The history of the windmill is quite uneven. It’s interesting how the windmill, known from ancient times, reached a peak during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, then declined in favour of steam turbines and other thermal energy converters. However, during World War I and World War II, windmills were resurrected again in countries like Denmark, Britain or Germany, because of cut-offs in fuel supply. Nowadays, wind power is once more gaining momentum, although it’s not used to grind grains but rather to generate electricity. There is even a science called molinology (I had no idea about this until yesterday) and an international organization that deals with related issues. The International Molinological Society (TIMS) was founded in 1965 in Portugal by scientists and other people interested in windmills. The next TIMS symposium will take place in 2015, in the city of Sibiu, Romania.
Portugal is full of these ruined windmills. A few of them have been transformed into hotels, like this one: