Cochise was one of the most famous leaders of the Chokonen band of the Chiricahua Apache people.
He is famous for leading an uprising against the United States during the Apache Wars.
Cochise is one of the most famous Apache leaders to resist European American colonisation. He was known for being tall (over 6 foot) and strong.
His name “cheis” means “having the strength of an oak.” Cochise was born in Arizona/New Mexico.
The Apache people had settled in this region before the arrival of Spanish and Europeans.
There were many, many, wars between the Spanish colonists and the later Mexicans because they wanted more and more control over Chiricahua lands.
The more they wanted this, the more Cochise and his people resisted. The Apache won many of these wars.
The Spanish tried a new way to win called the “Galvez Peace Policy”. They tried to make the Apache rely on them and only gave them older firearms and liquor rations.
Mexico gained independence from Spain and did not continue this policy. The Chiricahua raided throughout the 1830s to get what the Mexicans wouldn’t sell to them.
The Mexican government began a series of military operations to stop their raiding.
In 1861, Cochise was falsely accused of kidnapping a rancher’s son.
This sparked off a huge conflict between the Apache and the U.S. government. The real kidnappers were a different Apache band.
The man’s father demanded justice and wanted his son rescued. Cochise was arrested. No one would believe Cochise when he said he was innocent.
When no one would listen to him, he cut his way out of the tent where he was held hostage. Apparently, Cochise managed to escape with three bullet wounds. His other friends were killed.
One was killed straight away with no trial, and the others were hanged by federal authorities.
Cochise swore he would seek revenge for his friends.
This kidnapping ignited a series of conflicts. There were many more battles and raids that the Apache carried out on settlers. Cochise was the principal leader of the Apaches.
The U.S. government did not back down. After the Civil War was over, they sent out thousands of troops to exterminate the Apache.
Cochise and 200 hundred followers escaped capture for more than 10 years. They did this by hiding out in the Dragoon Mountains in Arizona.
The U.S. government and Cochise eventually wanted peace. In 1871, General George Crook had won over some Apaches and brought others onto reservations.
Cochise surrendered in September 1871. He refused to be transferred to the Tularosa Reservation in New Mexico and escaped in 1872.
He moved to the Chiricahua Reservation when it was set up later in 1872.
Cochise became very ill and died in 1874. His body was painted yellow, black and red and he was buried in the Dragoon mountains.
Ten years later, the boy who had been kidnapped came forward and said that it wasn’t Cochise who had kidnapped him.
What does the name Cochise mean?
What caused a series of conflicts?
How do we know Cochise was innocent?
Where did Cochise and his followers hide out?
Where is Cochise buried?