Fast Facts about Victorio
The following fact sheet contains interesting facts, background history and information about the life of Victorio and the events in history that led to his fame as a great Native American Indian leader.
Fast Facts about Victorio
Clan: Chihenne tribe meaning 'Red Painted People', known as the Warm Springs Apache or the Eastern Chiricahua Apaches
Lifespan of Victorio: c. 1825 - 1880
Alternative names: Apache Wolf and He who checks his horse
Place of Birth: Warm Springs, New Mexico, First Mexican Republic
Date of Birth: c. 1825
Date of Death: October 14, 1880 (aged 55)
Place of Death: Tres Castillos, Mexico
Wars: Involved in the Apache Wars (1851 - 1900), in particular Victorio's War (1879–1880)
Victorio was born in the Chihenne tribe of the Apache Indians. He lived and grew up in Warm Springs, before foreigners invaded their land. He rose to warrior chief status as a military strategist by leading small groups of warriors, often consisting of no more than 35 to 50 fighters, in triumphant resistance to Mexican and American troops. He also possessed the skills in diplomacy and was able to talk in a sincere and soft-spoken manner when dealing with foreigners. The battles that Victorio fought were as much spiritual in nature as personal. According to him, Warm Springs, his hometown, was bestowed upon by Ussen, the Apache Tribes god of cosmology.
Victorio - the Apache Wars
His homeland was first encroached by the Mexicans and then, in 1850, Americans also started to invade Apache territory. This action prompted the start of the Apache Wars (1850 - 1900) which were fought by other famous Apache chiefs such as Cochise and Geronimo. His tribe was first united in 1837 by Mangas Coloradas, aka Chief Red Sleeve, near the Gila River in south-western New Mexico. In 1862 the murder of Chief Red Sleeve and the mutilation of his body only increased the hostility between Apache and the United States.
Victorio at Ojo Caliente
Victorio was the next in line to adopt the role of Apache war chief. Victorio gathered together a band of about 300 Eastern Chiricahuas and Mescaleros and his band of Native American Indians settled near Fort Craig, New Mexico. In 1869 they happily moved to a new reservation near Ojo Caliente (Warm Springs), New Mexico where they established farms and enjoyed a pleasant way of life.
Victorio at the San Carlos Reservation
Their lives changed for the worse when in April 1877 it was decided by the US government to take the reservation lands, and that Victorio's Apaches were to be moved to the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. Victorio argued the cause of his tribe with great eloquence but was unable to change the decision. Fearing violent reprisals his band of warriors, women and children had no alternative but to go to the reservation.