The southernmost province (A) of the Valencia autonomous community in eastern Spain, named after its capital (Alacant in Catalan), which lies on the Mediterranean. Denia on the coast in the northeast of the province was once the capital of a Moslem kingdom.
The town of Alicante is an ancient one, called Acra Leuka by the Greeks, Lucentum by the Romans and Al Lukant by the Arabs. At the time of the Reconquest it belonged to the Kingdom of Murcia, which submitted to Castile in 1243 and was allowed to remain free as a tributary state. But Murcia was involved in Granada’s incitement of rebellion among the Moslems in Andalucía, and its independence was ended in 1266 by James I of Aragon, who in accordance with the Treaty he had made with Castile in 1244 handed the former Kingdom to Castile, an act of good faith resented by a number of his subjects. In 1304 a new Treaty between Castile and Aragon transferred eastern Murcia to the Kingdom of Valencia, a possession of the King of Aragon: Alicante and the coast, with the inland towns of Orihuela and Jumilla in the southwest and Sax, Villena and Caudete in the northeast. Of these only Caudete is now outside the province; it lies in Albacete, once the north of the Murcian Kingdom.
The province of Alicante was formed from the south of Valencia in 1833.