Published on February 7, 2012 by Amy
To the Apaches, Geronimo embodied the very essence of the Apache values, agressiveness, courage in the face of difficulty. These qualities inspired fear in the settlers of Arizona and New Mexico. The Chiricahuas were mostly migratory following the seasons, hunting and farming. When food was scarce, it was the custom to raid neighboring tribes. Raids and vengeance were an honorable way of life among the tribes of this region.
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By the time American settlers began arriving in the area, the Spanish had become entrenched in the area, they were always looking for Indian slaves and Christian converts. It was the Spanish who raided and killed Geronimo‘s young wife and child and reportedly caused such a hatred of the whites that he vowed to kill as many as he could.
In 1876, the U.S. Army tried to move the Chiricahuas onto a reservation, but Geronimo fled to Mexico eluding the troops for over a decade. Sensationalized press reports exaggerated Geronimo‘s activities, making him the most feared and infamous Apache. The last few months of the campaign required over 5,000 soldiers and 500 scouts to track down Geronimo and his band.
Geronimo finally surrendered on the urging of his followers in September after the Army promised that after a period of time he would be able to return to Arizona. Geronimo and his followers were shipped to St. Augustine, Florida where many died from malaria or tuberculosis. Geronimo never again saw his beloved Arizona and died a prisioner many years later on a reservation in Oklahoma.