Abiquiú, New Mexico

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Abiquiú, New Mexico
Péshú:bú'; Gultɨdda
The adobe Santo Tomás Church in Abiquiú
The adobe Santo Tomás Church in Abiquiú
Location of Abiquiú within New Mexico
Location of Abiquiú within New Mexico
Abiquiú, New Mexico is located in the United States
Abiquiú, New Mexico
Abiquiú, New Mexico
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 36°12′34″N 106°19′7″W / 36.20944°N 106.31861°W / 36.20944; -106.31861Coordinates: 36°12′34″N 106°19′7″W / 36.20944°N 106.31861°W / 36.20944; -106.31861
CountryUnited States
StateNew Mexico
CountyRio Arriba
 • Total0.95 sq mi (2.47 km2)
 • Land0.95 sq mi (2.47 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
6,080 ft (1,853 m)
 • Total181
 • Density189.73/sq mi (73.28/km2)
Time zoneUTC−7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−6 (MDT)
ZIP Code
FIPS code35-00310
Abiquiú Post Office
Abiquiú church and plaza around 1920.

Abiquiú (/ˈæbɪkj/ (listen), Spanish pronunciation: [aβiˈkju], Tewa: Péshú:bú'; Northern Tiwa: Gultɨdda) is a census-designated place in Rio Arriba County, in northern New Mexico in the southwestern United States, about 53 miles (85 km) north of Santa Fe. As of 2010, the population was 231.[3] Abiquiú's one school, an elementary school, is part of the Española Public Schools.

Abiquiú means "wild choke cherry place" in the Tewa language. It is also called Santo Tomás de Abiquiú and the Pueblo of Santo Tomás de Abiquiú. In the mid-eighteenth century, the Spanish crown provided land grants to Genízaros here and in other places to establish buffer towns to defend the frontier from raiding tribes such as the Comanche.[4]

Abiquiú was one of the homes of American artist Georgia O'Keeffe from 1929 until 1984. The Georgia O'Keeffe Home and Studio is in Abiquiú. The artist also owned property at the nearby Ghost Ranch. Many of her paintings depict scenes near Abiquiú.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[5][2]


Abiquiú was first settled in 1742 by 24 Tewa Pueblo families led by a Roman Catholic priest, Francisco Delgado. The Tewa returned to New Mexico after a lengthy residence among the Hopi people in what would become Arizona. Their settlement in Abiquiú was part of the strategy by New Mexican colonists to defend its frontiers against marauding indigenous peoples such as the Apache, Comanche, and Navajo. Abiquiú was on the northern border of the Spanish settlements of New Mexico.[6] In 1747, in one of the numerous raids in the area, the Comanche took 23 women and children captive, forcing the temporary abandonment of Abiquiú. The captives probably were sold or traded in the flourishing slave trade between and among the Spanish and the surrounding indigenous nations.[7]

In 1754, to deal with the raids and the faltering settlement, New Mexico governor Tomás Vélez Cachupín gave 34 Genízaro families a land grant in exchange for them taking a prominent role in frontier defense. Abiquiú was the third such Genízaro settlement established in New Mexico, after Belen and Trampas. The Genízaros were original inhabitants from various tribes whose origin was typically as war captives, who were sold by raiding tribes as slaves and servants of the Spanish. Because they had few rights under the casta laws of the Spanish, acceptance of land grants and resettlement on the dangerous frontier of New Mexico was the principal way for Genízaros to become landowners. Abiquiú became the archetypal Genízaro settlement. Many residents still celebrate their Genízaro heritage in the 21st century.[8]

In the late 18th century, peace was established between New Mexico and the Comanche and the Ute. An annual trade fair at Abiquiú drew many indigenous people to the town, especially the Utes, who traded deer skins for horses and tools. Also, settlers purchased or redeemed captive children from the native people. Bands of Utes often camped for the winter near Abiquiú. But in the 1840s, the peace with the Utes broke down and 1,000 of them came to Abiquiú with a list of grievances and demands. Several Utes were killed in this confrontation. Peace with the Utes was restored in 1849 by the U.S. government,[a] which had recently invaded and conquered New Mexico in the Mexican–American War.[10]

