Native Americans controlled most of the United States way before it was known as such. When initial attempts to welcome the newcomers failed, they fought back.

They tried to assimilate as the country grew but, when that didn't work, they did what they had to do.

Their leaders weren't idiots and, defense - wise, they played their cards fairly well.

The southwestern United States have a stormy and violent past and the history books don't always tell absolute truths.

After all, as they say, history books are written by the winners.

One thing Arizona, New Mexico and Texas have in common, no matter the outcome, or what lies were told, are some native American leaders far more feared than others.

First, Texas

We'll start in Texas because, well, honestly, I'm partial to my home state. The most feared tribe in Texas were the Comanche.

Their most respected leader was Quanah Parker. A fierce warrior, QP had two lives when it came to messing with the fledgling USA.

One as an ass kicker - For about seven years, Parker ruled the Texas plains despite countless efforts to bring him down and get the Comanche in check.

He once raided a military compound, stole their horses and vanished; only to reappear from time to time ... like a ghost ... to wreak more havoc.

Second, after surrendering, he further annoyed the "establishment" as an advocate for Native American rights.

New Mexico & Arizona Share One Of The Most Well Known And Infamous Chiefs.

New Mexico and Arizona were once a single territory. A fact that may have impacted the Civil War.

Within that territory, roamed a man whose name echoes around the world ... Geronimo.

Geronimo's entire family was murdered about 75 miles south of the (then) US-Mexico border and he never forgot it.

Shoshone Indian
Getty Images

His vengeance upon Mexicans in general was severe and when the white man came at him, he didn't exactly ease up.

Side note: He wasn't overly "kind" to his own and would murder, or order the murders of, his own peeps if he felt it necessary.

It took nearly 1/4 of the US Army, (5,000 troops then, along with 3,000 from Mexico), to find him. Once found, he surrendered. Then escaped. Several times.

Ultimately though, he spent the last 20 or so years of his life a POW and, in 1909, died of pneumonia, still a captive.

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