Olaudah Equiano's Eventful Life Essay

Submitted By dreams4ever98
Words: 2050
Pages: 9

Since Christopher Columbus’s voyage in 1492, many people began emigrating from the Eastern Hemisphere to a new land in the Western Hemisphere known as the Americas. In 1620, the Pilgrims, who were a group of English Puritans, had a simple yet extremely important reason for sailing across the Atlantic; it was a journey to salvation and away from religious persecution. As more settlers created a life in the Americas, the need for labor increased and Africa began to trade slaves with the Americas in return for other goods; this is how Olaudah Equiano made his way to Barbados in the mid-1700s. On his journey to the Americas, Equiano encountered some of the same hardships as the Pilgrims had years prior. However, Equiano also experienced a few different obstacles along the way. Olaudah Equiano had a very eventful life, though it wasn’t what he would’ve ever pictured it being. He grew up in a family of seven children in a part of West Africa that is now Nigeria. Those children included Equiano and his sister, who was the only daughter in the family. “As I was the youngest of the sons I became, of course, the greatest favorite with my mother and was always with her.” (pg. 57) He was also trained in the art of war at a very young age, his daily exercise throwing javelins. “…my mother adorned me with emblems after the manner of our greatest warriors.” (pg. 57) Olaudah had no choice in his coming to America, and his journey began when he was kidnapped at the age of eleven. “In this way I grew up till I was turned the age of 11, when an end was put to my happiness in the following manner…One day, when all our people were gone out to their daily works as usual and only I and my dear sister were left to mind the house, two men and a woman got over our walls, and in a moment seized us both, and without giving us time to cry out or make resistance they stopped our mouths and ran off with us into the nearest wood.” (pg. 57-58) A few days after the kidnapping, he was separated from his sister and was reunited with her only once more before traveling to America. Over a period of about six months, Equiano was traded between a multitude of families until he was kidnapped a final time and placed on a slave ship set for Barbados, a route known as the Middle Passage. While traveling on the slave ship, he had no form of support; he had been separated from his family and community, and then further separated from his sister. Eventually, Olaudah Equiano found a few men under the decks who he befriended and asked about the mysterious white men to which the ship belonged to. “…amongst the poor chained I found some of my own nation, which in a small degree gave ease to my mind.” (pg. 62) When Equiano arrived in Barbados, he was immediately conducted to the merchant’s yard, which is where he and many other African slaves stayed until they were sold to their new white owners. He, as well as the other Africans, was forced into coming into a type of civilization completely new to them. Olaudah stayed in the country for a short time before he was sold to men in the English Colonies. “…Equiano saved enough money to purchase his freedom in 1766, after having been enslaved for almost ten years. He was about twenty-one years old.” (pg. 56) After purchasing his freedom, he worked as a sailor, moved to England, campaigned against slavery, and wrote an autobiography about his journey on the Middle Passage. Despite the catastrophe of being kidnapped and enslaved at a young age, Olaudah Equiano pushed through and became a great man. If he had never traveled across the Atlantic Ocean, Equiano would’ve never amounted to such freedom. More than a hundred years before Equiano, the Pilgrims made their journey across the Atlantic and were part of the creation of an entirely new world. Back in their homeland of England, the Pilgrims were a group of Pilgrims who were not allowed to worship in a public place. In 1608, they traveled across the