Murcia, Spain

A city and province, as well as a former Moorish kingdom included in the modern Albacete and Murcia province in the SE. An early center of Carthaginian colonization in Spain, possibly identified with Vergilia, it was conquered by the Moors in the eighth century a.d. and was made a province of the caliphate of Cordoba. After the fall of the caliphate in the 11th century, it emerged as an independent kingdom that also included parts of the modern provinces of Alicante and Almeria. Later occupied by the Almoravids and the Almohads, in 1243 it became a vassal state of Castile and in 1266 was annexed by Castile. In modern times, the city of Murcia, on the Segura River, was the scene of heavy fighting and much suffering in the Spanish civil war of 1936 to 1939. Notable buildings here include a 14th- and 15th-century Gothic-Romanesque cathedral and episcopal palace, a Moorish granary, and the old city walls.