Quobna Ottobah Cugoano

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Cugoano, right, and the Cosway couple in an engraving by Richard Cosway (1784)

Quobna Ottobah Cugoano (* around 1757; † 1801?) Was a vehement opponent of slavery , whose activities were directed primarily from England against this human rights violation.


Cugoano was born into a family of the Fante people in what is now Ghana . Cugoano was abducted in Ghana and sold as a slave in 1770. It was initially shipped to West India, but ended up in England for an unknown reason, where it arrived in 1772. He was baptized as John Stuart in a Baptist church.

In 1784 he came as a servant to the artist Richard Cosway and his wife Maria . Cugoano's path of life changed significantly in the Cosways' house. Through the Cosways he became aware of the British politics of the time and became familiar with the cultural personalities of his time (such as William Blake ). Along with another educated African in the Kingdom of Great Britain , Olaudah Equiano , and others, he was active in the Sons of Africa, a group dedicated to the abolition of slavery, and regularly published anti-slavery articles in the newspapers.

His work was marked by deep religiosity and clear accusations against the British people who allowed slavery. Again and again he urged the slaves to rise and rebel. In 1787, he wrote his main work Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species.

Four years later (1791) a revised version of his work was published, which was specifically aimed at slaves. In this version he advocated Britain's failure to establish a colony in Sierra Leone and called for the establishment of an education pathway for African students in Britain.


  • Fisher, Thomas, Narrative of the Enslavement of Ottobah Cugoano, a Native of Africa , 1787, in "The Negro's Memorial; or, Abolitionist's Catechism; by an Abolitionist", pp. 120–127 [1]
  • Thoughts and sentiments on the evil and wicked traffic of the slavery: and commerce of the human species, humbly submitted to the inhabitants of Great-Britain, text version

See also

Web links

Commons : Ottobah Cugoano  - collection of images, videos and audio files