Cochise.    .    .    .    .


     The place of his birth is likewise unknown, though it was likely, according to Edwin Sweeney, in the Chiricahua Mountains.  Sweeney has written that Cochise's father may have been either Relles or Pisago Cabezón, both important Chokonen chiefs.  On the other hand, Daklugie told Eve Ball that the Apache people generally believe he was a descendant of Juan Jose, a minor chief killed in 1837 during an infamous act of treachery by American and Mexican traders.   It seems rather unlikely that Cochise could have originated from such a minor parent, but I feel it is important to note here what Daklugie -- the son of a very influential Apache leader [Juh] --  had to say about it.

     Others believe that it was Mangas Coloradas who was related somehow to Juan Jose, as they shared a common band affiliation (Warm Springs band), whereas Cochise was Chokonen.  Cochise's link to Mangas Coloradas was to come later in his life upon his marriage to one of Mangas' daughters (Dos-teh-seh).

     Cochise, by the year 1835, was already gaining followers and was leading raids into Mexico.  He steadily grew in stature as a courageous warrior and cunning tactition, and was soon sharing leadership of the Chokonen band with other important war chiefs such as Miguel Narbona and Carro.  This particular Chokonen band, occupying principally the Sulphur Springs Valley area (Chiricahua Mountains, Dragoons, Apache Pass, Dos Cabezas Mountains), would soon embrace Cochise as their only Nantan (chief, to Americans).  In fact, his influence became so great that during the height of his leadership he was able to summon at will forces from surrounding bands -- something only Juan Jose and Mangas Coloradas had been able to do previously.  In point of fact, Cochise and his father-in-law Mangas Coloradas often joined forces, forming a truly formidable alliance, for both men were known to their enemies for their terrible ferocity in battle.  It was with the aid of Mangas that Cochise, in 1862, staged one of the most famous Indian/Anglo skirmishes in history, the Battle at Apache Pass (see Broken Arrow for more on that event.)

The arrival of the first Anglo settlers into the region roughly coincided with Cochise's ascent to leadership.  Of course Americans had appeared in the area much earlier than this, but only in passing through on their way to the California gold fields.  For the most part, the area I am defining here as the Land of Cochise was largely void of Americans when Cochise first came to power, and his band enjoyed full rein of their domain (the only exception being the frequent invasions by Mexican soldiers who had for decades carried on a running war with the Apaches).

Cochise's attitude toward Americans at first was one of reluctant tolerance.  He did not fear them, and he had no reason at first to hate them.  Clearly he resented their uninvited presence, but he most likely considered it a temporary inconvenience.  There was no way he or any other Apache could have forseen the unstoppable deluge of settlers and soldiers that was soon to follow.

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