Nature dictated the rythms of their lives, and almost everything in it held spiritual meaning.
Usen, the life giver, was the God they worshipped….
They were all united as apaches but divided into many tribal bands.
To the east , in New Mexico Sierra Bla&nca and on the Buffalo grasslands of Texas , lived the Mescaleros.
Their close cousins, the Chiricahuas, lived in the Gila and Dragoon mountains of western New Mexico and South western Arizona as well as the Sierra Madre of Sonora and Chihuahua….
At his peak their population was between eight and ten thousands, and perhaps less….
They called themselves Dineh (say Diné)...which means "The People", a name they shared with their linguistic relatives, the Navajos….
These southern people came to be known by the name given them by their Zunis victims _ Apaches, (Apachus) "the enemy."
(Paul Andrew Hutton "The Apache wars ")
It was a harsh country, made of an Hostile beauty, with stunning colours and landscapes.
Once, villages with multistory houses and cultivated fields formed some wealthy civilisations, but near 1400 AD they disappeared during a 24 years of severe drought in the end of the 13th century.
During the XVI th century, the spanish conquistadors brought the civilisation to the South and central americas Inca and Aztec.
In 1540 AD, spanish expéditions came in north of the Rio Grande, pursuing dreams of golden civilisations like the Aztequan by Cortès and the Inca by Pizarro.
They found only poor agriculturan villages and named the indians Pueblos.
These indians submitted to the spanish to survive, and worked hard for them, or became slaves.
But sometimes fled to join the Athapascan (Apaches and Navajos) who fought to keep their Freedom,
or made sudden uprising against their masters.
But the spanish colonists brought something which will change the way of warfare: the horses.
From1600 AD and 1750 AD the Comanches, "the lords of the plains", true centaurs, chased the "llaneros" (the plains apaches like the Lipans or Jicarillas) from actual Texas, the apache took refuge in the mountains and deserts, of actuals Arizona and New Mexico.
They could no more live from Buffalo Hunting or agriculture.
Isolated in hostile terrain, they went raiding Spanish colonists settlements and indian pueblos .
In retaliation, the spanish, then the mexicans after 1821, waged an extermination war against the apaches, the authorities paying 100 pesos for an apache male scalp, 50 for a woman's one and 25 for a child's one.
The scalping of the indians became a lucrative activity for many americans and hispanic scalps hunters.
Ironically many times the victims were peaceful indians or poor spanish then mexicans peasants…
It was a two centuries long and gruelling guerrilla war, which anchored a deep hate against the mexicans among the apaches.
In 1846 the USA government entered war against Mexico, and many bands of apaches ravaged northern mexican territories, which became ripe for the taking by the americans.
All the north western mexicans provinces of California, Arizona and New Mexico (Tejas, was already lost in 1836), the USA Grabbed an immense territory somewhat desertic but very promising.
In 1861 Cochise (Cochès) was a charismatic Chiricahua leader, but not yet the great one he would become later.
He was warlike and a cunning raider but only against the mexicans, he had not yet any feud with the americans, and he thought they were different.
But the "Bascom affair" was going to change everything…
The Ward's ranch was raided by non Chiricahuas indians (an Aravaipa band according to PA Hutton ? Or a non Apache band ? ) and a Young boy, Felix , aged 12th, was kidnapped and cattle stolen.
"Lieutenant Georges Bascom was a Young man in a hurry.
The abduction of the Ward Boy presented Bascom with exactly the sort of Opportunity for disctinction he was homing for.
Major 's Morrison's orders had given Bascom wide latitude of action in recovering the boy and cattle."
(Paul Andrew Hutton)
So began what will be called the " Bascom affair"...
If you read this, you probably know the story and have your opinion about it.
Bascom offered hospitality Under his tent to Cochise to discuss with him,
Cochise accepted and came to the "rendez vous " with members of his family.
Then Bascom accused him for the kidnapping and the thief of the cattle, and made them prisoners.
Cochise escaped, wounded, and fled under fire but his brother, two nephews , his woman and two of his children were now Bascom's hostages.
All of the Cochise and all apaches hate against the mexicans was transfered against the americans
The consequences were immense and dramatic, the beginning of a 25 years long dreadful guerrilla warfare.
That's what this wargame is about
and "Bascom affair" an example of the provocation level concept.