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Geronimo

Geronimo (jərŏnˈəmōˌ) [key], c.1829–1909, leader of a Chiricahua group of the Apaches, b. Arizona. As a youth he participated in the forays of Cochise, Victorio, and other Apache leaders. When the Chiricahua Reservation was abolished (1876) and the Apaches removed to the arid San Carlos Agency in New Mexico, Geronimo led a group of followers into Mexico. He was soon captured and returned to the new reservation, where he farmed for a while. In 1881 he escaped again with a group (including a son of Cochise) and led raids in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. He surrendered (1883) to forces under Gen. George Crook and was returned to the reservation. In 1885 he again left, and after almost a year of war he agreed to surrender to Crook, but at the last minute Geronimo fled. His escape led to censure of Crook's policy. Late in 1886, Geronimo and the remainder of his forces surrendered to Gen. Nelson Appleton Miles, Crook's successor. They were deported as prisoners of war to Florida; contrary to an agreement, they were not allowed to take their families with them. After a further period in prison in Alabama, Geronimo was placed under military confinement at Fort Sill, Okla., where he settled down, adopted Christianity, and became a prosperous farmer. He became a national celebrity when he appeared at the St. Louis World's Fair and in Theodore Roosevelt's inaugural procession. He dictated his autobiography to S. M. Barrett (1906, repr. 1970).

See biographies by A. B. Adams (1971), A. Debo (1976), and R. M. Utley (2012); studies by B. Davis (1929, repr. 1963), J. Bigelow (1958, repr. 1968), and O. B. Faulk (1969).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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See more Encyclopedia articles on: North American indigenous peoples: Biographies

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