Olaudah Equiano (1745–1797) was an abolitionist and former slave who authored The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano; or, Gustavas Vassa, the African, Written by Himself. Equanio’s Narrative told the story of his capture and life in bondage. While he wrote that he was born in West Africa and kidnapped at about eleven years of age, historians have recently considered evidence that he was born in South Carolina. He was enslaved by a British sea captain and in 1766, purchased his own freedom and settled in England. He soon became a widely known abolitionist, lecturing about his own experiences, condemning the slave trade, and, in 1789, publishing his Narrative. Equiano’s story helped turn British public opinion against the slave trade, and the book became one of the most famous and influential slave narratives.

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