José Julian Martí y Perez was a leader of theCuban
independence movement as well as an esteemedpoet
. He is considered by many to be Cuba's greatesthero
Marti was born inHavana
, then a colony ofSpain
. He came to dislike Spanish rule of his homeland at a young age, as well as developing a hatred of the institution ofslavery
which was still practiced in Cuba. At the age of 16, Marti was sentenced to 6 years of hard labor in the quarries for his political activity, after which was exiled to Spain, where he studied law and wrote articles on the wrongs of Spanish rule in Cuba.
After spending some time inFrance
, he secretly returned to Cuba under an assumed name in 1877, but was unable to obtain any employment there. However, he was offered a job as professor of history and literature inGuatemala City
In 1890, Martí moved toNew York City
serving as joint council there forUruguay
. He mobilized the Cuban exile community particularly inTampa
to revolution and independence from Spain, while lobbying to opposeUS
annexation of Cuba which some American politicians desired.
In 1894, he left with plans to land in Cuba to fight for the revolution, but was intercepted in Florida.
On March 25, 1895, Jose Marti published theManifesto of Montecristi, proclaiming Cuban independence, an end to all legal distinctions between the races, friendship with Spaniards who did not oppose independence, and war with all who stood in the way of independence.
On April 11, 1895 Marti landed in Cuba with a force of rebel exiles, who hooked up with the rebel GeneralMaximo Gomez y Baez
. He was killed in battle with Spanish troops atDos Rios
, Cuba. Marti is buried in Cementerio Santa Efigenia inSantiago de Cuba
He was strongly against US involvement in theCuban War for Independance
. TheSpanish-American War
began years after his death.
His best and most revered works were his books for children, "La Edad de Oro" (The Golden Age) his most widely read. One of his final poems, Versos sencillos was later put to music asGuantanamera, which has become Cuba's most famouspatriotic song
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