America, England and the British Empire in the 18th Century African Slave Narratives


Gleb Aleksandrov


In the 18th century England several slave narratives were published and became quite popular. The best known – and the best researched – among them was Olaudah Equiano’s “The Interesting Narrative…”, one of the key works of the early abolitionist movement. Equiano’s (and other former slaves’) critique of slavery and their place in contemporary society is examined extensively in existing studies. But the British world was not limited to the colonies where the entire economic order was based on slave labour. These colonies existed in a wider context of the British Empire, with its own internal diversity of culture and everyday life. This article examines the way in which the slave narratives’ authors – Olaudah Equiano, Ukawsaw Gronniosaw and Ayuba Suleiman Diallo – perceived and described the Empire, its institutions, its cultural practices and the relations between its constituent parts, particularly between England and colonial America and West India.


Africans, Trans-Atlantic slave trade, 18th century, the British Empire, imperial culture




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