Murcia, as one of the seventeen autonomous communities that together comprise Spain is also the second smallest. It rests on the southern East Coast, facing to the Mediterranean Sea.
Murcia has also been home to one the largest American Naval bases in Europe for the last twenty years.
This base stands in Cartagena, near the point where Hannibal entered Europe.
By and by it is an ignored province, but hopefully I can enlighten the curious.
The first signs of human presence in the region of Murcia can be traced back to about a million and a half years ago, but unfortunately the only remains we have of these people are a few pieces of silex carved into tools.
Even though there are signs of Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon and Neolithic culture, it was in the Iron Ages that the people of this land showed a real evolutionary boom.
Many remains show that under Iberian hands there was an important development in agriculture as well as intense commercial activity.
Murcia under the Romans
The beginning of the Roman period in Murcia was started in 209 B.C with Carthago Nova’s conquest by Scipio. At this time Carthago Nova was an important political and economic hub of the eastern Mediterranean.
The importance this city gained in the period is due, in large part, to the vast exploitation of the mineral reserves scattered along the Murcian coast.
Meanwhile in the interior of Murcia the Roman invasion only meant the construcion of a few villages here and there. From then until the conquest of Arabs the region suffered a vast political decline.
The Arabic Civilisation
The year 713 brought the Arabic invasion of Murcia under General Abdelaziz who defeated the Hispanic-Visigoth army of Theodomir in Cartagena.
When in 825 Abderraman II founded the city of Murcia as the capital, business flourished and initiated a long peak of economic success.
The Arabs took advantage of the river Segura, which ran near the city, to create a complicated network of dams, aqueducts, piping, streams and windmills. They are the basis for the current watering system in the region, bringing the benefits of the fertile delta of the river closer to home.
Until the second half of the 10th century Murcia did not acquire its independence and had to answer to the Kings of Almeria.
With the independence and all through the 11th century Murcia turned itself into a massive political and economic center yet again. This brought an increase in public constructions and has left them numerous churches and fortresses to this effect.
Things continued flourishing until the end of the 11th century and a all trough the 12th. But pressure from the kingdom of Castille on the borders was heavy and combined with the political instability of Lorca, Mula, Cartagena and Aleda create a period of civil unrest. In 1243 the region of Murcia surrendered to the rule of Castille.
A century later in 1375 when Castille and Aragon sign a treaty establishing the borders of their kingdoms, Murcia fell very close to this division and until 1492 with the surrender of Granada the pressure of this situation is not resolved.
The Modern Ages
With the coming of peace, during the 16th century, a long period of economic and demographic growth begins as cities spring up and flourish troughout the kingdon the 16th century.
As it is becoming apparent, Murcia has always suffered periods of development alternated with ones of decline. In this manner the 17th century is marked with droughts, plagues, epidemics and short food supply.
After the hard interval whilst the War of Succession raged (1702-1713) we can see a new period of recovery,
The amount of land taken over for farming was increased, expanding the areas of water supply and increasing the population of the region, this is the point where commercial progress is most notable.
As in other ‘good times’ the people celebrated this period by building religious buildings. The most important examples would be the finishing of the Cathedral of Murcia, which initially began in 1394, and the Arsenal of Cartagena.
Contemporary history of Murcia
After the so called Golden age in the 19th century a new crisis was brought about by another period of droughts, a problem common to this area of the world, more importantly these droughts were followed by torrential floods and a war against Napoleon. Until the middle of century no improvements to the situation were seen. At this point once again industry expanded to take advantage of the mineral resources available in the area, thie time aided with post-industrial revolution technology.
Even though this could only bring rich rewards at the beginning of the 20th Century Murcia was in a precarious situation, having based its industry on foreign investment and an economy that had not been able to cross the regional borders. With the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera (1923-1929) Murcia is incorporated into the rhythm of the country for good, pushing industry forward with focus on peppers, citric and conserves, and modernising its agriculture.
Murcia is composed of only one province
Murcia, capital Murcia (city).
Population - 1,115,068 (figure taken in 1998)
It has 274 km of coastline and an international airport at San Javier.
It borders Almeria and Granada on the south and Southwest respectively.
On the north it share frontiers with Valencia and on the west it touches Castilla La Mancha.
The eastern border is composed of coastline.
As part of the Sierra Betica, the region of Murcia is made up of a variety of landscapes in which mountains (running from north to south) mingle in with valleys and great depressions and plains.
In the Northwest in contact with the plains of La Mancha is the plateau Jumilla-Yelca currently planted with extensive grapevines.
The coastline itself twists with a rocky pattern, speckled with cliffs and interrupted by small beaches and alcoves. In these small reserves a variety of different ecosystems co-exist, salty waters, humid areas, dunes and beaches.
The importance of these reserves are obvious when you find out that of all the areas that form the national network of Protected Landscapes, you can find half of them in Murcia alone.
Flag and community symbols
The community holiday is celebrated on the 6th of June.
The flag is composed of a red background with four golden towers in the top left-hand corner in rows of two that represent the Kingdom of Castille.
In the right hand bottom corner it holds the seven crowns of the kingdom. The distribution of the crowns is into four horizontal lines, with from the top one, three, two and one crowns on each line.
P.S.: Their football team is rubbish. They recently got promoted to the First Divison (La Liga) for the first time in yonks and now are just about to get demoted again for another trillion years.
Bits and pieces from the various websites that appeared on the first page of a simple search on Google with the word "Murcia".
My memory and a little help from my friends.