Geronimo "one who yawns"
(June 16, 1829 â€“ February 17, 1909)
was a prominent leader of the Bedonkohe Apache who fought against Mexico and the United States for their expansion into Apache tribal lands for several decades during the Apache Wars. "Geronimo" was the name given to him during a battle with Mexican soldiers. His Chiricahua name is often rendered as Goyathlay or Goyahkla in English.
After an attack by a company of Mexican soldiers killed his mother, wife and three children in 1858, Geronimo joined revenge attacks on the Mexicans. During his career as a war chief, he was notorious for consistently urging raids upon Mexican Provinces and their towns, and later against American locations across Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas.
In 1886 Geronimo surrendered to U.S. authorities after a lengthy pursuit. As a prisoner of war in old age he became a celebrity and appeared in fairs but was never allowed to return to the land of his birth. He later regretted his surrender and claimed the conditions he made had been ignored. Geronimo died in 1909 from complications of pneumonia at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans originally from the Southwest United States. The current division of Apachean groups includes the Navajo, Western Apache, Chiricahua, Mescalero, Jicarilla, Lipan, and Plains Apache (formerly Kiowa-Apache).
Geronimo was born to the Bedonkohe band of the Apache, near Turkey Creek, a tributary of the Gila River in the modern-day state of New Mexico, then claimed by Mexico. His grandfather (Mako) had been chief of the Bedonkohe Apache. He had three brothers and four sisters.
Geronimo's parents raised him according to Apache traditions; after the death of his father, his mother took him to live with the Chihenne and he grew up with them. He married a woman named Alope from the Nedni-Chiricahua band of Apache when he was 17; they had three children. On March 6, 1858, a company of 400 Mexican soldiers from Sonora led by Colonel JosÃ© MarÃa Carrasco attacked Goyahkla's camp outside Janos while the men were in town trading. Among those killed were his wife, children and mother.
Geronimo's chief, Mangas Coloradas, sent him to Cochise's band for help in revenge against the Mexicans. It was during this incident that the name Geronimo came about. This appellation stemmed from a battle in which, ignoring a deadly hail of bullets, he repeatedly attacked Mexican soldiers with a knife. The origin of the name is a source of controversy with historians, some writing that it was appeals by the soldiers to Saint Jerome ("Jeronimo!") for help. Others source it as the mispronunciation of his name by the Mexican soldiers.
Geronimo married Chee-hash-kish and had two children, Chappo and Dohn-say. Then he took another wife, Nana-tha-thtith, with whom he had one child. He later had a wife named Zi-yeh at the same time as another wife, She-gha, one named Shtsha-she and later a wife named Ih-tedda. Geronimo's ninth and last wife was Azul.