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La Dessalinienne: A Tribute To Our Forefathers

Jean-Jacques Dessalines' Monument in Port-au-Prince

In June 1903, the National Association of the Centenary of Independence launched a contest for the Composition of a National anthem. The latter should be intoned with the inauguration of the commemorative monuments erected to the glory of our forefathers.


The contest was opened and included two parts: words and music. The manuscripts of the poem were to be submitted at least on June 30, and to bear a motto as a signature; another sealed document should include the name of the author.


From the six documents submitted to the jury's appreciation, by four votes against one, "LA DESSALINIENNE", signed SAMBA, got the first prize.


It was an Anthem written with simple words along with an alert style, where a touch of true patriotism was expressed. The contest for the music was closed on September 30, 1903.


The best recognized musical adaptation was that of Nicolas Geffrard. The bustling martial style of the winning poem was well appropriate with the short rhymes, clear and emotional..

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The “DESSALINIENNE” was sung for the first time in Saint-Marc, on the fatherland's structure, on October 17, 1903, at the request of Dr. Clément Lanier, when a bust of the Emperor Jean-Jacques DESSALINES was erected.


On January 1, 1904, centennial anniversary of the Independence of Haiti "the DESSALINIENNE" was sung twice, after a morning prayer held at the former Cathedral on the place of the Intendance where was laid the stone foundation of a monument dedicated to our forefathers.

The "Dessalinienne" was definitely adopted as Haiti's National anthem on August 5, 1919, played and sung in all official ceremonies.

For our Country,

For our Ancestors,

Let's march in unity.

In our ranks no traitors,

We shall be the sole masters of our land.

Let's march in unity,

For our Country, for our Ancestors

Let's march in unity,

For our Country, for our Ancestors.

For our Flag, for our Nation,

Dying is beautiful.

Our past is shouting to us:

"Harden your soul for battle."

Dying is beautiful,

For our Flag, for our Nation,

Dying is beautiful,

For our Flag, for our Nation.


Last update 10/17/2014


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