Goyaałé (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 Arizona, then part of Mexico, but which his family considered Bedonkohe land.
Just before the year 1830, Mexicans killed his entire family. With their deaths, Geronimo awoke from his shell and lived with a staunch yearning, an obsession, for revenge.
Geronimo fought against numbers of both Mexican and United States troops and became famous for his daring exploits and numerous escapes from capture.
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 Sept. 4 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, Oklahoma, 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 died of pneumonia (aged 79) on February 17, 1909, precisely 100 years ago at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and was buried at the Apache Indian Prisoner of War Cemetery there.
You can know more Geronimo Remembered 1829-1909: A Retrospective 100 Years