Accounts of the life of Olaudah Equiano, also known as Gustavus Vassa, show the “astonishing journey he had made, and how successful and wealthy he had become by the time of his death,” say archive holders.
Some of the most important records relate to his best-selling autobiography, ‘The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African’, first published in 1789.
A spokesman said: “In it he recounts his experiences, from his childhood and enslavement to buying his own freedom, and the challenges he still faced as a free man.
“His writing provides us with critical context when looking at the records associated with his life.”
Cambridgeshire Archives holds Mr Equiano’s will, in which he says of his property, ‘I have dearly earned by the sweat of my brow in some of the most remote and adverse corners of the whole world’.
The archives also hold the parish register that contains the entry of his marriage to Susannah Cullen in Soham.
The marriage entry in the register of St. Andrew’s Church, Soham, in 1792, describes Olaudah Equiano as ‘an African’.