Background"Natives of Haiti! My happy fate was to be one day the sentinel who would watch over the idol to which you sacrifice; I have watched, sometimes fighting alone, and if I have been so fortunate as to return to your hands the sacred trust you confided to me, know that it is now your task to preserve it. In fighting for your liberty, I was working for my own happiness. Before consolidating it with laws that will guarantee your free individuality, your leaders, who I have assembled here, and I, owe you the final proof of our devotion.
Generals and you, leaders, collected here close to me for the good of our land, the day has come, the day which must make our glory, our independence, eternal."
English: dowload:English translation:( http://news.duke.edu/haitideclaration/declarationstext.html )
The National Archives has made the Haitian Declaration of Independence available to download .(http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/haiti.asp ) The Declaration was discovered at The National Archives by Duke University graduate student Julia Gaffield during her research into the early independence of Haiti.
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Haiti comprises the western part of Hispaniola, the eastern part forming the Dominican Republic (formerly Santo Domingo). In 1697 the Spanish ceded Haiti, then known as Saint Domingue, to France and in 1777 the frontiers of the Spanish and French possessions were officially defined. Political and physical oppression resulted in slave revolts against French rule, which began in 1791, led by Toussaint L’Ouverture, and continued until the whole island, including Santo Domingo, was declared a republic under the name of Haiti on 1 January 1804. In 1809 the Spanish regained control of Santo Domingo, which in 1844 declared independence as the Dominican Republic.
About the document
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The Declaration takes the form of a printed 8 page pamphlet with three distinct parts:
In the first two pages, headed “Liberté ou La Mort” or ‘Freedom or Death’ the Generals of the Haitian Army sign their names to an oath swearing to renounce forever the French yoke or to die rather than to live under its domination.
On pages 3 to 7 Dessalines, as General-in-Chief, addresses the citizens of Haiti in an impassioned defence of independence and the destiny of the nation.
The final page the Generals of the Haitian Army proclaim Jean-Jacques Dessalines Governor-General for life and swear to obey without question laws issued under his authority.
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Foreign Office Records from 1782