How the Apaches Maintained Control of the U.S.-Mexico Border for Much of the 19th Century

Even Though the U.S. Army Was Supposedly in Charge, the Chiricahuas Kept the Upper Hand in Trade and Diplomacy 

On February 3, 1873, representatives of the U.S. Army met with Chiricahua Apache leader Cochise at the foot of the rugged Dragoon Mountains. It was a tense meeting. Cross-border relations had been troubled ever since the U.S. had annexed a third of Mexico in the 1840s, and the Americans wanted Cochise to use his influence to stop raids from the Apache reservation across the border into northern Mexico.

But Cochise confidently let it be known that he would have nothing of it. He had only “made peace with the Americans,” but, …