Born in southern Arizona in June of 1829, Geronimo’s real name was Goyathlay ("one who yawns"). He was named Geronimo by a group of Mexicans whom he raided in 1858, after the Mexicans had killed his family. A war shaman of the Chiricahua Apaches, Geronimo was a skilled guerilla fighter with a strong enmity toward whites and a fierce loyalty to his people and commitment to freedom. In 1876, when the US Army forced Geronimo’s people to move to New Mexico, Geronimo led a group to Mexico to conduct a brief campaign of sorties into the United States. In the early 1880s, he began a series of raids on white communities, which built up to a concentrated campaign in May of 1885 directed against settlements in New Mexico and southern Arizona. After being pursued for ten months, he surrendered in March of 1886, but escaped soon after. His continued efforts to evade capture and remain free were covered by the press of white communities across the country. Geromino was finally captured near the Bavispe River in Mexico in August of 1886, and formally surrendered to General Nelson Miles at Camp Bowie, Arizona on September 4, 1886. At his surrender, he said: "Once I moved about like the wind. Now I surrender to you and that is all."
Geronimo was transferred to several prisons, and was eventually allowed to settle at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He returned to farming, and converted to Christianity. In 1903, Geronimo joined the Dutch Reformed Church. He became something of a legend in his latter years, and even marched in President Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural procession in 1905. The next year, his autobiography, Geronimo’s Story of His Life, was published. Geronimo died at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, on February 17, 1909.