Front Door to Cuba

The José Martí Timeline - 1 | 2 | 3


January 28. Don José Julián Martí y Pérez is born in Havana.


March 19. Martí starts attending the Municipal School for boys.

jose marti

October 10. From his plantation, La Demajagua, near Yara, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes proclaims Cuban independence in the historic “Grito de Yara.” Joined by 37 other planters, he liberates his slaves and incorporates them into a rebel army. Thus begins the Ten-Year War (1868-1878).


January 23. Martí’s drama “Abdala” is published in the first issue of the newspaper La Patria Libre (The Free Homeland).

October 4. At the home of Fermín Valdés Domínguez, Martí (age 17) and other young men are taken into custody by a group of Spanish Volunteers after a letter is found opposing Spanish rule.

October 21. Accused of treason, young Martí is arrested and confined in the Havana City jail.


Marti in jail

March 4. After a court martial Martí is sentenced to six years in prison.

April 4. Now 17-years old, Martí is sentenced to 6 years of hard labor for expressing his opposition to colonial rule.

October 13. Through the intervention of his father, Martí's sentence is commuted, and he is transferred to the Isle of Pines.

December. Martí returns to Havana and is deported to Spain.


January 15. Martí leaves for Cadiz on the mail ship Guipúzcoa.

January. The Ramón Ramirez printing shop publishes Martí’s “Political Prison in Cuba” (El Presidio en Cuba).

May 31. In Madrid, Martí finds work as a tutor and enrolls at Central University.


February. In Spain, Martí publishes “The Spanish Republic Before the Cuban Revolution” (La República Española ante la Revolución Cubana).


January. The Spanish republic falls. Martí delivers a speech at a public meeting organized to raise funds for widows and orphans of the fallen Republicans.

June 30. Receives the degree of Bachelor of Civil and Canon Law.

August 31. Enrolls in all subjects at the Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities.

October 24. Martí passes all graduating examinations for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and Humanities with outstanding grades.

December. Leaves Spain for Paris.


Marti in Mexico

January. From Southampton, Martí sails to Mexico.

February 8. Arrives in Vera Cruz.

March 7. In Mexico, Martí’s work is published in Revista Universal (Universal Magazine).

April 7. Participates in a debate on materialism and spiritualism at Hidalgo Lyceum.

May 5. Martí assumes the publication of the Bulletin of Revista Universal, which deals with national affairs.

November 30. The last Bulletin is published.

December 19. Martí’s play “Amor Con Amor se Paga” (Love is Repaid with Love) opens at the Teatro Principal in Mexico City to popular and critical acclaim.


November 19. The last issue of Revista Universal is published.

December. Martí Collaborates in El Federalista.

December 29. Sails for Havana.


January 6. Arrives in Havana, using his middle name and second family name: Julián Peréz.

February 24. Sails for Vera Cruz using the same name, and from Mexico leaves for Guatemala, stopping at Belize, capital of British Honduras, and at Livingstone.

March. Arrives in Guatemala City.

May 29. Appointed professor of French, English, Italian and German literature and History of Philosophy at the Central School of Guatemala.

July. Gains recognition for speech at a literacy meeting at the Central Normal School.

September 15. Writes the drama “Morazán,” to commemorate Independence Day. The work appears to be lost.

December. Receives permission to move to Mexico.

December 20. Marries Cuban Carmen Zayas Bazán.


January. Returns to Guatemala after leaving a manuscript for the booklet “Guatemala,” which is to be published in Mexico.

April 6. Resigns post at Central School. The booklet “Guatemala” is published in Mexico.

May. In Cuba, the Ten-Year War ends.

July 6. Leaves Guatemala for Honduras.

August. Sails for the port of Trujillo.

September 3. Arrives in Havana with his wife.

September 16. Asks permission to practice law, but the request is denied. Instead, Martí gets a job teaching in a private school.

November 12. Son, José Martí Zayas Bazán, is born.


January 12. Martí is appointed Secretary of the Literary Section of the Guanabacoa Lyceum.

April 21. Martí speaks at a reception in honor of journalist Adolfo Márquez Sterling, and voices opposition to Autonomist policy.

April 27. Delivers eulogy for violinist Díaz Albertini at the Guanabacoa Lyceum.

August 26. Cuba's "Little War" of independence begins when hundreds of slaves and farmers attack the Spanish stronghold in Santiago de Cuba.

September 25. Martí is accused of conspiracy against the crown and deported from Cuba. He goes to Spain.

December. Martí leaves Spain for Paris.


January 3. Martí arrives in New York.

January 24. Martí makes his first public speech in the U.S. at New York’s “Steck Hall.” He denies the charge that slaves are using the insurrection to wreak vengeance on whites, which he attributes to Spanish propaganda. “The sins of the slave,” he says, “fall wholly and exclusively on the master.”

In a future article printed in PATRIA, titled, “My Race,” Martí asserts that “Cuban means more than white, mulatto or black men. The souls of white men and Negroes have arisen together from the battlefields where they fought and died for Cuba. Alongside every white man there was a Negro, equal in loyalty and brotherhood for the daily tasks of war. Merit, the tangible culmination of cultural progress, and the inexorable play of economic forces will ultimately unite all men. There is much greatness in Cuba, in both Negroes and whites.”

February 21. Martí publishes an article about art in The Hour, a weekly magazine in New York. The article is written in English.

May 13. Martí writes the “Proclamation of New York Revolutionary Committee” in connection with the arrival in Cuba of general Calixto García to assume leadership of the “Little War.”

October. The “Little War” ends. Martí writes for the New York Sun.

José Martí Timeline - 1 | 2 | 3 |

José Martí Portal | Martí/Apostle | Books | Photos

Letters and Articles by José Martí
Our America | Montecristi Manifesto (full text)| Last letter to his mother | Incomplete letter to his friend Manuel Mercado | On Antonio Maceo | Letter to Maximo Gomez, 1884 (in which he resigns from the revolutionary movement) | My Race (from Patria)