Perhaps if he’d been born a few years earlier, Geronimo would have lived out his life as an Apache chief, adhering to tradition and ensuring the safety of his people. As it happened, one of the most famous Native Americans in history was born to a life of turmoil at the tail-end of America’s westward expansion. The life of Geronimo was fraught with heartache, true, but a life filled with pain didn’t stop the brilliant tactician and charismatic leader from making history.
Born in 1829 in what is now New Mexico, the man who would become the Apache’s most famous warrior was raised traditionally. His normal life came crashing down in 1858, however, when a horrible tragedy sent Geronimo on a thirty-year quest to right the wrongs assailing his people. Though he ended his life in 1909 as a prisoner of war, Geronimo’s legacy helped raise awareness for his people’s struggles in a way few others have ever done, before or since.
Legacy talk aside, this Apache warrior was someone you truly didn’t want to screw around with. In spite of the fact he spent his career outgunned and outmanned, the Native American hero was one of the most righteously feared and universally respected men ever to walk onto a battlefield.