José Martí

A timeline of important events in the life of Cuban national hero, José Martí

Martí's BirthplaceThe Bronx Museum of the Arts

January 28, 1853
José Julian Marti Perez was born in Havana to Mariano Mari y Navarro, a Spaniard from Valencia and a first sergeant in the Royal Artillery Corps of the Spanish army, and Leonor Perez Cabrera, originally from Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

Martí and his friend Fermín Valdez DomínguezThe Bronx Museum of the Arts

In 1869, he published his first political writings in the only edition of the newspaper El Diablo Conjuelo, published by Fermin Valdes Dominguez. Valdez Dominguez, the son of a wealthy slave-owning family, was Marti's best friend and was also instrumental in his development of a social and political conscience.

Abdala Playbill (1959-11)The Bronx Museum of the Arts

La Patria Libre (The Free Fatherland), the first of a number of publications founded by Marti, was published in 1869, when he was 16 years old.

In that same paper, he published "Abdala", a patriotic drama in verse. Shortly after this publication, Marti was imprisoned by the Spanish authorities.

"And so much love for this patch of earth?
Did it protect you in your childhood?
Did it bear you lovingly in its bosom?
Was it the land that gave birth to your daring,
Your strength?"

Abdala, 1869

In 1871, after six months in a Cuban labor camp as a political dissident, Marti was granted clemency and he left for Spain. Once there he published "El presidio politico en Cuba" about his experiences in prison and mistreatment at the hands of Spaniards.

These writings mark the depth, pain, and difficulties of his experience, and had a huge impact on Spanish liberals, Cuban exiles, and all supporters of the cause of Cuban independence from Spain. While in Spain, Marti remained an active Cuban Nationalist.

Portrait of Estanislao Figueras, the first President of the Spanish RepublicThe Bronx Museum of the Arts

In 1873 Spain declares itself a Republic, after which Marti publishes "The Spanish Republic and the Cuban Revolution" demanding for Cubans the same rights Spaniards are now claiming for themselves.

Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park, Detail (1947) by Diego RiveraThe Bronx Museum of the Arts

Martí traveled to Mexico City in early 1875, where he worked as a high school teacher and began to gain attention as a journalist, playwright and orator. His articles criticized growing inequality in Mexico City, eventually resulting in Mexico's dictator, Portifiro Diaz, pressuring him to leave.

Martí and his familyThe Bronx Museum of the Arts

Marti then moved to Guatemala and in 1877 was named Professor of French, English, Italian, and German Literature and of the History of Philosophy at the Escuela Normal Central of Guatemala, an elite institution founded by Guatemalan president Justo Rufino Barrios with the goal of encouraging secularization and progressive thought. In December of that year Marti married Carmen Zayas-Bazan in Mexico.

In 1878 Marti returned to Havana and signed the Pact of Zanjon, which ended the Ten Years War. While there he tried to work for a law firm only to have the Spanish revoke his license and then deport him for conspiring against the Spanish Government.

On November 22 his son, Jose Francisco Marti y Zayas-Bazan, is born.

General Máximo GómezThe Bronx Museum of the Arts

Martí returned to Cuba in 1879, only to be exiled again for his continued political activism.

He traveled to Venezuela in 1881 where he taught, gave lectures, wrote articles, and founded a magazine, Revista Venezolana. However, after an article in the second issue of the magazine upset Venezuela's president Antonio Guzman Blanco in June, he was forced to leave.

In 1884 Marti broke with Generals Maximo Gomez and Antonio Maceo over their vision of an independent Cuba with a military government.

José Martí (ca1935) by American Bank Note CompanyThe Bronx Museum of the Arts

In 1885 Amistad Funesta (Fatal Friendship) or Lucia Jerez, Marti's only novel, is published in installments in the New York magazine Latino-Americano.

José Martí (1943) by Jorge ArcheThe Bronx Museum of the Arts

In September of 1889 Marti played an active role in the Pan-American Conference in which delegates from across Latin-America met in Washington D.C.

La Edad de Oro (1889)The Bronx Museum of the Arts

In 1889, Marti published a series of children's stories in his magazine "La Edad de Oro" (The Golden Age). Four issues of the magazine were published before his financial backer withdrew funding, as he preferred a magazine with religious content.

El Partido de Jose Marti by Pedro Pable RodriguezThe Bronx Museum of the Arts

In 1890 Marti assisted in the founding of, and taught at, La Liga, a school for black Cubans and Puerto Ricans in New York, . He opened another branch of this school in Tampa, Florida the following year.

Later in 1890 he was named consul of Argentina and Paraguay in New York and began teaching night courses in Spanish at the Central Evening High School.

El partido de José Marti (2013) by Pedro Pablo RodriguezThe Bronx Museum of the Arts

In 1891, he published his Versos Sencillos, a collection of poems and his most widely published work.

During the latter half of 1891 Marti began resigning from his various posts as foreign correspondent and diplomat in order to devote himself entirely to the cause of Cuban independence.

In November he traveled to Florida and delivered two famous speeches that instilled revolutionary fervor in the Cuban communities of Tampa.

Workers at Ybor City Cigar Factory (1891)The Bronx Museum of the Arts

1892 In January, Marti participated in a meeting of the leaders of various exile groups in Cayo Hueso at which the Partido Revolucionario Cubano was formed.

In March he published the first issue of Patria, the last and most successful newspaper he founded.

On April 8, Marti was elected Delegado of the Cuban Revolutionary Party.

Throughout 1893 and 1894 he continued to travel around the U.S. and the Caribbean to raise support for the cause of Cuban independence.

La PlayitasThe Bronx Museum of the Arts

In 1895, on January 10th, a carefully planned armed expedition that was about to strike out for Cuba from Fernandina Beach, Floria, was stopped by U.S. authorities, who seized the expedition's three ships, along with all the supplies and weapons onboard.

On February 7th - Marti arrived in Montecristi, Dominican Republic, where he joined General Maximo Gomez. Cuba's third war of independence began with the Grito de Baire (Cry of Baire).

Cuban Independence, March Two Step by C.D. HenningerThe Bronx Museum of the Arts

On March 25th with Gomez, Marti drafted and signed the Montecristi Mainfesto. Soon after, Marti, Gomez, and four other men arrived clandestinely in Cuba at La Playita.

On the 18th of May, Marti charged headlong into Spanish troops and was killed in battle,

War Declared with Spain - 1898The Bronx Museum of the Arts

On April 25, 1898, the U.S. declared War against Spain in Cuba.

Cuban independence from Spain was granted in 1898, at the conclusion of the Spanish-American War

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