William Wilberforce, (1759-1833). British politician and reformer. He was a close friend of William Pitt the Younger, a fellow student at Cambridge, and they both .entered Parliament in 1780. Wilberforce’s major concern was for the abolition of slavery. His first success was a bill banning the slave trade, passed in 1807. He died just one month before the passing of the act that effectively abolished slavery altogether in the British Empire.