IGNATIUS SANCHO Biography - Writers


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Ignatius Sancho (1729-1780) was said to have been born a slave on a ship     
crossing the Atlantic from Africa to the West Indies. Although this is now   
thought to be unlikely, his origins were African while his earliest           
memories were of Greenwich, near London, where he was forced to work as a     
child slave. He persuaded the powerful Montagu family to employ him as       
their butler, before retiring to run a grocery shop in Westminster. He       
composed music, appeared on the stage, and entertained many famous figures   
of literary and artistic London. The first African we know of to vote in a   
British election, he wrote a large number of letters which were collected     
and published in 1782, two years after his death. He was thought of in his   
age as "the extraordinary Negro", and to eighteenth-century opponents of     
the slave trade he became a symbol of the humanity of Africans. In recent     
years there has been a great deal of interest in the life and works of       
Ignatius Sancho. This website aims to reflect the work being done by         
Sancho scholars around the world. To find out more, follow the links         
opposite the detail of Thomas Gainsborough's portrait of Sancho, painted     
in Bath in 1768.