Máximo Gómez was born in Santo Domingo in 1836. At the age of 20, he ended his education in order to join the Spanish army.
His first destination was Haiti. There he fought for Spain for some time, but in 1865 he left for Cuba, where he initially commanded reserve troops for Spain.
Soon though, his views changed. He saw many slaves in Cuba and realized the value of independence to Cuba. He changed sides in the war, deciding to fight with the revolutionaries.
In just four days he went from sergeant to general, becoming the Chief of the First Corps. Eventually Gómez returned home to his plantation, as the war didn't give Cuba her independence. Gómez began another war (The Little War) in 1880, but it too failed.
Later he talked with José Martí during a trip to the United States. The two both wanted Cuban independence, but had differing plans for liberating Cuba. Gómez preferred a more military solution to freeing Cuba.
When Martí began the War of Independence, he asked Gómez to lead his revolutionaries. Using small guerilla forces, Gómez would go from town to town, burning the Spanish plantations and eliminating their troops.
The revolution resulted in the establishment of a civil revolutionary government. Its head, Salvador Cisneros Betancourt, ordered Gómez to break away from Antonio Maceo. Gómez asked Maceo to come to him, but Maceo was killed on the way.
Gómez fought on against the large Spanish force until the United States entered the war. Attempts at partnership between the Cubans and Americans failed to work out because the war was won so quickly.