Historically the Apache are known principally for their fierce fighting qualities. They successfully resisted the advance of Spanish colonization, but the acquisition of horses and new weapons, taken from the Spanish, led to increased intertribal warfare. The Eastern Apache were driven from their traditional plains area when (after 1720) they suffered defeat at the hands of the advancing Comanche. Relations between the Apache and the white settlers gradually worsened with the passing of Spanish rule in Mexico. By the mid-19th cent., when the United States acquired the region from Mexico, Apache lands were in the path of the American westward movement. The futile but strong resistance that lasted until the beginning of the 20th cent. brought national fame to several of the Apache leaders—Cochise, Geronimo, Mangas Coloradas, and Victorio.
Today the Apache, numbering some 50,000 in 1990, live mainly on reservations totaling over 3 million acres in Arizona and New Mexico and retain many tribal customs. Cattle, timber, tourism, and the development of mineral resources provide income. In 1982 the Apaches won a major Supreme Court test of their right to tax resources extracted from their lands. In 1995, after much debate, the Mescalero Apache agreed to build a nuclear-waste storage site on their New Mexico reservation. The project is expected to produce about $250 million in income over the 40-year life of the site.
See G. C. Baldwin, The Warrior Apaches (1965); D. L. Thrapp, The Conquest of Apacheria (1967); K. Basso and M. Opler, ed., Apachean Culture and Ethnology (1971); J. U. Terrell, Apache Chronicle (1972).
There were 646 households out of which 35.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.8% were married couples living together, 15.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.1% were non-families. 27.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the town the population was spread out with 29.6% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 89.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.7 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $26,953, and the median income for a family was $32,431. Males had a median income of $25,391 versus $19,853 for females. The per capita income for the town was $12,790. About 11.4% of families and 16.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.4% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.
Mo Betta western rodeo shirts are made in Apache.