It was on this day in 1886 that Geronimo, the last major Native American warrior, surrendered after 30 years of fighting in Arizona. The Apaches had largely been defeated by American troops. Their chief, Cochise, was dead, and the U.S. government forced them to live on a barren reservation in San Carlos, Arizona. But Geronimo organized a group of warriors to fight one last war of resistance. He fought for five years, and many military historians believe he was one of the most brilliant guerilla warfare strategists in history. He started out with a group of about 700 men, women, and children. He surrendered his forces twice, but each time he managed to escape.
For the last five months of the campaign, Geronimo led a band of only 37 warriors, pursued by 5,000 U.S. soldiers for five months without being captured. But Geronimo and his men finally got tired of living in the mountains, and so they surrendered on this day in 1886 in a place called Skeleton Canyon. He was essentially a prisoner of war for the rest of his life, but he was allowed to travel around the country, and he made a living by selling the buttons off his jacket and autographed photos of himself. He appeared at an exhibit at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, but he never saw Arizona again.
Re-posted from W.A.