Friday, November 16, 2012

Badass #3 - Geronimo

So far, I have profiled a couple of real Badasses on this blog.  I have profiled Andrew Jackson and Shaka Zulu.

Now, I present a Badass extraordinaire, Geronimo.  Geronimo was perhaps the greatest and bravest of all Native American Leaders. 

Geronimo was born Goyathlay of the Chiricahua Apache in 1829. His badass adventures began as a response to Mexican soldiers and a raid on his village.  You see, one day Goyathlay went into town to do some trading and get some supplies.  While he was there, a group of Mexican soldiers crossed into Arizona and marched into his village for no reason at all and started wantonly slaughtering the Apache women and children, destroying their food supplies, and capturing their weapons, horses, and medicine. Goyathlay returned to find his home in flames, his mother, wife and children all slain by the soldiers.

As you can imagine, Goyathlay, the 27-year old Apache brave, was in shock.  That shock lasted for about a minute or two and then he was filled with rage.  He vowed to hunt down the Mexican soldiers that did this and kill them all. 
 
Goyathlay put on his war-paint and recruited braves to help him hunt down the Mexican soldiers.  He also decided he was going to kill as many Mexican soldiers, and anyone else who happened to get in his way, as he could.   He declared war on the country of Mexico.  How cool is that?  One man declaring war on a whole country.  That is Badass defined! 
 
He and his braves set out for Mexico, traveling on foot.  They walked over fifty miles a day in the Arizona heat.  They marched all the way to the Mexican village of Arispe, where they were met by eight Mexican soldiers.  Goyathlay and his braves killed them and scalped them.   
 
The next morning, eight companies of Mexican Infantry marched forth to do battle with Goyathlay and the Apache. When Goyathlay saw that some of these soldiers were from the same company that perpetrated the massacre at his village, he basically went berserk.  He saw his chance to avenge the deaths of his family.  He was so pissed off that he charged into the entire company of Mexican soldiers who were firing their rifles.  Somehow, none of the bullets hit him (many Mexican soldiers later swore that he was actually impervious to all forms of gunfire). He broke through the lines with only a large hunting knife to use as a weapon.  Goyathlay went crazy, slashing and stabbing Mexican solders left and right. 
 
Needless to say, the Mexicans were scared as Hell.  They were screaming and pleaing  to Saint Jerome to save them from this crazy, knife-wielding madman.  This only made Goyathlay get wilder.  He was a like Rambo!

When the battle finally was over, he stood in the battlefield surrounded by bodies of dead Mexican Soldiers.  Although some of the other braves killed some of the soldiers, surviving Mexican soldiers and the Apache Braves all said that Goyathlay had probably killed over half of them by himself.  The Apache braves were impressed and asked him to be their new War Leader.  He accepted and his first order was to scalp all of the dead soldiers. 

The legend was born.  Goyathlay took the name "Jeronimo" (Because it sounded like St. Jerome in Spanish) to remind everyone in the world how badass he was.

For the next twenty years, he continued his war on Mexico.  He led at least a couple-dozen raids across the border into Mexican territory.  Each raid ended with many Mexicans dead and scalped. 

One of his most impressive victories came at the Battle of White Hill in 1879, when two companies of Mexican cavalrymen went up against a war party of about fifty Apache warriors. Geronimo knew he was outnumbered so he simply ducked behind cover when he could and fired his rifle from time to time, just waiting for the Mexicans to run out of ammo.  When they did, the Apache ambushed them and fought a huge hand-to-hand combat battle.  They killed all of the Mexican soldiers in that battle using only spears, tomahawks, and knives.

In the 1870's and 80's, he was not only battling the Mexicans, but he was battling the United States military as well.  The U.S. was moving into Apache territory Uninvited.  On at least four separate occasions between 1872 and 1887, he led war parties against the United States Calvary. Many of the American soldiers had heard the stories about Geronimo and his battles against the Mexicans.  American Soldiers were afraid of him just as much as the Mexicans were.

Geronimo did not go through all of these battles without suffering some injuries. 
During his raids and battles, he was shot at least six times, had his leg gouged with a saber, and knocked unconscious by the butt of a rifle. He never was captured during these battles.

The one thing he could not do was regenerate his Apache warriors.  Although they fought well against the American calvary, they still lost many warriors in battle.  Their numbers began falling in the 1880's until they reached a point where they did not have enough braves to go into battle.  In 1887, Geronimo had only 35 braves left and he was to face a huge American calvary unit.  He knew it would be suicide and he decided to surrender.

He had fought the armies of two countries for 30+years and he was the last Native American leader to surrender.  He held out the longest out of all the Tribes.

I leave you with one of his greatest quotes:
"Our arrows were all gone, our spears broken off in the bodies of dead enemies. We had only our hands and knives with which to fight, but all who stood around us were dead… Still covered with the blood of my enemies, still holding my conquered weapon, still hot with the joy of battle, victory, and vengeance, I was surrounded by the Apache braves and made war chief of all Apaches. Then I gave orders for scalping the slain."
Is that not one of the Badassedest (Cool, I think I just made a word up!) quote of all-time!  That quote right there is enough to get him on my Badass list.

3 comments:

  1. This is a good read especially for me who come from different culture.

    ReplyDelete
  2. very interesting blog ;) keep going ..

    ReplyDelete
  3. I Think You Know MeApril 17, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    Thanks Balqis and S3od! I am glad you like the series. I will be posting one or two a week, so stay tuned.

    ReplyDelete

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