two countries.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on The Life Of Gustavas Vassa By Olaudah Equiano

- The Life of Gustavas Vassa, by Olaudah Equiano, was the first-ever slave autobiography ever to be written. Throughout his work, Equiano refers to himself as “Gustavas Vassa”, which was the slave name he was referred to during his pre-freedom life. The Life of Gustavas Vassa is a primary source, meaning that Equiano witnessed and experienced the events and conditions that were documented first hand. ¬Equiano was a merchant, abolitionist, and explorer. He was born in Eboe, what is now Nigeria, before being kidnapped and sold to slave traders headed to the West Indies....   [tags: Atlantic slave trade, Slavery, British Empire]

Better Essays
773 words (2.2 pages)

The Effect of Slave Trade Represented by Life of Olaudah Equiano by Gustavas Vassc

- The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavas Vassa, the African, Written by Himself, recounts the story of a child who is born in West Africa, but is kidnapped and thrown into a Western world completely foreign to him. Equiano is a slave for a total of ten years and endeavors to take on certain traits and customs of Western thinking. Not only is it an in-depth account of his life in enslavement and as a freedman, but also it is the first autobiography to ever be published by a former slave and becomes apart of a broader Humanitarian Revolution....   [tags: western, human rights, equality, tolerance]

Better Essays
596 words (1.7 pages)

Olaudah Equiano 's Life And Experiences Essays

- Olaudah Equiano was an extraordinary person that lived in a time that stifled personal freedom, views, and aspirations all because of one simple notion: skin color. Even with living in this oppressive time period, Equiano persevered and experienced many things in his life that not many people of his skin color, let alone white people, could say they have. In his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano: or, Gustavus Vassa, the African, Equiano goes in to detail about his life and experiences, starting with a detailed explanation of his homeland and its people, and then talks about his journeys highlighting how he and his brethren were treated on both sides of t...   [tags: Slavery, Africa, Olaudah Equiano]

Better Essays
1050 words (3 pages)

The Abolition Of Colonialism On Sub Saharan Africa Essays

- Since 1960, the imposition of colonialism on sub-Saharan Africa has affected the continent in many ways. Pacifically political and economic development. Africa has gone through so much just to become an independent country. Going back 1870 when Belgians began to trade with Africans in the Congo. The other European countries began to worry about missing out on the many amazing raw materials Africa possessed. The most important factor that motivated European colonial expansion was economic gain. This is due to industrial revolution, which began in Britain in the second half of the eighteenth century....   [tags: Africa, Colonialism, Sub-Saharan Africa]

Better Essays
1210 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Equiano 's Life Of Olaudah Equiano

- It has been suggested that Olaudah Equiano lied about his birthplace in his The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavas Vassa, the African. The question of Olaudah Equiano’s birth place, whether it be modern day Nigeria or South Carolina, has little effect on the historical significance of his “autobiography.” In this essay I will discuss the reasons scholars are questioning the authenticity of his works, the affect his work played in the slave trade, and the impact this accusation has on his life’s work....   [tags: Atlantic slave trade, Slavery, Olaudah Equiano]

Better Essays
727 words (2.1 pages)

Advocates for the Abolition of Slavery: Olaudah Equiano vs. Fredirck Douglass

- ... Equiano describes his experience of being separated from his family in Chapter II of his story. According to his account, “The next day proved a day of greater sorrow than I had yet experienced; for my sister and I were then separated, while we lay clasped in each other’s arms (29). Earlier, the Equiano siblings had been separated from their parents, which was overwhelming. However, separation from his sister left Olaudah in tears. Frederick Douglass experienced separation from his mother at a young age....   [tags: whites, inhumane treatment]

Better Essays
912 words (2.6 pages)

The Relationship Between Africa and Brazil Essay

- ... Although most of the Brazilian cooperation goes to Central and South America due to peacekeeping operations, in technical cooperation the focus in the African continent is visible, accounting for 57% of the total (ABC, 2011): Source: ABC, 2011 As reported by the latest official information in 2011, there were technical cooperation projects either in the design or implementation phases in 38 out of 54 African countries (ABC, 2011). Regarding the top beneficiaries of the Brazilian cooperation in Africa, Portuguese-speaking African countries (PALOP) are the focus (Figure 8)....   [tags: slavery abolition, global powers]

Better Essays
683 words (2 pages)

Essay about Equiano 's Narrative Of The Life Of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa

- Today, cultures generally recognize the irrefutable humanity of all people, no matter how well they assimilate into new cultures. However, for white society in the 1700’s, the instances where blacks assimilated into the cultures and customs of the New World and Europe were the only instances when whites attempted to recognize their humanity. Olaudah Equiano wrote of his own assimilation into European culture in his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa....   [tags: Slavery, Atlantic slave trade, Olaudah Equiano]

Better Essays
1249 words (3.6 pages)

Olaudah Equiano Essay

- Olaudah Equiano (Gustavus Vassa) was kidnapped from his African village at the age of eleven, shipped through the arduous "Middle Passage" of the Atlantic Ocean, seasoned in the West Indies and sold to a Virginia planter. He was later bought by a British naval Officer, Captain Pascal, as a present for his cousins in London. After ten years of enslavement throughout the North American continent, where he assisted his merchant slave master and worked as a seaman, Equiano bought his freedom. At the age of forty four he wrote and published his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African....   [tags: Olaudah Equiano Essays]

Better Essays
1309 words (3.7 pages)

Abolition Essay

- Abolition A Stronger Resistance The abolitionist movement in the United States sought to eradicate slavery using a wide range of tactics and organizations. The antislavery movement mobilized many African Americans and some whites who sought to end the institution of slavery. Although both black and white abolitionists often worked together, the relationship between them was intricate. The struggle for black abolitionists was much more personal because they wanted to end slavery and also wanted to gain equal rights for blacks....   [tags: essays papers]

Better Essays
864 words (2.5 pages)