Olaudah Equiano

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Olaudah Equiano, also known as Gustavus Vassa (c. 1745 - March 31, 1797). He was best known as an early champion for the abolition of institutionalized slavery and the trans-Atlantic slave trade. This "trade in human souls", as he argued was not only amoral (and contrary to all major religions found in the American Colonies), but also bad economics. His work The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano: Written by Himself not only explores the horrors of slavery (especially in the British West Indies) but also puts forth a stout economic argument against the institution of slavery and for the development of Africa.

Having become a devout protestant in his later life, he championed the bringing of the doctrines to Africa in order to enlighten the people. He also argued that if Africa were developed rather than used for the extraction of slaves, that the inevitable result would be a large market for British manufactured goods. Also, since the Christian faith was to be brought to Africa via Protestant missionaries, the people would be quick to adopt Western European customs, furthering the demand for imported Western goods.

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