Leon Trotsky was born as Lev Davidovich Bronstein on November 7, 1879 in Yanovka, Ukraine. His family was Jewish and rather poor, although they were able to farm successfully. At the age of seven, he was sent to the nearby town of Gromokla, where he studied at a private Jewish school. Although Leon did not know Yiddish, he was able to learn to read and write the Russian language before being sent home.
After being removed from the school in Gromokla, he studied at the state-sponsored school in Odessa in 1888 before moving to Mikolayiv to attend High School. He studied at Odessa University, but moved back to Mykolayiv in 1897 to organize the Southern Russian Workers Union. However, the government did not take kindly to his actions and he was arrested in 1898. He was exiled to Siberia, but escaped to Europe in 1902. There, he began using the pseudonym of Trotsky.
In Europe, Leon met with fellow Marxists, including Lenin, Martov, and Plekhanov. In 1905, he returned to Russia to join in the revolution, but after its failure, he was jailed. During his time in prison he managed to publish several writings, including the book "Results and Prospects". In 1907, he was exiled to Siberia for treason against the Russian government, but managed to escape shortly after. He spent the next ten years abroad, until the Russian revolution of 1917.
At the time of the revolution, Trotsky was in New York City and rushed back to Russia. There, he took up leadership of the Social-Democratic Interdistrict Group. Trotsky eventually joined the Bolsheviks and was elected as chairman of the Soviet Party in September of 1917. He helped direct troops during November and was given the post of commissar of foreign affairs in the new government.
Trotsky was now a high-ranking official in the Soviet government, second only to Vladimir Lenin. However, Lenin suffered a stroke in 1922 and his long-time rival, Josef Stalin, managed to have Trotsky exiled to Central Asia and removed from the communist party in 1928. In 1929, he was exiled from the Soviet Union and moved around the globe, publishing his writings in Turkey, France, Norway, and Mexico.
During his time in exile, Trotsky published a number of journals and an autobiography of his life. He also penned a novel about Russian history, which proved to be very popular. His final book, "The Revolution Betrayed", was highly critical of Stalin and his government. Stalin was infuriated by Trotsky's criticism and sent agents to assassinate him.
In May of 1940, the first assassination attempt occurred, but Trotsky managed to escape. However, he was not so lucky on August 21, 1940, when he was fatally wounded by a Soviet agent with an ice pick.