An Ancient Kingdom Of Spain, bounded N. W. and N. by New Castile, N. E. and E. by the province of Valencia and the Mediterranean, S. E. and S. by the Mediterranean and Granada, and W. by Jaen; area, 10,-450 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 660,040. The coast from the confines of Granada to Cartagena is rocky and precipitous, but eastward from that port it is in general low and sandy. The surface is mostly mountainous. The principal ranges are the Sierra de Sagra, the Sierra de Alcaraz, and the Sierra de Segura. The chief rivers are the Segura, Mundo, and Sangonera. Where it can be irrigated the soil is often of exuberant fertility. The productions are wheat, barley, maize, rye, rice, flax, vegetables, and superior fruit, particularly pomegranates, melons, oranges, and lemons. Lead, silver, sulphur, and nitre are found. The climate is mild, and snow and ice are almost unknown. Murcia was conquered by the Moors in 712, and made a dependency of the caliphate of Cordova. In 1239 Mohammed Ali or Hudiel made it an independent kingdom, but within a few years it was united to Castile. It was divided in; into the provinces of Murcia and Albacete. The chief port is Cartagena. II. The modern Murcia comprises the southern part of the ancient province, bounded S. E. by the Medi-terranean and drained by the Segura and its tributaries; area. 4478 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 439,067. The S. and N. W. portions are mountainous, and much of the soil is sterile, but near the rivers are some rich tracts whose prolific vegetation has acquired for them the name of huertas or gardens.
In the southeast are mines of lead and silver.
A City, capital of the ancient and modern province, on the N. bank of the Segura, 220 m. S. E. of Madrid; pop., including suburbs, about 110,000. It is near the centre of the beautiful valley called Huerta de Murcia, and was formerly fortified'. It is the residence of the bishop of Cartagena, and has 11 parish churches, a theological seminary, a college, several other learned institutions, an academy of music, a public library, and a botanic garden. The cathedral tower is very imposing, consisting of three quadrangular stages, each diminishing perimetrically and crowned with a dome. It is ascended to the top of the first stage by an inclined plane 320 paces long and of gradually increasing steepness. From the first stage a narrow stairway of 210 steps leads to the summit of the tower. The chief manufactures are earthenware, leather, coarse linen, silk thread, silks and baskets, mats cordage, and sandals. Murcia was founded by the Moors and during their supremacy was one of the seven metropolitan cities of Spain. It submitted to the Spaniards in 1243. In 1810 it was plundered by the trench under Sebastiani.