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Ignatius Sancho, 1729-1780
Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, An African. In Two Volumes. To Which Are Prefixed, Memoirs of His Life. Vol. I
London: Printed by J. Nichols, 1782.


Ignatius Sancho was born on a slave ship in 1729. Shortly after arriving in Cartagena, Colombia, his mother died of an illness, and his father committed suicide. His master then sent him to England in 1731 as a gift to a family of sisters. Sancho later worked as a butler for the Duke of Montague for twenty years, and his letters, poems, and plays reflect knowledge he gained through his interactions with this aristocratic family.

Sancho's letters were published posthumously in 1782, following his death in 1780. A brief biographical sketch and list of subscribers preface the text. The letters are generally short, and provide information about his family life, relationships, interests, religious beliefs, and literary preferences.

Work Consulted: Herdeck, Donald E., African Authors: a Companion to Black African Writing, Washington: Black Orpheus Press, 1973.

Monique Prince

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