DURHAM, N.C. -- A Duke University graduate student has found what historians think is the only surviving printed copy of Haiti's Declaration of Independence.
The university said Thursday that 26-year-old history student Julia Gaffield discovered the yellowing document in February while combing through papers in Great Britain's National Archives.
Haiti's revolutionary leaders issued the declaration on Jan. 1, 1804, as they were fighting to overthrow French colonial rule and slavery, to become the world's first black republic.
They proclaimed in the document that the colony's residents must "live independent or die."
Until now, Haiti lacked its own official copy of the declaration, which existed only in handwritten duplicates or in newspapers.
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