La Mancha (Spanish pronunciation: [la ˈmantʃa]) is a natural
and historical region located on an arid but fertile elevated plateau
(610 m or 2000 ft.) of central Spain, south of Madrid, from the
mountains of Toledo to the western spurs of the hills of Cuenca, and
bordered to the south by the
Sierra Morena and to the north by the
La Mancha includes portions of the modern
provinces of Cuenca, Toledo, and Albacete, and most of the Ciudad Real
La Mancha historical comarca constitutes the southern
Castilla-La Mancha autonomous community and makes up most
of the present-day administrative region.
La Mancha and Cervantes
8 See also
10 External links
The name "La Mancha" is probably derived from the Arab word
المنشا al-mansha, meaning "the dry land" or "wilderness". The
name of the city of
Albacete also has the same origin.
The word mancha in Spanish literally means spot, stain, or patch, but
no apparent link exists between this word and the name of the region.
Pastures and sheep in La Mancha
The largest plain in Spain,
La Mancha is made up of a plateau
averaging 500 to 600 metres in altitude (although it reaches 900
metres in Campo de Montiel and other parts), centering on the province
of Ciudad Real. The region is watered by the Guadiana, Jabalón,
Záncara, Cigüela, and
Landscape of the fields in La Mancha
The climate is cold semi-arid (Köppen BSk), with strong fluctuations.
Farming (wheat, barley, oats, sugar beets, wine grapes, olives) and
cattle raising are the primary economic activities, but they are
severely restricted by the harsh environmental conditions.
Spanish imperial eagle
Spanish imperial eagle can be found mostly in the region of La
La Mancha includes the Sierra de Alcaraz, northern Sierra
Morena, Montes de Toledo and Serranía de Cuenca, parts of
valley, and it is administratively divided among the comarcas of Campo
de Montiel and Campo de ras de Ocaña y
Manchuela to the north.
The inhabitants are called Manchegos.
La Mancha has always been an important agricultural zone. Viticulture
is important in Tomelloso, Alcázar de San Juan, Socuéllamos,
La Solana and Manzanares, in
Ciudad Real and
Villarrobledo in Albacete. Other crops include cereals (hence the
famous windmills) and saffron. Sheep are raised and bred, providing
the famous Manchego cheese, as are goats, including the La Mancha
goat, one of the assumed progenitors of the American
La Mancha goat.
La Mancha includes two National Parks,
Las Tablas de Daimiel
Las Tablas de Daimiel and
Cabañeros, and one Natural Park, Las Lagunas de Ruidera.
Famous Spaniards like the cinema directors
Pedro Almodóvar and José
Luis Cuerda, painters Antonio López and his uncle Antonio López
Torres, footballer Andrés Iniesta, music band
Angelus Apatrida and
Sara Montiel were born in La Mancha.
La Mancha and Cervantes
Don Quixote Inn in La Mancha, Spain
Don Quixote statue at
La Mancha Inn, Spain
Miguel de Cervantes
Miguel de Cervantes described
La Mancha and its windmills in his novel
Don Quixote de La Mancha. Cervantes was making fun of the region,
using a pun; a "mancha" was also a stain, as on one's honor, and thus
an inappropriately-named homeland for a dignified knight-errant.
Translator John Ormsby believed that Cervantes chose it because it was
the most ordinary, prosaic, anti-romantic, and therefore unlikely
place from which a chivalrous, romantic hero could originate, making
Quixote seem even more absurd. However, due to the fame of Cervantes'
character, the name of
La Mancha did become associated worldwide with
Several film versions of
Don Quixote have actually been filmed largely
in La Mancha. However, some, including the 1957 Russian film version,
and the screen version of Man of La Mancha, were not. The 1957 film
was shot in Crimea, while Man of
La Mancha was filmed in Italy. G.W.
Pabst's 1933 version of Cervantes's novel was shot in
Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. The 2000 made-for-TV Don Quixote, starring
John Lithgow as
Don Quixote and
Bob Hoskins as Sancho Panza, was shot
on several locations in Spain, but not in La Mancha.
Manchuela ("lesser La Mancha")
^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Mancha, La". Encyclopædia
Britannica. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
^ Castilla-La Mancha
^ A Noise Within
"Mancha, La". The American Cyclopædia. 1879.
Folk music from La Mancha
Coordinates: 39°24′04″N 3°00′54″W / 39.40111°N