José Martí
Language Resources

Born in 1843, José Martí is considered a national hero in Cuba. Though he only lived until the young age of 42, he was able to achieve a vast scale of things. Among his many skills and professions, José Martí was a translator, a professor, a publisher, a journalist, a philosopher and a political activist. He devoted his life to Cuban independence and believed strongly in the principles of love, tolerance and freedom. He strongly opposed slavery, for example, and fought for its abolishment, and he dreamed of a better future for Cuba, free of Europe's grip.

He spent a period of time as a child living and studying in Spain, though he would return to Cuba where his resentment against Spanish rule grew. His actions and criticism of the Spanish government when he was still a teenager would lead to his imprisonment and eventual exile. Following his time in exile,he was repatriated to Spain, where he completed his university studies in law and liberal arts. He grew acquainted with the Cuban exiles living in Spain and was inspired to begin using his talents for the cause of Cuban independence, writing about Spain's wrongdoings and the injustices forced upon Cuba's people.

After a few moves throughout the Americas, Martí relocated to New York, where he continued to fight for Cuban independence from afar. He wrote and spoke trying to gain support for Cuba's fight against Spain and the Cuban Revolutionary Party was established in 1892. Two years later, he set off for Cuba to join the cause, though he was intercepted in Florida and he wasn't able to arrive in Cuba until 1895. For his years of contributions, Martí was named Major General for the Liberation Army. He was killed that same year by Spanish troops on the battlefield, and from then on has always been regarded as a people's national hero in Cuba. He's considered the Apostle of Cuban Independence and, for his writings, the Father of Modernism. His writing style would influence later poets like Rubén Darío and Gabriela Mistral.