José Julián Martí Pérez was born on January the 28th 1853 in Havana Cuba and died on May the 19th 1895 during the Spanish-American war.

José Julián Martí Pérez was a renowned poet, journalist, professor, and publisher, and has become a national hero in Latin American literature. During his life he was politically active and is noted as an important revolutionary political theorist.

He began his political activism from a very early age and through his political activity he became a lynchpin of Cuba’s independence bid against Spain in the 19th century.

Jose Marti: 28th 1853 – 19th 1895

The Life of José Martí

José Martí was born in Havana in 1853. His father was from Valencia and his mother from the Canary Islands. At the age of four, his entire family moved to Valencia before returning to Cuba 2 years later while he was still an infant.

He was educated at Escuela de Instrucción Primaria Superior Municipal de Varones before enrolling at the Instituto de Segunda Enseñanza in 1866. During the Ten Years’ War, which started in 1868, Jose joined a Cuban nationalist supporters club and began to write poems about his vision for a free Cuba. These writings were first published in 1869. Later the same year his work, Abdala, a patriotic drama about the struggles for liberation of the fictional country of Nubia, and the sonnet 10 de Octubre, which has since been heralded as one of his most important pieces of work, were also published. Not long after becoming a member of the nationalist supporters’ club, Jose was arrested on accusations of bribery and treason. After four months in prison, Jose admitted the charges and was handed a six years prison sentence.

At the age of 18 the Spanish led Cuban government exiled him from the country to Spain in the hope he would find his loyalty once more. This did not happen.

In 1871, Martí moved to Madrid and registered at the Central University of Madrid as a member of independent studies in the law faculty. While there he began to openly discuss the Cuban issue in the press and by distributing documents protesting what the Spanish were doing to Cuba. In May of 1873 he moved to Zaragoza, where he continued studying law at the Universidad Literaria before graduating with a degree in Civil Law and Canon Law.

Over the coming few years, Jose travelled the world extensively. He visited Paris in 1873 before heading to Le Havre and then Mexico and Guatemala in 1874. All the time he continued to teach and write extensively about Cuba’s need for independence. In 1877, Martí was appointed head of the Department of French, English, Italian and German Literature, History and Philosophy, at the faculty of philosophy and arts of the Universidad Nacional in Guatemala City.

Marti’s passion for a free Cuba never wavered and after travelling to New York and Venezuela in 1892, Martí headed to Key West where he began the process of raising funds for a Cuban independence movement. While there he formed a party with the sole aim of freeing Cuba. To drum up support for the party he travelled extensively throughout Florida, Washington, Haiti, Philadelphia, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic where he spoke to sympathisers and Cuban exiles.

On January the 29th 1895, Martí drew up the order of the uprising against Spanish rule in Cuba which he signed along with the general Jose Maria Rodriguez and Enrique Collazo. On February the 24th 1895 the uprising began. Later the same year Martí, headed to Cuba to join his fellow revolutionaries.

The Death of José Martí

José Martí died in battle with Spanish troops at the Battle of Dos Ríos on May 19, 1895. He was shot by Spanish troops while riding a white horse. The Spanish took his body and buried it in Santa Ifigenia Cemetery in Santiago de Cuba.

The Political Ideals of José Martí Political

Marti wrote about the oppression of Spanish colonial control. He thought it was wrong for Cuba to be controlled by the Spanish when it was a unique country with its own identity. He demonstrated an anti-imperialist attitude from a young age and was conscious of the danger that the United States posed to Latin and Central America, despite admiring many areas of US society.

He was also a strong proponent for the abolishment of slavery and openly criticized any country that held on to it.

The Most Famous Writings of José Martí

Martí’s work covered a wide range of genres and methods. His most revered work is the La Edad de Oro (The Golden Age), a book written for children. His poems also hold a place in the heart of many Cubans, with verses from his Versos Sencillos, a collection of poems, being put to music in one of Cuban’s best-known folk songs, Guantanamera.

All of Martí’s written work describe his admiration for nature, the importance of friendship, his feelings of injustice, and, more importantly, his love of Cuba.

  • 1869 January – Abdala
  • 1869 January – “10 de octubre”
  • 1871 – El presidio político en Cuba
  • 1873 – La República Española ante la revolución cubana
  • 1875 – Amor con amor se paga
  • 1882 – Ismaelillo
  • 1882 February – Ryan vs. Sullivan
  • 1882 February – Un incendio
  • 1882 July – El ajusticiamiento de Guiteau
  • 1883 January – “Batallas de la Paz”
  • 1883 March – ” Que son graneros humanos”
  • 1883 March – Karl Marx ha muerto
  • 1883 March –El Puente de Brooklyn
  • 1883 September– “En Coney Island se vacía Nueva York”
  • 1883 December –” Los políticos de oficio”*1883 December –”Bufalo Bil”
  • 1884 April –”Los caminadores”
  • 1884 November – Norteamericanos
  • 1884 November –El juego de pelota de pies
  • 1885 – Amistad funesta
  • 1885 January –Teatro en Nueva York
  • 1885 March – “Una gran rosa de bronce encendida”
  • 1885 March –Los fundadores de la constitución
  • 1885 June – “Somos pueblo original”
  • 1885 August – “Los políticos tiene sus púgiles”
  • 1886 May – Las revueltas anarquistas de Chicago
  • 1886 September – ” La ensenanza”
  • 1886 October – “La Estatua de la Libertad”
  • 1887 April – El poeta Walt Whitman
  • 1887 April – El Madison Square
  • 1887 November – Ejecución de los dirigentes anarquistas de Chicago
  • 1887 November – La gran nevada
  • 1888 May – El ferrocarril elevado
  • 1888 August – Verano en Nueva York
  • 1888 November – ” Ojos abiertos , y gargantas secas”
  • 1888 November – “Amanece y ya es fragor”
  • 1889 – ‘La edad de oro’
  • 1889 May – El centenario de George Washington
  • 1889 July – Bañistas
  • 1889 August – “Nube Roja”
  • 1889 September – “La caza de negros”
  • 1890 November– ” El jardín de las orquídeas”
  • 1891 October –Versos Sencillos
  • 1891 January – “Nuestra América”
  • 1894 January – ” ¡A Cuba!”
  • 1895 –Manifiesto de Montecristi- coauthor con Máximo Gómez
  • Martí’s major posthumous works

The Legacy of José Martí

Although Martí’s died three years before the end of the Spanish-American War, most historians agree that he did more for the liberation of Cuba than anyone else in its history. Because of this, everywhere you go in Cuba you will find statues and tributes honouring his work and his life, including the main International airport in Cuba, the José Martí Airport, being named after him and a monument in the Plaza de la Revolución in the Vedado area of Havana enshrining his accomplishments.