Olaudah Equiano c.1745–97

An engraving of Olaudah Equiano (‘Gustavus Vassa’)
by Daniel Orme, published by Olaudah Equiano (‘Gustavus Vassa’) published 1 March 1789 as part of his autobiography
  • Born in c.1745 in present-day Nigeria.
  • Olaudah was captured as a boy and kidnapped into slavery in the Americas where he was treated terribly.
  • After collecting up enough money from other means, he was allowed to buy his freedom in 1766 by his then master Robert King.
  • Equiano settled in London in 1767 and became a key campaigner / protester against Slavery. For this he became popular with some Londoners but was looked down upon by most people because they held racist ideas.
  • In 1789 his autobiography was published and was read by many thousands. Equiano married an English woman, Susannah Cullen, in 1792 in Soham, Cambridgeshire. Equiano died in London in 1797, a year after his wife.