Campo de Criptana, Ciudad Real
Tilting at windmills
Strangely, the history of Campo de Criptana actually began before the sixteenth century. It’s modern day aspect wouldn’t, however, lead you believe that as the town, a typically Manchegan municipality, is famous for its windmills located principally on the Sierra de los Molinos.
This was the place that inspired Cervantes to pen the globally celebrated battles of Don Quixote against the Giants and, as early as 1575, Campo de Criptana was recorded as the only town in the four provinces of La Mancha with so many windmills, a total of 34, more than all the other towns of the region.
But the history of Campo de Criptana dates back thousands of years to the Neolithic when the search for metals and its consequent cascade of invasion began. The Greek historian Polibius, commenting in the second century B.C. writes of incursions by the Carthaginian army and these were followed by the Romans, the Visigoths and the Vandals who all strode, fought and died across these lands. And, after the successful incursion into Iberian by Tariq ibn Ziyad, he of Gibraltar fame, in 711 A.D., the influence of Arabic culture spread across the Iberian Peninsula touching all corners of Al Andaluz.
Blood has often bathed the soil around Campo de Criptana and in the 16th century, the town passed to the knights of the Order of Santiago, forming the centre of a larger estate.