By James Walvin
The autobiography of Olaudah Equiano, a trendy 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 hundreds of thousands of Africans within the period of the transatlantic slave exchange. This research makes an attempt to create a rounded portrait of the guy in the back of the literary picture, and to check 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
And it began on arrival in England. 4 This experience was repeated shortly afterwards, when Equiano travelled on to Guernsey (his ship was part-owned by a Guernsey merchant). Lodging again with a local family, Equiano began, for the first time, to think about his colour, nudged that way by those around him. 5 He claimed that he was glad that local people, unlike his own people, did not mark their faces with scars. He seems to have begun to question some of his African cultural habits, and to see the virtue of European customs.
8 Indeed, many of the most famous of eighteenth-century naval heroes had joined the Navy as children. Officers were reared up from a young age in the skills and disciplines of seafaring, learning their trade the hard way and, in the process, missing out on what we might expect of normal childhood. Equiano now began to see a very different world, through the eyes and experiences of the Royal Navy, as he sailed between many of the points of international conflict in the Seven Years War (1756-63), experiencing at first-hand the dangers and the horrors of naval life in wartime.
Its high ground was dominated by hundreds of windmills (for crushing the cane), its best lands controlled by an elite of successful planters, whose wealth was secured by battalions of African slaves and their local-born descendants. As early as 1660, Barbados was home to 20,000 slaves; ten years later the figure was 40,000. Though the Atlantic slave ships generally carried more men than women, from an early date Barbados developed a balance between the sexes, and by 1715 women outnumbered men on the island.
An African's Life: The Life and Times of Olaudah Equiano, 1745-1797 by James Walvin