Abolitionist Olaudah Equiano celebrated in Google Doodle

The former slave's autobiography was used to help draw up the British Slave Trade Act of 1807.

Katie Collins
Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.

Olaudah Equiano was instrumental in the abolition of the British slave trade.


Head to the Google home page on Monday and you'll see a Doodle above the search bar celebrating the 272nd birthday of a man named Olaudah Equiano.

Equiano was a key figure in bringing about the end of the slave trade in the UK and its colonies after his 1789 autobiography was used to help form the Slave Trade Act of 1807.

Kidnapped from his home in Nigeria as a child, Equiano described his experiences being transported to the British colony of Virginia via Barbados where he was bought by a lieutenant in the Royal Navy named Michael Pascal. Pascal favoured Equiano and sent him to be educated in the UK. He was later bought by an American Quaker called Robert King who further taught him to read and write.

In 1767 he gained his freedom and became a pioneer of the abolitionist movement. Following the publication and success of his book, which was entitled "The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African" he gained financial independence and went on to marry a British woman with whom he had two daughters.

Equiano died in 1797 and almost 200 years later in 1996 a society was formed in London to celebrate and publicise his life and work.