Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse

Indian chief
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Crazy Horse
  2. Early Life and Vision Quest
  3. Rise as a Warrior and Leader
  4. The Battle of Little Bighorn
  5. Final Years and Death

Biography of Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse (1840 – September 5, 1877) was a Native American chief of the Oglala Lakota tribe. He was born with the name Cha-O-Ha, which roughly translates to "In the Wilderness" or "Among the Trees." His ambiguous name was meant to symbolize his unity with nature.

 Crazy Horse

Early Life and Vision Quest

The exact year of Crazy Horse's birth is uncertain, with different sources citing dates between 1840 and 1845. His father, who was already known as Crazy Horse, gave him this name after the boy proved himself as an adult and demonstrated his strength to the tribe.

Crazy Horse's journey to greatness began with his visions. After witnessing the death of the tribal leader Conquering Bear, Crazy Horse and his father, now known as Waglula, went on a vision quest to Sylvan Lake in South Dakota. It was during this trance-like state that Crazy Horse received the extraordinary power and charisma that would aid him in the future.

Rise as a Warrior and Leader

By the early 1860s, Crazy Horse had established a reputation as a renowned warrior among the Lakota tribe. In addition to his fighting abilities, he was also highly valued for his storytelling talent, as the Lakota people did not have a written language. He regularly participated in intertribal wars, often battling against the Crow, Shoshone, Pawnee, Blackfoot, and Arikara.

In 1864, Crazy Horse fought alongside Lakota and Minneconjou warriors against American cavalry in the Battle of Red Buttes and the subsequent Platte River Bridge Station Battle. These battles were part of the larger conflict against the Sand Creek Massacre, where American soldiers devastated the Northern Cheyenne tribe.

Crazy Horse's exceptional skills as a warrior earned him the title of a tribal leader. In December 1866, he and six warriors lured a detachment of soldiers into a trap, known as the Fetterman Massacre, resulting in the annihilation of the American troops. This was a significant blow to the American campaign on the Great Plains.

The Battle of Little Bighorn

On June 17, 1876, Crazy Horse led a force of 1,500 Lakota and Cheyenne warriors in a surprise attack against General George Crook's soldiers. Although the clash did not result in high casualties for either side, it delayed Crook's reinforcement of General George A. Custer's troops. Many historians believe that this delay contributed to Custer's defeat at the Battle of Little Bighorn.

Crazy Horse's precise role in the Battle of Little Bighorn remains uncertain. However, witnesses of the battle praised his strength and bravery, considering him one of the greatest heroes of the conflict.

Final Years and Death

In January 1877, Crazy Horse and his warriors engaged in their final major battle at Wolf Mountain. Weakened by hunger and cold, Crazy Horse realized that victory was unlikely and chose to surrender in order to protect his people. He and several other tribal leaders were taken as prisoners of war to Camp Robinson in Nebraska.

Crazy Horse's reputation had spread throughout the country by this time, attracting considerable attention. Some jealous leaders spread rumors that he had no intention of surrendering to the Americans and planned to return to his old ways. When General Crook arrived at the camp, he was immediately informed of an alleged assassination plot against him by Crazy Horse.

This escalation of tension ultimately led to Crazy Horse's death on September 5, 1877. It is believed that during an altercation with one of his guards, he attempted to escape and was fatally stabbed. Despite efforts by doctors to save him, Crazy Horse succumbed to his injuries. His body was displayed to tribal elders before being buried in an unidentified location, where it remains to this day.