Cochise was the chief of the central band of the Chiricahua Apaches, a nomadic people of the American Southwest.
He was on good terms with whites in the Arizona Territory until 1861, when some of his relatives were strung up by U.S. soldiers for an offense of which they were innocent. Outraged, Cochise then led his braves on a brutal warpath against white settlers in the area for nearly a decade. He was audacious and employed shrewd strategy in skirmishes with American soldiers.
Cochise surrendered in 1871, but when ordered to relocate his tribe to a reservation in the New Mexico Territory, he refused and fled with several hundred of his compatriots.
A white man named Thomas Jeffords had befriended Cochise in 1862. In 1871, Jeffords led Indian Commissioner General O.O. Howard to Cochise's mountain hiding place for talks. Through Howard, Cochise agreed to settle on a new reservation for the Chiricahua tribes in southern Arizona. He moved his band to the reservation and died there in 1874.* His burial place was kept secret and was never found.
For a while, Cochise helped to retard the spread of white settlement in the Southwest. He struggled for a cause in which he believed, but used merciless tactics in waging war.
* Geronimo was the leader of the southern Chiricahua band. He became chief of the entire tribe after Cochise's death.
See Indian Wars Time Table .