By James Walvin
The autobiography of Olaudah Equiano, a admired African in past due 18th-century Britain, is quoted, anthologized and interpreted in dozens of books and articles. greater than any unmarried modern, Equiano speaks for the destiny of thousands of Africans within the period of the transatlantic slave alternate. This examine makes an attempt to create a rounded portrait of the fellow at the back of the literary snapshot, and to review Equiano within the context of Atlantic slavery.
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Extra resources for An African's Life: The Life and Times of Olaudah Equiano, 1745-1797
Fortunately, Equiano's story provides one of the few genuine African accounts of what happened - and of how an African responded to the bruising aggression of that first contact with Europeans. As Equiano was bartered and sold, from one African group to another, he travelled ever closer to the European trading presence on the coast, gradually moving away from cultures he recognized and understood. He now encountered Africans who seemed utterly different from any he had known before: I was very much struck with this difference, especially when I came among a people who did not circumcise, and eat without washing their hands.
Equiano was surprised by his treatment (he was well fed and generally well cared for) but confused about his fate, a confusion worsened by his lack of English and by the crew maliciously feeding him false information. As the Industrious Bee crossed the Atlantic, Pascal renamed his African, calling him Gustavus Vasa - to the irritation of the African, who insisted that he remain known as Jacob (a name he had been given earlier). 1 In fact, Equiano was given a variety of names by different white people.
P. 41. In fact modern scholars have had difficulty locating this name which, some feel, has no obvious Igbo roots. , pp. 43-4. , pp. 17-20. , pp. 72-97. 16 Interesting Narrative, p. 40. 17 For a recent statement of this argument, see John Thornton, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1680 (Cambridge, 1992), Ch. 3. 18 Interesting Narrative, p. 48. Africa Remembered 15 19 Paul Edwards, 'Master and Father in Equiano's Interesting Narrative', Slavery and Abolition, vol. n, no.