Olaudah Equiano (1745 - 1797), known in his lifetime as Gustavus Vassa (/væs/), was a writer and abolitionist from Ashaka in Delta State Nigeria, according to his memoir; it is in the Igbo region of what is today southern Nigeria. Enslaved as a child, he was taken to the Anglo-Caribbean, British West Indies, and sold as a slave to a captain in the Royal Navy. Later he was sold to a Quaker trader. Eventually, he purchased his freedom in 1766 by intelligent trading and careful savings.
In London, Equiano was part of the Sons of Africa, an abolitionist group composed of Africans living in Britain, and he was active among leaders of the anti-slave trade movement in the 1780s. He published his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789), which depicted the horrors of slavery. It went through nine editions and helped gain passage of the British Slave Trade Act of 1807, which abolished the African slave trade.
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