Estrella Castle, locally known as Castillo de la Estrella or Castillo de Montiel, lies on a hill next to the town of Montiel, in the province of Ciudad Real in Spain.
The first fortification was probably built by the Arabs in the 9th century. It controlled the surrounding lands and a old Roman road passing nearby.
The Arab castle was so strong that when the Christian armies led by the Order of Santiago started to conquer parts of the area from 1213 onwards, they were not able to take the castle. They had to build a siege castle nearby and after a long siege were finally able to conquer it in 1227. The castle and town were then donated to the Order by Ferdinand III of Castile. The Order then made an attempt to restore the castle and repopulate the area. During the remainder of the 13th century their efforts were unsuccessful, due to the fact that resources and attention were mainly focused on the continuing Reconquista and repopulation of other areas.
In the beginning of the 14th century however, the castle gained political, administrative and economic importance. The Order subsequently rebuilt the castle into a formidable stronghold and named it Castillo de la Estrella.
In 1369 the Battle of Montiel was fought in the fields near the castle, between Franco-Castilian forces supporting Henry of Trastámara and Anglo-Castilian forces supporting Peter of Castile, Henry's half brother. The battle ended in a decisive victory for Henry and Peter fled to Estrella Castle were he became trapped. A couple of days later Peter was lured out of the castle and into a trap. In that confrontation Peter was killed by Henry himself. Henry then became Henry II of Castile.
Estrella Castle was inhabited until the early 16th century, but in an increasing state of disrepair. At the end of the 16th century it had fallen to ruin. From the 17th century onwards the castle ruin was used as a quarry for cheap building materials by the locals.
At present La Estrella Castle is being excavated. It can not freely be visited, only during tours. The castle does not show very much architectural detail, so not very interesting.