American Indians •  History •  Southwest and Religion

$24.95 paperback

Add to Cart

The Witches of Abiquiu: The Governor, the Priest, the Genízaro Indians, and the Devil

Malcolm Ebright
Rick Hendricks
Illustrated by Glen Strock

The little-studied witchcraft trial that took place at Abiquiu, New Mexico, between 1756 and 1766 is the centerpiece of this book. The witchcraft outbreak took place less than a century after the Pueblo Revolt and symbolized a resistance by the Genízaros (hispanicized Indians) of Abiquiu to forced Christianization.

The Abiquiu Genízaro land grant where the witchcraft outbreak occurred was the crown jewel of Governor Vélez Cachupín's plan to achieve peace for the early New Mexican colonists. They were caught between the Pueblo Indians' resistance to Christianization and raids by the nomadic indio barbaros that threatened the existence of the colony. Thanks mainly to the governor's strategy, peace was achieved with the Comanches and Utes, the Pueblo Indians retained their religious ceremonies, and the Abiquiu Pueblo land grant survived and flourished.

The Witches of Abiquiu is the story of a polarizing event in New Mexico history equal in importance to the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692.


Malcolm Ebright is director of the Center for Land Grant Studies, Guadalupita, New Mexico. He is also the author of Land Grants and Lawsuits in Northern New Mexico (UNM Press).

Rick Hendricks is an historical consultant to the Rio Grande Historical Collections at New Mexico State University. He is also the author of The Navajos in 1705 and was an editor of the six-volume Vargas Project (both UNM Press).

Glen Strock, Southwest folklore illustrator, received a Golden Spur Award from the Western Writers of America for his illustrations in Coyote Tales. He lives in Santa Fe.


" The Witches of Abiquiu authors Malcolm Ebright and Rick Hendricks tell a mind-boggling tale of witches, sorcery, spells, exorcism, curses, and battles with the Devil during the establishment of the Abiquiu Genizaro land grant between 1756 and 1766. . . . this solidly researched and meticulously documented story reveals a time of social conflict and culture clash during one of New Mexico's most interesting historical periods."


La Jicarita News, NM

"Ebright and Hendricks have woven the history of Abiquiu, the story of the Genizaros, the role of witchcraft in New Spain, and the politics of eighteenth-century New Mexico into a story that reads like a well-paced novel."


The Journal of Arizona History

"Not only does this book shed light on little known but important community, ethnic, and ecclesiastical conflicts, it also opens windows on the mid-18th century New Mexico."


Journal of the West

"From time to time a publication comes along that merits special recognition. This work falls into that category. Here we have history at its best with underlying threads of folklore that fit the Land of Enchantment to a t."


New Mexico Historical Review

6 x 9 in. 360 pages 15 drawings, 8 halftones, 1 map