Mangas Coloradas – Apache Warrior

Mangas Coloradas

Mangas Coloradas’ Son and namesake in 1884.

Mangas Coloradas, also known as Dasoda-hae, meaning Red Sleeves, was a Chiricahua Apache chief whose homeland stretched west from the Rio Grande to include most present-day southwestern New Mexico.

Born in New Mexico, Mangas Coloradas was a superb Apache warrior who eventually became the chief and war leader of the Eastern Chiricahua Apache. In the 1820s and 1830s, the Apache’s chief enemy was the Mexicans, who had gained their independence from Spain in 1821. As War Leader, Mangas Coloradas led several attacks on Mexican settlements in Sonora and Chihuahua. When the United States defeated Mexico to acquire the lands of New Mexico and Arizona, Mangas Coloradas signed a peace treaty, respecting them as conquerors of the hated Mexican enemies. However, the peace was tenuous, and conflict began as numerous white settlers encroached upon Apache lands. Mangas was personally attacked by a group of miners who tied him to a tree and severely beat him near Pinos Altos, New Mexico, in 1851. Continued violations of the treaty soon led to Apache reprisals. In 1861, his son-in-law, Cochise, was falsely accused of kidnapping a young white boy and arrested with several other Apache. Cochise was able to escape, but the event led to an all-out war against the white settlers. Mangas Coloradas soon joined with Cochise, as well as Geronimo, in staving off the white settlers.

In January 1863, General Joseph Rodman West, under orders from General Carleton, captured Mangas Coloradas by meeting with him under a flag of truce. Though allegedly a peaceful conference, the U.S. Army took Mangas Coloradas prisoner and later executed him on January 18, 1863. This, of course, very much angered Cochise and Chief Victorio, who retaliated even more against white encroachment, a state which continued for the next nine years.


© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated January 2022.

Also See:

Notable Native Americans on the Frontier

Native American Heroes & Leaders

Legends, Myths & Tales of Native Americans

Native American Tribes