Visiting the Village of Abiquiú, located between Santa Fe and Taos, should be on everyone’s bucket list. Georgia O’Keeffe made Abiquiú famous and today you can still see the vistas represented in her paintings. It’s no surprise, but Holleywood found Abiquiú and many films have been produced here, including Magnificent Seven; the 4th Indiana Jones movie, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystall Skull; Cowboys and Aliens; City Slickers; Wyatt Earp; The Last Outlaw and many others.
Historians believe Abiquiú was built on top of the ruins of a prehistoric Tewa Pueblo that existed in 1300 A.D. Native Americans inhabited Chama River valley for thousands of years before the Spanish established a small town here in the early 1700s. By the 1730s, early Hispanic settlers created ranchos and plazas in the Chama River valley and founded Santa Rosa de Lima de Abiquiú. However, these settlers frequently abandoned their homes because of raids by nomadic Indians. In 1747, Santa Rosa de Lima was completely abandoned when the Utes and Comanche Indians attacked the settlers in a deadly battle. In 1750, Spanish authorities mandated the resettlement of Abiquiú and relocated the village upstream to its present location. But Indian raids continued. So in 1754, Governor Capuchin awarded a land grant to 34 detribalized Indian families (Genizaros) on the mesa above Santa Rosa de Lima; in return for the land grant, the Genizaros provided a military defense for the Spanish authorities. The Genizaros, who now owned their own land, built houses and named the new pueblo The Pueblo de Abiquiú. So the village of Abiquiú was founded in 1754, 22 years before American independence.
Interestingly, another issue during this period was the practice of witchcraft by some community members. Many suspected sorcerers and witches were jailed and beaten. The Spanish authorities used this as a way to turn the Genezaro community away from their culture and natural healing practices.
By the late 1700s, the land was becoming more peaceful - more families were settling in Abiquiú and a trading center was established. The peace didn’t last long, however, and in the 1800s the Indian and Spanish settlers were once again fighting over territory. The period of hostility lasted until after the American occupation in 1849 when a peace treaty was signed. The Indians agreed to stop the raids in exchange for financial aid and protection from the United States government. The treaty was never ratified by Congress and disputes over land continued. The government believed that land that had not yet been developed or farmed could be seized and distributed to new settlers. The Pueblo de Abiquiú, however, was able to protect its land grant because it had a well-documented history of ownership and use. The nearby Piedra Lumbre grant wasn't as lucky and that land was claimed by Thomas B. Catron (of the notorious Santa Fe Ring) and a group of entrepreneurs who eventually gained ownership of two-thirds of the grant. Efforts in the mid-twentieth century to return some National Forest lands near Abiquiú back to the original Hispanic families who owned those original land claims were successful, thanks to negotiations initiated by the Presbyterian-owned Ghost Ranch.
Abiquiú Is thought to be the beginning of The Old Spanish Trail, linking Santa Fe and Los Angeles.
There is so much to do and see in Abiquiú: Ghost Ranch hiking, tours, classes, museums and more; Plaza Blanca; Echo Amphitheater; local shops in this artist’s colony; Georgia O’Keeffe tours; Christ Monastery in the Dessert; Abiquiu Lake, the Chama River; Cerro Pedernal; Carson National Forest; whitewater rafting, boating, fishing and swimming; and so much more.
Of course, we think the absolute best part of Abiquiú is The Casita del Lago - the perfect home base for your adventures!