Throughout the 19th century, the residents of Abiquiú struggled to retain ownership of the 16,000 acres (6,500 ha) of land granted them in 1754. In 1894, their right to the land was validated in the United States Court of Private Land Claims. In 1969, additional land, previously designated as National Forest, was returned to the community. Abiquiú is a popular tourist destination, and some Anglo-Americans have settled in the community.[10]

Old Spanish Trail[edit]

Abiquiú was the starting point of the pioneering route of the Old Spanish Trail. This first route, the Armijo Route, was led by Antonio Armijo of Santa Fe, with 60 mounted men and a caravan of pack animals carrying blankets and other trade goods to barter for mules in Alta California. Armijo's caravan left Abiquiú on November 7, 1829, and made the journey to San Gabriel Mission in 86 days, arriving on January 31, 1830. He returned by the same route in 56 days, leaving on March 1 and arriving on April 25, 1830. Armijo documented his route daily, unlike travelers on other routes of the Old Spanish Trail. These reports were very brief, listing dates and stopping places with few other details and no distances recorded. He submitted them to the governor, José Antonio Chaves, and the Mexican government published them on June 19, 1830.[11]


It is in Española Public Schools.[12] The comprehensive public high school is Española Valley High School.

In popular culture[edit]

Abiquiú is a popular location for making movies, especially Westerns (pictured, Ghost Ranch).

The colorful canyons and mountains near Abiquiú have been featured in numerous movies, including Red Dawn (1984),[citation needed] Silverado (1985), Lonesome Dove (1989), City Slickers (1991), The Last Outlaw (1993),[13] Wyatt Earp (1994), The Wild Wild West (1999), All the Pretty Horses (2000), The Missing (2003), 3:10 to Yuma (2007), No Country For Old Men (2007), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), Cowboys & Aliens (2011) and The Lone Ranger (2013),[14] and in the TV series Earth 2.[15]

"Abiquiu" is the title of an episode of Breaking Bad. During the episode, a flashback shows Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis visiting a Georgia O'Keeffe exhibition, presumably the one in Abiquiú.

Nearby points of interest[edit]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ On December 30, 1849, U.S. Indian Commissioner James S. Calhoun signed the Treaty of Abiquiú[9] with leaders of the Ute people.


  1. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Census Population API". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Oct 12, 2022.
  3. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files – Places: New Mexico". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  4. ^ Gonzales, Moises (Winter 2014). "The Genizaro Land Grant Settlements of New Mexico". Journal of the Southwest. 56 (4): 588–592.
  5. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  6. ^ Gonzales (2014), pp. 583, 588–589
  7. ^ Brooks, James F. (2002). Captives and Cousins: Slavery, Kinship, and Community in the Southwest Borderlands. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-80785-382-5.
  8. ^ Gonzales (2014), pp. 588–591
  9. ^ The United States of America and the Ute Nation (December 30, 1849). "Treaty with the Utah". Retrieved March 11, 2022.
  10. ^ a b "Pueblo de Abiquiú – A Genízaro Community". New Mexico History.org. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  11. ^ Hafen, LeRoy R. & Armijo, Antonio (November 1947). "Armijo's Journal". Huntington Library Quarterly. University of Pennsylvania Press. 11 (1): 87–101. doi:10.2307/3816035.
  12. ^ "2020 Census – School District Reference Map: Rio Arriba County, NM" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  13. ^ "The Last Outlaw (TV 1993)". IMDb. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  14. ^ Maddrey, Joseph (2016). The Quick, the Dead and the Revived: The Many Lives of the Western Film. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. Inc. p. 182. ISBN 978-1-47662-549-2.
  15. ^ Gingold, Howard (November 13, 1994). "On the Set : Weathering 'Earth 2'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 17, 2017.

External links[edit]