Large but sparsely populated inland province (AB) of southeastern Spain; once marshy. It is named after its capital, which stands on the Canal de Doña Maria Cristina, in the basin of the River Júcar. The town, al-Basita in Arabic, became part of Castile when the tributary Kingdom of Murcia was suppressed in 1266.
The province was formed from the north of the province of Murcia in 1833, and has belonged to the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha since 1983. It is 9th in area of the 50 provinces of Spain, but 39th in population