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What was Geronimo famous for?

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June 13, 2010 12:03AM

Geronimo is widely known for his leadership in the Apache resistance against the United States and their prescribed reservation life for the Apache people.

Born Goyahkla ("one who yawns"), the name Geronimo was given to him by fearful Mexican soldiers praying to St. Jerome (Jeronimo). Goyahkla's fellow warriors heard the Mexicans crying "Cuidado! Jeronimo!" and it stuck with the young warrior.

Geronimo became a leading figure in the Apache wars after his escape from the San Carlos reservation. Between the years of 1876 and 1886, the Apache warrior would revisit and again flee the reservation on several occasions. Geronimo's final surrender to General Nelson Miles in 1886 marked the end of the Apache wars. At the time of his surrender, Geronimo's band consisted of 17 warriors and a handful of women and children. In his last attempt at finding freedom, he and his small band had, for nearly a year, successfully evaded the largest Army force ever sent after a renegade Indian: roughly 5,000 American troops (about a quarter of the Army). Also in pursuit were thousands of Mexican soldiers, Mexican citizens and American citizens.

Geronimo died a prisoner of war in 1909 on the Fort Sill reservation in Oklahoma.