TIL that before Geronimo ever learned how to properly use a rifle, he would run at armed enemies in a zig-zag pattern until he was close enough to use his knife. He claimed that the mountain spirits spoke to him and said, “You will never die in battle, nor… by gun. I will guide your arrows.”

Read more: https://www.nps.gov/chir/learn/historyculture/apache-wars-geronimo.htm

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  1. If you haven’t really looked into the life of Geronimo, it’s easily one of the most tragic, individual stories in American History.

    >As a young man, Geronimo had lost one of his wives, some of his children, and his mother to a massacre carried out by Mexican soldiers. He would never forgive the Mexican people for this nor forget his hate for them. Geronimo felt he had little purpose after this event. One night, atop Bowie Peak, he heard Ussen’s voice on the wind say to him, “You will never die in battle, nor will you die by gun. I will guide your arrows.”

    Geronimo believed this to be true for the rest of his life, and for good reason. He petitioned to Chief Cochise and Chief Mangas to campaign deep into Mexico to avenge his family’s death. Geronimo told them he would lead the battle as he did not care whether he lived or died. It was during this campaign that Geronimo would get the name he is known by today.

    During the battle, Geronimo did not fire arrows from cover as many of the other Apache did. Instead, he ran zig-zag at the Mexican soldiers so as not to be hit by their bullets. He would then kill them with a knife and take their rifles back to other Apache warriors, as he did not know how to use a rifle at this point. The Mexican soldiers began to shout “Geronimo!” to warn each other of his charges. The origins of this word are still unknown. The Chiricahua Apache began to chant the name in enthusiasm and intimidation.

    Geronimo was a complicated man. Many Americans at the time dubbed him as “the worst Indian that ever lived.” He was quick-tempered and paranoid; nervous, but very, very lucky. He was deceitful and cruel, prophetic and brilliant, ambivalent and even sometimes a little sheepish. His contradictory yet effective nature makes him one of the most fascinating characters of the Apache Wars.

    He lived the last 23 years of his life as a prisoner of war with his last written words being:

    >I should have never surrendered. I should have fought until I was the last man alive.

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