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September 14, 2014

Southwest Indian Wars

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The Southwest Indian Wars included the Navajo Wars, Yuma War, Mohave War, Apache wars, Black Hawk War (1865–1872) and Apache-Mexico Wars.

The acquisition of Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo México from Mexico at the end of the Mexican American War in 1848, and the Gadsden Purchase in 1853, brought about conflicts with native peoples that spanned from 1846 to 1895 in this large geographical area. The first conflicts were in New Mexico Territory and in California and Utah Territory during and after the California Gold Rush.

The tribes or bands in the southwest had been engaged in cycles of trading and fighting each other and foreign settlers for centuries prior to the United States’ purchasing their region from Mexico in 1848 and 1853.

These conflicts with the United States involved every non-pueblo tribe in this region and often were a continuation of Mexican–Spanish conflicts.

The Navajo and Apache conflicts are perhaps the best known. The last major campaign of the U.S. military against native Americans in the Southwest involved 5,000 troops in the field, which caused the Apache Geronimo and his band of 24 warriors, women and children to surrender in 1886.

However, a few skirmishes continued into the 20th century, such as:

1907, near Four Corners, Arizona: Two troops of the 5th Cavalry from Fort Wingate skirmished with armed Navajo men. One Navajo was killed and the rest escaped.

1911, in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico: A company of cavalry went from Fort Wingate to quell a possible uprising by Navajo.

January 9, 1918, in Bear Valley, Arizona: The Battle of Bear Valley was fought in Southern Arizona. United States Army forces of the 10th Cavalry engaged and captured a band of Yaquis, after a brief firefight.

Some time in 1924 both the Renegade Period and the Apache Wars ended which had begun decades earlier and brought the American Indian Wars to a close 302 years after the Jamestown Massacre of 1622.

Southwest Tribes
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