Translations of the HaitiDOI

I have been able to find the Haiti DOI in 5 languages (with the help of HaitiDOI guest author Mitch Fraas @MitchFraas)! I will update the list as I (or you!) find more.

French – the original Haiti DOI is in French, you can read it here or here.

English – there are many English translations of the Haiti DOI. I wrote a post about a translation from 1804. John Garrigus and Laurent Dubois published a translation in their book Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804.

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English Translation of the HaitiDOI

I found this translation of the Haitian Declaration of Independence in the Admiralty Records from the Jamaica Station (ADM 1/254) (it was next to the paper that noted that the broadside copy had been removed and recataloged). I think it’s interesting to read translations like this because it reveals how contemporaries interpreted the text. One interesting translation is of the word “lugubre” that Dessalines and Boisrond-Tonnerre use as a verb in the Declaration of Independence. This translator uses the word “overclouds” although historians have used “haunts,” “overshadows,” or “darkens” (and I’m sure other variations too). Here is the first page along with my transcription of the text.


Swa Nou Viv Lib Swa Nou Mouri, Jacques Pierre’s translation of the DOI

In the 2011 issue of the Journal of Haitian Studies, Duke Professor Jacques Pierre published a Kreyol translation of the Acte d’Indépendance. Jacques has been working hard to change the historic tendency in Haiti to favor French over Kreyol (see, for example, his op-ed in The Haitian Times).

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