Who are the key figures and what's the importance of the Battle of Little Bighorn?

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The Battle of Little Bighorn, like the Charge of the Light Brigade, falls into the relatively small category of conflicts and military events that are mythologized and even romanticized by the losing side. The battle was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota tribe and their allies, and a disaster for the United States Seventh Cavalry forces, under the command of Colonel Custer. In this sense, the battle was not of great military or political importance. The Great Sioux War ended with the Agreement of 1877, which annexed the land for which the US forces has been fighting. The victory of the Lakota at Little Bighorn can have done no more than delay this outcome slightly.

In cultural terms, however, the Battle of Little Bighorn has been highly significant. Despite the fact that it was a defeat for the United States, it is one of the best-known battles in American history. The phrase "Custer's Last Stand" has entered the language. The battle has been a particularly popular subject for paintings. John Mulvany's huge picture, Custer's Last Rally, which measured eleven feet by twenty feet, toured the country for seventeen years at the end of the nineteenth century.

Apart from Lieutenant-Colonel George Armstrong Custer himself, the best-known participant in the battle was the Lakota Commander, Crazy Horse, who, unlike Custer, survived the battle but died in mysterious circumstances the following year.

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