Geronimo (b. Goyathlay)(1829–1909) Chiricahua Apache war chief; born along the Gila River in present-day Arizona. Growing up during a time when his people were actively fighting the European settlers from Mexico and the U.S.A., he became a raider after his own family was killed in 1858. He was eventually confined to various reservations but he periodically escaped and led several raids against white settlers, often operating out of Mexico. When his most violent campaign began in 1885, U.S. Army troops were dispatched, but it took some 5,000 of them 18 months to capture Geronimo and about 35 warriors. He was first confined in Florida but was eventually allowed to settle on the Comanche and Kiowa reservation near Fort Sill, Okla. He became a successful farmer, converted to Christianity, appeared at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904) and rode in President Theodore Roosevelt's inaugural parade (1905). He dictated his autobiography (published in 1906). In a tribute to his reputation as a fearless warrior, American military parachute troops have adopted his name as their "battle cry" as they jump from airplanes.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.