Castile–La Mancha (English /kæˈstiːl lə ˈmɑːntʃə/; Spanish: Castilla-La Mancha [kasˈtiʎa la ˈmantʃa] ( listen)) is an autonomous community of Spain. Castile–La Mancha is bordered by Castile and León, Madrid, Aragon, Valencia, Murcia, Andalusia, and Extremadura. It is one of the most sparsely populated of Spain’s autonomous communities. Its capital city is Toledo, and its most populous city is Albacete.
Castile–La Mancha was formerly grouped with the province of Madrid into New Castile (Castilla la Nueva), but with the advent of the modern Spanish system of autonomous regions (Estado de las autonomías), it was separated due to great demographic disparity between the capital and the remaining New-Castilian provinces. Also, distinct from the former New Castile, Castile–La Mancha added the province of Albacete, which had been part of Murcia; adding Albacete placed all of La Mancha within this single region.
It is mostly in this region where the story of the famous Spanish novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes is situated – due to which La Mancha is internationally well-known. Although La Mancha is a windswept, battered plateau, it remains a symbol of the Spanish culture with its vineyards, sunflowers, mushrooms, oliveyards, windmills, Manchego cheese, and Don Quixote.