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Few children who leap into pretend battle today yelling "Geronimo!" know the history of the Apache warrior who was born "Goyathlay" (One Who Yawns) but died Geronimo, a legend in his own time. In the 1850s, married with three small children, he traveled with his tribe to Old Mexico to trade. When the men returned to camp they found their horses, supplies and arms gone and their guards and many of their women and children dead, including Geronimo's.
From that moment on he traveled an arc of fierce defiance against both Mexican soldiers and the whites who colonized Apache territory in what became New Mexico and Arizona. It was the Mexicans who called him "Geronimo," Spanish for "Jerome."
There were periods of relative peace for Geronimo, while Arizona was under the management of Lieutenant Colonel George F. Crook, for example, but those were brief. He resisted U.S. attempts to move Apaches to barren exile in the San Carlos reservation and twice left with small bands, once for ten years during which he conducted raids against white settlements and later he kept 5,000 white soldiers plus hundreds of Indian scouts busy for five months chasing him across 1,645 miles until he surrendered in Sonora, Mexico.
After his surrender, and enroute to the U.S., Geronimo escaped again. He was induced to surrender months later with a promise of a return to Arizona after a brief imprisonment in Florida, a promise that was not kept. After years of hard labor in Florida he was moved to Fort Sill in Oklahoma Territory. Geronimo lived long enough to appear as the legend himself at fairs and parades, selling souvenirs. He dictated his memoirs, which were published in 1906. He died at age 80 in 1909.