Olaudah Equiano Fact 1: Olaudah Equiano was born to the Igbo people in Nigeria, Africa in 1745. This information is based upon his own account.
Olaudah Equiano Fact 2: The name Olaudah resembles good fortune and means one who has a loud voice and is well spoken. During his lifetime, Olaudah Equiano was also known by the names of Gustavus Vassa and Graves.
Olaudah Equiano Fact 3: Olaudah Equiano was not born into slavery. He had six older brothers and sisters. His mother and father were honorable people. His mother taught him self-defence and she attended religious rites in the community.
Olaudah Equiano Fact 4: Olaudah Equiano was kidnapped along with his sister when they were left alone at home. He was approximately 11 years old at the time. The kidnappers separated the two children and sold them to slave traders.
Olaudah Equiano Fact 5: He was sent to Barbados along with 244 other enslaved Africans, from here, he was sent to the British colony of Virginia in the United States.
Olaudah Equiano Fact 6: A Royal Navy lieutenant called Michael Pascal purchased Olaudah Equiano in 1754. He renamed him Gustavus Vassa. It was only following punishment that he accepted his new name.
Olaudah Equiano Fact 7: Michael Pascal took Olaudah Equiano with him on his travels with the Royal Navy. They spent time in England and he was trained in seamanship. During times of battle, he had to help the ship's crew by hauling gunpowder to the gun decks.
Olaudah Equiano Fact 8: Michael Pascal liked Olaudah Equiano and sent him to live with his sister-in-law in Great Britain where he could go to school and receive an education.Olaudah Equiano Fact 13: In England, Olaudah Equiano, then known as Vassa, found work with the British Royal Navy. He worked on the Racehorse ship and traveled the Arctic in an expedition to discover a northern route to India.
Olaudah Equiano Fact 9: Olaudah Equiano was baptized Christian in 1759 in Westminster. Michael Pascal's cousins Mary Guerin and Maynard became his Godparents.
Olaudah Equiano Fact 10: Olaudah Equiano was taken back to the Caribbean when Michael Pascal sold him to Captain James Doran. His new owner sold him to an American Quaker merchant called Robert King.
Olaudah Equiano Fact 11: Robert King was Olaudah Equiano's key to freedom from slavery. He was around 20 years old when Robert King bought him and he promised to grant him freedom for the price of forty pounds. Robert King helped him to develop his reading and writing skills and allowed him to earn money selling produce such as fruit between Georgia and the islands of the Caribbean.
Olaudah Equiano Fact 12: In 1767, Olaudah Equiano bought his freedom from slavery and became a free man. He moved to England as he considered it too dangerous to remain on the shipping routes between Georgia and the Caribbean following an incident where he was almost kidnapped once again!
Olaudah Equiano Fact 14: Olaudah Equiano worked with Dr. Charles Irving on the voyage of the Arctic. He later employed Vassa to choose slaves from South America to manage as laborers on sugar cane plantations.
Olaudah Equiano Fact 15: Olaudah Equiano published one of the earliest accounts of slavery written by an African and sold widely in England. The book was published in 1789 and it was called The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. The book influenced the views of others greatly and increased the anti-slavery movement in Great Britain.
Short Facts about Olaudah Equiano for Kids
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