Olaudah Equiano

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Olaudah Equiano, also known as Gustavas Vassa, was an African man sold into slavery at an early age who later bought his own freedom. His experiences and autobiography were very important to the abolitionist movement in Europe.
Olaudah was born in 1745 in Nigeria. At age 11 he and his family were captured by native slave-holders. Then they were sold to European slave traders, packed into a ship, and sent across the Atlantic to Barbados. In 1757 at age 12 he was bought by a naval captain called Captain Pascal for about 40 British Pounds. Pascal was the one who gave him the name Gustavas Vassa. After being purchased by Pascal Olaudah spent most of his time on the sea, whether it was an trading ships or war vessels. Olaudah helped serve during the Seven Years War as a gunpowder carrier for Pascal’s ships, and during that time Pascal taught Olaudah about seamanship. Olaudah had earned some form of respect from Pascal during this time, so after the war Pascal sent Olaudah to serve the Guerin’s, who were some of Pascal’s relatives, when he did not need him on the ships. While he was serving at the Guerin’s they had taught him how to read, how to write, and much about arithmetic. He also converted to Christianity while he was in
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Eventually some of his friends encouraged him to write an autobiography in 1789 The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano was published and it sold very well, it was even translated into multiple languages. The book was very well received by the general populace in England, helping the abolitionist movement immensely, and made Olaudah sort of famous. The money he made off of his autobiography set him up for good, so he could spend his time protesting slavery. He gained so much popularity that he personally petitioned to the king to end

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