Haiti’s Declaration of Independence found in the British National Archives

DUKE (US)— The only known printed copy of Haiti’s Declaration of Independence has been found in the British National Archives by a graduate student from Duke University.

While researching the early independence of Haiti in February, Julia Gaffield found the document, an eight-page pamphlet dated Jan. 1, 1804, in the British National Archives in London.

It is only the second declaration of its kind in the world, the first being the U.S. Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson and others.

Gaffield, who is researching early 19th century Haiti for her doctoral dissertation in history, says the document had been overlooked in the British archives, even as researchers spent decades searching for it in Haiti.

“I wasn’t specifically looking for it, but I had an eye out for it because I knew it was missing,” Gaffield says. “We figured there was an original somewhere, but didn’t know if it still existed.”