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José Julián Martí Pérez was born in Calle Paula No. 41, Havana, on January 28, 1853. In 1866 he enrolled in the Institute of Secondary Education in Havana. He also entered the Elementary Drawing class at the Professional School of Painting and Sculpture in Havana, better known as San Alejandro.

On October 4, 1869, passing a squadron of the First Volunteer Battalion on Industrias Street No. 122, where the Valdés Domínguez family lived, laughter is heard from the house and the volunteers take this as a provocation. They return at night and submit the house to a meticulous record. Between the correspondences they find a letter addressed to Carlos de Castro and Castro, companion of the school that, by having enlisted as a volunteer in the Spanish army to fight the independentistas, they described as apostate.

For this reason, on October 21, 1869, Martí entered the National Prison accused of being unfaithful for writing that letter, along with his close friend Fermín Valdés Domínguez. On March 4, 1870, Martí was sentenced to six years in prison, a penalty later commuted for the exile to Isla de Pinos, where he arrived on October 13. On December 18, he left it for Havana, and on January 15, 1871, thanks to his parents' efforts, he managed to be deported to Spain. There he began to study at the universities of Madrid and Zaragoza, where he graduated from a degree in Civil Law and Philosophy and Letters.

From Spain he moved to Paris for a short time, he stayed some time in New York and arrived in Veracruz on February 8, 1875, where he met with his family. In Mexico he establishes relationships with Manuel Mercado and met Carmen Zayas Bazán, the Cuban who would be his wife.

From January 2 to February 24, 1877 he was in Havana as Julián Pérez. When he arrived in Guatemala, he worked at the Central Normal School as professor of Literature and History of Philosophy. He returned to Mexico to marry Carmen on December 20, 1877, returning in early 1878 to Guatemala.

After the War of 68, he returned to Cuba on August 31, 1878, to settle in Havana, and on November 22, was born his only son, José Francisco.

He began his conspiracy work as one of the founders of the Central Cuban Revolutionary Club, of which he was elected vice president on March 18, 1879. Subsequently, the Cuban Revolutionary Committee, based in New York under the chairmanship of Major General Calixto Garcia, appointed him sub- delegate in the Island.

In the law firm of his friend Don Nicolás Azcárate he met Juan Gualberto Gómez. Between August 24 and 26, 1879, a new uprising took place near Santiago de Cuba. On September 17 Martí is arrested and deported back to Spain, on September 25, 1879, for his links in the Guerra Chiquita. Upon arriving in New York, he settled in the guest house of Manuel Mantilla and his wife, Carmen Miyares.

Martí manages to bring his wife and son on March 3, 1880. They remain together until October 21, when Carmen and Jose Francisco returned to Cuba. A week later he was elected member of the Cuban Revolutionary Committee, from which he assumed the presidency by replacing Calixto Garcia, who had left for Cuba to join the Guerra Chiquita.

Between 1880 and 1890, Marti become renowned in America through articles and chronicles that he sent from New York to important newspapers: La Opinión Nacional, Caracas; La Nción, of Buenos Aires and the Liberal Party, of Mexico.

Later he decides to look for a better accommodation in Venezuela, where he arrives on January 20, 1881. He founded the Venezuelan Magazine, of which he could edit only two issues. After colliding with caudillismo, he had to return to New York.

In the middle of 1882 he restarted the work of reorganizing the revolutionaries, communicating it through letters to Máximo Gómez and Antonio Maceo. On October 2, 1884 he met for the first time with both leaders and began to collaborate in the Insurrectional Plan Gómez-Maceo; Subsequently he gave up his efforts as he disagreed with the management methods employed.

On November 30, 1887, he founded an Executive Commission, of which he was elected president, in charge of directing the organizational activities of the revolutionaries. In January 1892 he wrote the Bases and Statutes of the Cuban Revolutionary Party. On April 8, 1892, he was elected a delegate of that organization, whose constitution was proclaimed two days later, on April 10, 1892. On March 14, he founded the newspaper Patria, the official body of the Party.

During 1893 and 1894 he toured several American countries and cities of the United States, joining the chief leaders of the 68’s War and collecting resources for the new war. Since mid-1894 he accelerated the preparations for the Fernandina Plan, with which he intended to promote a short war, without great wear and tear and destruction for Cubans. On December 8, 1894 he wrote and signed, together with Colonels Mayía Rodríguez (representing Máximo Gómez) and Enrique Collazo (representing the Island's patriots), the plan of uprising in Cuba. The Plan Fernandina was discovered and the ships with which it was going to run were captured. In spite of the great setback that this meant, Martí decided to go ahead with the plans of armed rebellions in the Island, in which he was supported by the main chiefs.

On January 29, 1895, together with Mayia and Collazo, he signed the rising order and sent it to Juan Gualberto Gómez for execution. He immediately departed from New York to Montecristi, in the Dominican Republic, where Gomez awaited him, with whom he signed on March 25, 1895 a document known as the "Manifesto of Montecristi", program of the new war. Both leaders arrived in Cuba on April 11, 1895, by Playitas de Cajobabo, Baracoa.

Three days after the landing, they made contact with the forces of Commander Felix Ruenes. On April 15, 1895, the leaders assembled under the direction of Gomez, agreed to confer Marti the rank of Major General for his merits and services rendered.

On April 28, 1895, at Vuelta Corta camp, in Guantánamo, together with Gomez Marti signed the circular "Politics of war." He sent messages to the chiefs indicating that they should send a representative to an assembly of delegates to elect a government in a short time. On May 5, 1895, took place his meeting with Gomez and Maceo in La Mejorana, where the strategy to be followed was discussed. On May 14, 1895, he signed the "Circular to the Chiefs and Officers of the Liberating Army," the last of the organizational documents of the war, which he worked out with Maximo Gomez.

Following the march to the west of the eastern province, they reached Dos Rios, near Palma Soriano. On May 19, 1895 a Spanish column was deployed in the area and the Cubans went to meet them. Marti marched between Gomez and Major General Bartolomé Masó.

When he reached the scene of the action, Gomez told him to stop and stay at the agreed place. Nevertheless, in the course of the combat, he separated of the main group of the Cuban forces, accompanied only by his assistant Angel de la Guardia. Marti rode, unknowingly, to a group of Spaniards hidden in the undergrowth and was struck by three shots that caused him mortal wounds. When it was known, it was impossible to rescue his corpse, which was led by the Spaniards and, after several burials, he was finally buried on the 27th, in the niche number 134 of the southern gallery of Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, in Santiago de Cuba.

(Taken from the Centro de Estudios Martianos’ digital site)

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