The Life of Olaudah Equiano

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  • I was born in a rich family in Africa in 1745. I had 6 siblings and many slaves. I was captured by African slave traders when I was 11 years old. They took me to America.
  • The journey was awful, I was suffocated most of the time, it smelled nasty, the white men spoke a language I couldn’t understand, everyone was sick or dying, they made us dance and forced us to eat their disgusting food. One time, I refused because I was too sick to eat, and they flogged me.
  • When we got to America, they put us to auction. No one purchased me because I was too young, so I was taken to a plantation in Virginia, whose owner was called Michael Henry Pascal, he was a lieutenant in the British Navy. I learned to be a sailor and spent a lot of time in England, where I got educated. I even fought for Britain in the Seven Year’s War.
  • I was shocked when the lieutenant sold me. I was taken to the Caribbean, here my owner was called Robert King, he was a Quaker merchant. I couldn’t be a slave anymore. He put me to work aboard a slave ship and I began trading glasses until I saved 40 pounds, with which I purchased my freedom.
  • I continued working as a sailor for years, but as a freeman, I travelled a lot. One day, the ship’s captain decided to make me a slave again. He tied me to the mast all night long. A friend of mine convinced the captain of putting me ashore. I thanked God and then went to Jamaica.
  • I returned to England and became a public speaker. In 1789 I wrote my autobiography, which became a best seller. It was the first anti-slavery book to make an impact. With that I became England’s leading speaker for blacks and the abolition of slavery.
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