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African & European Slave Trade

In Oluadah Equiano's The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Oluadah Equiano, we are provided with a unique view of the African and European slave trade from the perspective of a merchant who was once a slave. Equiano relates the story of his kidnapping, of being stolen from his home, and sold into slavery. During this time, Equiano experienced a breadth of cultures and places that few even today achieve. A product of its time, we must remember Equiano's account occurs during a time when the world accepted, condoned, and supported the political, economic and social realties of slavery. This makes Equiano's narrative more significant. It is not the typical slave narrative. Rather, his life began and ended while slavery was a real political, economic and social reality. Equiano's main thesis appears to be that whether one supported or opposed slavery in his time does not indicate evil or goodness respectively. Instead, it simply reflects the fact that individuals of the era were not more capable of viewing their world without slavery than we are capable of viewing ours without technology.

In providing us with a firsthand account of his life as a slave and his travels as a merchant, Equiano provides us with a methodology that includes reproduction of conversations, experiences, and events that actually occurred and he engaged in or witnessed. Oral history as well as comparative analysis is also used to convey unique information about slavery and other trade during the era. For example, in his account of his native land, we see the concept of the Colombian biological exchange in operation. Most shocking to contemporary readers is the fact that slave trade in this region was basically a black-on-black experience, where black traders from neighboring districts or states would obtain prisoners either through trade with local chiefs or outright kidnapping. Many local wars were waged over the acquisition of slaves, but Equiano (...

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African & European Slave Trade. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 11:25, October 24, 2014, from http://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1711139.html