According to Biography.com, During the year of 1829, a small Native American boy was born to the Chiricahua Apache Indian tribe at No-Doyohn Canyon, Mexico. The boy’s name was Geronimo. Geronimo was naturally a good hunter, which was a valuable skill to have if you lived alongside nature. Legend has it that Geronimo actually swallowed the heart of his first kill to ensure a good hunting life.
Geronimo’s life was very “on-the-move” and his tribe participated in many raids targeting Mexicans. This caused the Mexican government to put bounties on Apache scalps, but this had almost no effect on Geronimo and his people.
At about the age of seventeen, he fell in love with and married a young Native American woman named Alope, and together had 3 children. However, one night, when Geronimo was out on a raiding trip, a group of Mexicans killed Geronimo’s mother, wife, and all 3 children. When Geronimo returned and found what had happened, he was devastated. Following the Apache tradition, Geronimo burned his family’s possessions, then headed out to the wilderness. It is said that Geronimo heard a voice and it told him that he would never be shot by a gun and his arrows will shoot true. Spurred by this knowledge, Geronimo gathered 200 men, and for 10 years, hunted the Mexican soldiers who killed his family.
In the 1850s, the U.S. started taking over large parts of Mexican territory. This meant that American settlers could come into those lands. However, this meant that settlers were riding through Apache territory. When the settlers came through the Apache territory, the Apache increased their attacks. However, Geronimo’s father-in-law, a leader by the name of Cochise, knew that his tribe would not be able to withstand their ways without Americans taking over, so he made an agreement with the government that said the Apaches could peacefully claim territory on a certain spot. However, within a few years, Cochise died, and the federal government moved the Apache northwards so that settlers could move in where the Apache had formerly lived, even though that was against their agreement. This made Geronimo extremely mad, and he vigorously attacked Americans and Mexicans.
Unfortunately for Geronimo, in 1877, he was caught and sent to the San Carlos Apache reservation. He was held there for 4 years until he escaped in September 1881. When out of the reservation, Geronimo, along with a small group of Chiricahua followers, dodged around American troops trying to survive. Geronimo and his followers traveled across the southwest. While he was traveling, he was gradually becoming famous within America as newspapers were printing stories about the army’s chase of Geronimo.
During the summer of 1886, Geronimo surrendered. Interestingly, Geronimo was a bit of a celebrity in America. Several crowds just couldn’t resist a glimpse of the famous Indian warrior. He received a private audience with President Theodore Roosevelt, however, he was unable to convince the president of the U.S. to let him and his people roam in Arizona freely.
4 years later, during February 1909, Geronimo met his death. While riding home, he was thrown from his horse. He was able to make it through the night, but when a friend arrived the next day, Geronimo’s health was at a terrible state. He died six days later, leaving his final words at, “I should never have surrendered. I should have fought until I was the last man alive.”
Source: Geronimo. (2017, April 28). Retrieved from https://www.biography.com/people/geronimo-9309607