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Native American history is an important aspect to the history of Northern America because each nation is unique and was formidable to the development of North American societies of today. Each area of North America were inhabited by unique nations; however, there was none as unique as the southwestern Apache. This nation was known for their determined fight against several foreign enemies such as the Spanish, Mexicans, and Americans. Their fight for land and expulsion of foreign enemies raged from the early sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. The Apache are a band of Native American tribes in southwestern United States better known as Apacheria. Chiricahua, Jicarilla, and Mescalero are all major tribes, with the exception of much smaller branches within each three which form the Apache, and belong to the Athabaskan language family. Dating records and artifacts provide evidence that Apache people were living in the southwestern part of North America between 1200 and 1500 AD. The Apache had significant Spanish influence for a century, and in some cases two centuries, before American colonialization of the southwest. Explorers such as Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in the early sixteenth century were some of the first non-native groups to enter the land. As Spanish presence became stronger throughout the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Jesuit missionaries began to move across Apache land. In general, the Spanish and Jesuit influences in the southwest created intense conflicts that would continue for centuries as American settlers began to colonize the area.