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Gonaïves is a coastal city in northern Haiti, it is the capital of the Artibonite department. Gonaïves is also known as Haiti's City of Independence because it was there that Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Haiti, the former Saint-Domingue independent from France on January 1, 1804 by reading the Act of Independence, drafted by Boisrond Tonerre, on the Place d'Armes of the town.