Born in Havana in 1953, Marti began to study at the age of twelve in the municipal school headed by poet Rafael Maria de Mendive, who looked at the intellectual qualities of the boy and decided to devote himself personally to his education.
Marti began to be interested in the revolutionary ideas of many Cubans from a young age. Shortly after the Ten Years' Independence War (1868-1878) began, he published the pro-independence newspaper El Diablo Cojuelo and the magazine La Patria Libre.
Aged seventeen, Marti was sentenced to six years in prison for collaborating with pro-independence groups. He served his sentence in the San Lazaro quarries, where he did force labor until his poor health earned him a pardon.
During his years in exile in Spain, he graduated in Law, Philosophy, and Letters from the Zaragoza University. Although he developed a deep affection for the culture of this country, he never forgave its colonial policy. In his work "The Spanish Republic before the Cuban Revolution," he called on the metropolis to make an act of contrition and recognize its wrongdoings in Cuba.
After traveling for three years in Europe and America, Marti settled in Mexico, where he married the Cuban Carmen Zayas-Bazan. After the end of the Ten Years' War, he moved to Cuba but was deported again by colonial authorities. He then settled in New York, where he devoted himself entirely to political and literary activity.
In 1892, he founded the Cuban Revolutionary Party (PRC) to organize the 1895 war, which liberated Cuba from the Spanish empire and in which he died in combat in Dos Rios locality.
Besides being an outstanding politician, Marti was one of the greatest Latin American poets, mainly known for his Free Verses (1878-1882), Ismaelillo (1882) —dedicated to his son Jose Francisco Marti— and Simple Verses (1891), in which autobiographical notes predominate.
A chronicler and exceptional critic, he also wrote numerous revolutionary essays such as "The Political Presidio in Cuba" (1871) and "Cuba and the United States" (1889), refuting the attacks of the American press on Cuban patriots.
In 1889, he founded "The Golden Age," a children's magazine displaying stories that anticipated achievements of modern pedagogy such as the norms of justice and human dignity.
His complete works, which consist of about twenty-five volumes, include a rich epistolary and numerous discourses, many of which invite Cubans to always keep fighting for freedom and independence.