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Victorio
circa 1825 – October 14, 1880
Place of birth Mexico,
Modern Day: New Mexico
Place of death Mexico
Rank Chief
Battles/wars Apache Wars

Victorio (Bidu-ya, Beduiat; c. 1825 – October 14, 1880) was a warrior and chief of the Chihenne band of the Chiricahua Apaches in what is now the U.S. states of New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua.

Biography

Victorio grew up in the Chihenne band (sometimes called Eastern Chiricahua). There are rumors that Victorio was part Mexican, but there is no concrete evidence or reputable oral history to support this claim. There is also speculation that he or his band had Navajo kinship ties and was known among the Navajo as "he who checks his horse". Victorio's sister was the famous woman warrior Lozen ("Dextrous Horse Thief").

In 1853 he was considered a chief or sub chief by the U.S. Army and signed a document. In his twenties, he rode with Geronimo and other Apache leaders. As was the custom, he became the leader of a band of Chiricahuas (sometimes also called Warm Springs or Mimbres) and Mescaleros and fought against the United States Army. From 1870 to 1886, Victorio and his band were moved to and left at least three different reservations (some more than once), despite his band's request to live on traditional lands. The Ojo Caliente reservation was located in their traditional territory. Victorio and his band were moved to San Carlos Reservation in Arizona Territory in 1877. He and his followers immediately left the reservation along with other Apache bands. Victorio was successful at raiding and evading capture by the military.

In April, 1880, Victorio was credited with leading the "Alma massacre" - a raid on United States settlers' homes around Alma, New Mexico. During this event, several settlers were killed. Victorio's warriors were finally driven off with the arrival of U.S. Army soldiers from Fort Bayard. However, Victorio continued his campaign with the attack on Fort Tularosa.[1]

In October 1880, while moving along the Rio Grande in northern Mexico, Victorio and his band were surrounded and killed by soldiers of the Mexican Army at Cerro Tres Castillos (29°58′00″N 105°47′00″W / 29.96667°N 105.78333°W / 29.96667; -105.78333)[2], in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Some women and children escaped but were sent with Geronimo to Florida, Alabama and Oklahoma.

Victorio Peak in New Mexico is named after him.

References

  • Thrapp, Dan L. (1974). Victorio and the Mimbres Apaches. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-1076-7.  
  • Leckie, William H. (1967). The Buffalo Soldiers: A Narrative of the Negro Cavalry in the West. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. LCCN 67-15571.  
  • Kaywaykla, James (1972). Eva Ball. ed. In the Days of Victorio: Recollections of a Warm Springs Apache. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona Press. LCCN 73-101103.  
  • Franciscan Fathers (1968) [1910]. An Ethnologic Dictionary of the Navaho Language. St. Michaels, Arizona, USA: St. Michael's Press.   page 127
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