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Murcia (region and former kingdom, Spain)

Murcia (Span. mōōr´thyä), autonomous region and former Moorish kingdom (1990 pop. 1,062,066), 4,370 sq mi (11,321 sq km), SE Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the present province of Murcia. It became an autonomous region in 1982. The area has a generally rugged terrain, except along its coastal plain, and it is one of the hottest and driest regions of Europe, resembling N Africa in climate and vegetation. However, an irrigation system (dating from Moorish times) and several fertile valleys (especially that of the Segura River) permit the growing of large crops of citrus and other fruits, vegetables, almonds, olives, grains, and grapes. Hemp, esparto, and minerals (lead, silver, zinc) are exported. Sericulture was long a traditional occupation. There is some small-scale industry, including a petrochemical center, and coastal tourism is important. The region was settled by the Carthaginians, who founded there (3d cent. BC) the port of Cartago Nova (modern Cartagena). It was taken (8th cent. AD) by the Moors and emerged as an independent kingdom after the fall (11th cent.) of the caliphate of Córdoba. Later occupied by the Almoravids and Almohads, the kingdom of Murcia also included parts of the modern provinces of Alicante and Almería. In 1243 it became a vassal state of Castile, which in 1266 annexed it outright.

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Murcia (city, Spain)

Murcia, city (1990 pop. 322,911), capital of Murcia prov., SE Spain, on the Segura River. The city lies in one of the finest irrigated garden regions in Spain. The silk industry, a traditional occupation for many years, has declined. There are food-processing, tanning, textile, and other light industries. Lead, silver, sulfur, and iron are mined nearby and aluminum is produced. Murcia rose to prominence under the Moors, when it was for a time the capital of the independent kingdom of Murcia (see separate article). The Gothic cathedral (14th–15th cent.) and the episcopal palace are landmarks. Murcia is the see of a bishop and has a university (founded 1915).

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Murcia

Murcia Autonomous region in se Spain; the capital is Murcia. It was settled in c.225 bc by the Carthaginians, who founded the port of Cartagena and the city of Murcia. The Moors captured the region in the 8th century. In the 11th century, Murcia became an independent kingdom, but in the 13th century it fell to Castile. Murcia is an arid, rugged province with desert vegetation. Historically, the region has been associated with the production of silk, concentrated around the city of Murcia. Area: 11,317sq km (4368sq mi). Pop. (2000) 1,149,328.

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Murcia

MURCIA

MURCIA , capital of the former kingdom of Murcia, S.E. Spain. The kingdom was first taken from the Muslims (1243) during the reign of Ferdinand iii of Castile. After the revolt of the Muslims, it was reconquered by James i, king of Aragon, who handed it over to Castile in 1265. Among those who assisted the king in his conquest of the region were Judad de la *Cavallería, who lent money for outfitting the navy in the war against the Muslims, and Astruc (or Astrug) Bonsenyor (d. 1280), father of Judah *Bonsenyor, who conducted the negotiations with the Muslims for their capitulation, and who was also translator of Arabic documents in the kingdom. Jewish officials of the kingdom of Aragon met with Jewish officials of the kingdom of Castile in the town, and in 1292, Moses ibn Turiel of Castile held important administrative positions there. *Alfonso x of Castile (1252–84), son-in-law of James i, allocated a special quarter for the Jewish community, explicitly ordering that Jews were not to live among the Christians. However, at the time of their settlement various Jews received properties in the Jewish quarter and beyond it, in the town itself. A site was also allocated for the Jewish cemetery. Once the regulations of the settlement had been stipulated, an annual tax of 30 dinars was imposed on every Jew. Jews were also compelled to hand over tithes and the first fruits of all their possessions and herds to the cathedral, as was customary in Seville. In 1307 jurisdiction over the Muslims of the kingdom of Murcia was entrusted to Don Isaac ibn Yaish, the last Jew to hold such a function.

Toward the close of the 14th century, several Jewish tax farmers were active in the kingdom and in the town, among them Solomon ibn Lop, who settled in Majorca after 1378 and who was granted the special protection of the king of Aragon. During this period, the Jews of Murcia were noted for their generosity in the redemption of prisoners and for their participation in maritime trade; this was in addition to their usual occupations in commerce, crafts and agriculture. Although there are no details available on how the Jews of the town fared during the persecutions of 1391, the community continued to exist after that time. Some 2,000 Jews earned their livelihood in a great variety of activities. Close mutual relations were maintained with the Christian population, and two of the community elders attended the meetings of the municipal council. Throughout the 15th century, Jews of Murcia were often tax farmers, both in the kingdom of Murcia and in other towns near and distant. In 1488 Samuel Abulafia was taken under the protection of the Catholic monarchs for two years in appreciation of his services to the crown during the war against Granada. Solomon b. Maimon Zalmati printed Hebrew books in Murcia in 1490.

Details on the departure of the Jews from Murcia at the time of the expulsion are unknown but it may be assumed that they left from the port of Cartagena. After the expulsion, debts owed by Christians to the Jews were transferred to Fernando Nuñez Coronel (formerly Abraham *Seneor) and Luis de Alcaláfor collection. Murcia also had Conversos, some of whom remained faithful to Judaism. Conversos even used to come there in order to return to Judaism; one such case is mentioned in the La Guardia trial (1490). At an early date, an Inquisition tribunal was established at Murcia.

bibliography:

Baer, Spain, index; Baer, Urkunden, 1 (1929), index; H.C. Lea, A History of the Inquisition of Spain, 1 (1906), 550; L. Piles Ros, in: Sefarad, 7 (1947), 357; J. Torres Fontes, Repartimiento de Murcia (1960), passim; idem, Los judíos murcianos en el siglo xiii (1962); idem, Los judíos murcianos en el reinado de Juan ii (1965); idem, La incorporación a la caballería de los judíos murcianos en el siglo xv (1966); Suárez Fernández, Documentos, index; J. Valdeón Baruque, Los judíos de Castilla y la revolución Trastamara (1968), 57, 69, 70, and passim.

[Haim Beinart]

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