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Download An African's Life: The Life and Times of Olaudah Equiano, by James Walvin PDF

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 exchange. This learn makes an attempt to create a rounded portrait of the guy at the back of the literary photo, and to review Equiano within the context of Atlantic slavery.

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Additional info for An African's Life: The Life and Times of Olaudah Equiano, 1745-1797

Example text

When, finally, the slaves were marched on shore, 'there came among us Africans of all languages'. Slave communities throughout the Americas - especially those dependent on supplies of Africans - varied enormously. Slaves came from a host of different African regions, cultures and languages, and though certain groups predominated, new arrivals needed help from resident slaves who spoke their own language. It was vital for African slaves to pick up the local patois quickly in order to understand what was required of them.

48. Africa Remembered 15 19 Paul Edwards, 'Master and Father in Equiano's Interesting Narrative', Slavery and Abolition, vol. n, no. 2 (1990). , p. 83. 21 The account of his enslavement is in Interesting Narrative, pp. 46-55. , p. 54. 23 This argument is developed in Chapter 10 below. 24 Interesting Narrative, p. 43. 2 SLAVE SHIPS AND LANDFALL Sometime around 1756 the young Equiano - confused, frightened and dispirited from months of travel and upheaval - caught sight of the British ship which would carry him across the Atlantic.

Not surprisingly, the slaves soon succumbed to stomach ailments. The sick and the weak, unable to feed themselves properly, slipped further and further into a gloomy indifference (often despite force-feeding by the crew). The ghastly reality of what happened on the slave ships was no secret. Long before abolitionists began to publicize such evidence in the mid-iySos, tens of thousands of Europeans were privy to this grim information, notably of course the sailors, traders, merchants, planters and the rest whose livelihood was so intimately linked to the Atlantic slave trade.

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