Military Leader
Date Of Birth:
16 June 1829
Date Of Death:
17 February 1909
complications from pneumonia
Place Of Birth:
Arizonapossibly New Mexico
Best Known As:
The Chiricahua Apache leader who surrendered in 1886

Name at birth: Goyahkla

Geronimo, also known as Goyahkla or Goyathlay, was the leader of a band of Chiricahua Apache who fought the United States takeover of their land in the late 19th century. Geronimo's surrender in 1886 marked the end of so-called "Indian Wars" fought as citizens of the United States invaded lands occupied by the indigenous population. He was known as a special case among his people, and didn't become a fierce warrior until after his wife, mother and children were murdered by Mexican soldiers in 1851. For many years he raided and attacked U.S. and Mexican troops as the Apache lands were encroached upon. Over the years he was captured and escaped a few times, and in 1886 he finally agreed to surrender to the United States. Geronimo and his people were moved from Arizona to Florida; the men and women separated, and children over twelve were sent to school in Pennsylvania (where many died from tuberculosis). The Chiricahuas tried to make a go of it on the land, but didn't get the assistance that had been promised them by the Americans. The United States held Geronimo as prisoner for the rest of his life. A national celebrity for his "savage" war on Americans, Geronimo was allowed to sell souvenirs, perform in Wild West shows, publish an autobiography and attend the 1905 inauguration of Teddy Roosevelt. He was not allowed to return to his homeland and was kept under military guard until he died from pneumonia at almost 80 years old.
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