A lot of people are familiar with the famous battle cry "Geronimooooooooo!" but very few of us know about the brave Apache chief who stood behind that cry. The great Apache Chief Geronimo is known for being the last Native American warrior to surrender formally to United States forces. Geronimo's surrender on Sept. 4, 1886, marked the conclusion of the Indian Wars that waged for years in the Southwest of the United States.
Born in 1829, Geronimo was a member of the tribe known as the Chiricahua Apaches. His tribe, which lived in Arizona and Mexico, was engaged in constant conflict with foreign settlers who were attempting to take over their homelands. As a part of this conflict, Mexican settlers murdered Geronimo's family in 1858. Following this horrific act, Geronimo sought revenge by organizing raids and other attacks against foreign settlers -- from the United States and Mexico alike.
It Required 5,000 Troops to Defeat Geronimo's 150 Men
Later, the United States government forced the relocation of Geronimo's tribe to a Native American reservation, also located in Arizona, but outside of their homelands. Geronimo and his followers escaped the reservation due to the devastating and restrictive conditions they experienced there. For 10 years, Geronimo's army fought United States federal troops, while launching raids against settlers. Later, United States troops forced Geronimo's army to return to the reservation; however, in May 1885, Geronimo escaped -- this time with 150 of his warriors. Approximately 5,000 United States soldiers followed Geronimo and his men into Mexico.
Geronimo Converted to Christianity and Became a Farmer
Approximately one year later, in March 1886, Geronimo was forced to surrender again, but this was not the end of the great Geronimo. The story of Geronimo describes a leader of men who was defeated, but rose to fight again and again and again. He escaped United States forces one more time and continued to organize raids against settlers. Then, in September 1886, he finally surrendered for the very last time. After that last surrender, Geronimo and his men were relocated to Florida and then later to Alabama, where Geronimo converted to Christianity and became a great farmer. He published his autobiography in 1906 and died several years later in February 1909.
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