He died on February 17, 1909. The following fact sheet contains interesting facts, background history and information about the life of Geronimo and the events in history that led to his fame as a great Native American Indian leader.
Fast Facts about Geronimo
- Tribe: Apache
- Lifespan of Geronimo: 1829 - 1909
- Alternative Name: Goyathlay, the One Who Yawns
- Clan: Bedonkohe band of the Apache
- Place of Birth: Turkey Creek, Gila River in Arizona
- Date of Birth: June 16, 1829
- Date of Death: February 17, 1909
- Place of Death: Fort Sill, Oklahoma
- Siblings: 3 sisters and 4 brothers
- Spouses: Alope, Ta-ayz-slath, Chee-hash-kish, Nana-tha-thtith, Zi-yeh, She-gha, Shtsha-she, Ih-tedda, and Azul
- Native Indian Allies: Mimbrenos of Mangas Coloradas and the Chiricahuas (led by Cochise)
Children: Chappo, Dohn-say
- Native Indian Enemies: Navajo and the Comanches
- Famous Battles: Conflicts during the Apache Wars (1851 - 1900) including the 1861 Battle of Apache Pass
Geronimo - His Early Years
Geronimo was one of the leaders which helped lead the Apache Indian tribes into battles against the foreigners who were taking their land. Among these foreigners were the Americans, Spaniards, and the Mexicans. Geronimo was born in June of the year 1829 and lived in the canyon of No-Dohyon. Again, he was one of the leaders that continued resisting the power of the Americans. He was part of the smaller tribe of the Apache Indian Tribe known as Bedonkohe. This small tribe had more trouble compared to the bigger branches of the tribe as they were also surrounded by other enemies, namely the Navajo and the Comanches. Legends tell that Geronimo was heralded as strong even when he was a child. In fact, in order to receive continued protection throughout his life as an Indian and as a hunter, he ate the heart of the first kill he ever had. In 1846 Geronimo was admitted to Council of the Warriors.
Geronimo - The murder of his family and his Vision
The most pivotal moment in Geronimo’s life was in 1851 when he went out during a trading excursion. When he came back to his own camp, he found it destroyed, along with the bodies of his family. His wife and three children had been murdered. This grieved Geronimo so much that he mourned in isolation in the desert. It was during this time of distance from society that a vision came to him. The vision said this: “No gun will ever kill you. I will take the bullets from the guns of the Mexicans… and I will guide your arrows.”
Geronimo - Raids into Mexico
1852 Geronimo led other Apache leaders and warriors into Mexico for revenge. They succeeded in killing many Mexican soldiers during their attacks. Whilst in his twenties Geronimo had led several raids against neighboring tribes and foreigners, particularly the Mexicans. The Mexican government placed a bounty of $25 on his head.
Geronimo and Cochise
Cochise was the war chief the Chiricahua Apache. Geronimo joined in every war that Cochise participated in and also joined the raids of the Mimbrenos of Mangas Coloradas. Cochise led the Chiricahua Wars (1860–1886). Towards the end of Chochise’s life, he finally insisted on peace between the Indian tribes and the Americans that led him to accept a settlement provided to them by the government. In 1872 the Apaches were moved to Apache Pass, a reservation in the mountains. Geronimo was against the Peace Treaty due to his strong distrust of the white men but he complied with the agreement made by the war chief Cochise. Cochise died in 1874 and by 1876 the Chiricahua's reservation was terminated and the people were forced to move. Geronimo became war chief and continued his fights with the white settlers.
It was during this second period of fighting that Geronimo started that his notoriety among the Indian ranks rose. In fact, this has made him the most famous Apache Indian in history – both in Native Indian and American history alike. Geronimo was a great: