Years of captivityUnder the Ottomans, Vlad and his younger brother were tutored in science, philosophy and the arts — Vlad also became a skilled horseman and warrior. Wallachia had no clear system of inheritance to the throne. In some cases, the pole was rounded, not sharp, to avoid damaging internal organs and thereby prolong the suffering of the victim. Located in Transylvania, Romania, it is a major tourist attraction.

Elizabeth Báthory: Mass Murderer or Victim? His 1456 battle to protect his homeland was victorious: Legend holds that he personally beheaded his opponent, Vladislav II, in one-on-one combat. Vlad's victories over the invading Ottomans were celebrated throughout Wallachia, Transylvania and the rest of Europe — even Pope Pius II was impressed. He ordered people to be impaled on stakes, and his atrocities were inflicted on anyone who upset him, no matter where they came from. Vlad was a voivode (prince) of Walachia (part of modern Romania). Biography of Vlad the Impaler, Inspiration for Dracula. …acts of the 15th-century prince Vlad III Dracula of Transylvania, also known as “the Impaler,” and Countess Elizabeth Báthory, who was believed to have murdered dozens of young women during the 16th and 17th centuries in order to bathe in or possibly drink their blood so as to preserve her…, …in a signed document of Vlad III (the Impaler), the ruler of Walachia. Around 1460 or 1461, having secured independence from Hungary, regained land from Transylvania, and defeated his rival rulers, Vlad broke off relations with the Ottoman Empire, ceased paying his yearly tribute, and prepared for war.

By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, Biography of Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, The Sultans of the Ottoman Empire: 1300 to 1924. It was during this period of rule that he committed the atrocities for which he was best known. Much of his recent fame has to do with the use of Vlad’s sobriquet "Dracula." Vlad regained his seat in 1476 but was killed in battle the same year. Instead, some of Vlad’s followers fled to the Ottomans to ingratiate themselves to Radu when it became apparent that Vlad’s army could not defeat the invaders.

The Ottomans were expanding into eastern and central Europe, bringing with them a rival religion to that of the Catholic and Orthodox Christians who had previously dominated the region. That year he escaped Ottoman capture only to be intercepted by Hungarian forces and imprisoned by Matthias I of Hungary. Many leaders have come and gone, but Vlad remains a well-known figure in European history. Original article on LiveScience. Instead, the previous incumbent’s children could equally claim it, and one of them was usually elected by a council of boyars. Wilkinson delves into the history of the region, mentioning the notorious warlord Vlad Tepes. In 1476 Vlad was ambushed by an Ottoman patrol and killed. Vlad returned in 1448, having been informed of the assassination of his father and older brother at the hands of Walachian boyars (nobles) the year before. Vlad III (between 1428 and 1431–between December 1476 and January 1477) was a 15th-century ruler of Wallachia, an east European principality within modern Romania. Vlad may have been fulfilling a long-term plan for independence, falsely buoyed by his success against his Christian rivals, or planning an opportunistic attack while the sultan was east. Situated between Christian Europe and the Muslim lands of the Ottoman Empire, Transylvania and Wallachia were frequently the scene of bloody battles as Ottoman forces pushed westward into Europe, and Christian Crusaders repulsed the invaders or marched eastward toward the Holy Land. Bran Castle is known more as Dracula's castle. [8 Grisly Archaeological Discoveries]. Vlad terrified the Ottomans with a field of impaled people, but Vlad was defeated and Radu took the throne. [7 Strange Ways Humans Act Like Vampires]. Few names have cast more terror into the human heart than Dracula. Surrounded by enemies that included the Hungarians, the Ottomans, his younger brother, and Walachian nobility, Vlad employed extremely cruel measures to inspire fear in those who opposed him. Though he was now ruler of the principality of Wallachia, his lands were in a ruinous state due to constant warfare and the internal strife caused by feuding boyars. However, his rule has been misinterpreted. In 1453, the city of Constantinople fell to the Ottomans, threatening all of Europe with an invasion. It was from this chaos, and a patchwork of local boyar factions, that Vlad sought first the throne, and then to establish a strong state through both bold actions and outright terror.

Vlad then embarked upon the first of a lifelong series of campaigns to regain his father’s seat. There is little information on what exactly happened during this period, but Vlad went from the Ottomans to Moldova, to a peace with Hunyadi, to Transylvania, back and forth between these three, falling out with Hunyadi, renewed support from him, military employment, and in 1456, an invasion of Wallachia—in which Vladislav II was defeated and killed. During one of his many successful campaigns against the Ottomans, Vlad wrote to a military ally in 1462, "I have killed peasants, men and women, old and young, who lived at Oblucitza and Novoselo, where the Danube flows into the sea … We killed 23,884 Turks, without counting those whom we burned in homes or the Turks whose heads were cut by our soldiers ...Thus, your highness, you must know that I have broken the peace.". Omissions? Vlad was not, as is sometimes assumed, named after this. The Christian parts of Europe were moving toward a crusade against the Ottomans. War resulted, during which Vlad supported a Moldovan noble who would both later fight him and earn the epithet "Stephen the Great."

He earned his nickname by impaling his enemies on stakes. Verbal attacks on Vlad were spreading while he was still very much alive, partly to justify his imprisonment and partly as a result of human interest in his brutality. Vlad was a minor player during the early period of Ottoman domination of what is today Romania. However, he was soon assailed by plots from Hungary, who changed their support to a rival voivode. Vlad was the second son of Vlad II Dracul. Follow us @livescience, Facebook and Google+. What followed were 29 separate reigns of 11 separate rulers, from 1418 to 1476, including Vlad III thrice. During the communist era in Romania, historians outlined a vision of Vlad as a socialist hero, focused largely around the idea that Vlad attacked the excesses of the boyar aristocracy, thus benefiting the ordinary peasants. Vlad's older brother, Mircea, was tortured, blinded and buried alive.

He was reportedly decapitated, and his head was sent to the sultan in Constantinople as a trophy.

He ruled on three occasions—1448, 1456 to 1462, and 1476—and experienced new fame in the modern era thanks to links to the novel "Dracula.".

The rest of Vlad's family, however, fared even worse: His father was ousted as ruler of Wallachia by local warlords (boyars) and was killed in the swamps near Balteni, Wallachia, in 1447. His opponents included the boyars as well as his younger brother, who was supported by the Ottoman sultan. The response was the sultan invading with his army in 1462, aiming to install Vlad’s brother Radu on the throne. Though Vlad is widely credited with bringing order and stability to Wallachia, his rule was undisputedly vicious: Dozens of Saxon merchants in Kronstadt, who were once allied with the boyars, were also impaled in 1459. Vlad was a great tactician, always taking advantage of the surroundings to full extent, because he was always outnumbered by his enemies (especially the Ottomans, about 7 to 1 on average). After an eight-year struggle, Vlad again claimed the voivodate. His sobriquet Dracula (meaning “son of Dracul”) was derived from the Latin draco (“dragon”) after his father’s induction into the Order of the Dragon, created by Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund for the defense of Christian Europe against the Ottoman Empire. This book is a short history of Vlad III Dracula, aka Vlad Tepes, aka Vlad the Impaler produced by Hourly History. Some scholars have speculated that Stoker’s conversations with a noted historian, Hermann Bamburger, may have provided him with information on Vlad’s violent nature, though there is no concrete evidence to support that theory. Radu had lived in the Empire for a long time and was pre-disposed to the Ottomans; they did not plan on establishing direct rule over the region. But Vlad also earned a much darker reputation: On one occasion, he reportedly dined among a veritable forest of defeated warriors writhing on impaled poles. What is impaling?Impaling is a particularly gruesome form of torture and death: A wood or metal pole is inserted through the body either front to back, or vertically, through the rectum or vagina. In 1476, while marching to yet another battle with the Ottomans, Vlad and a small vanguard of soldiers were ambushed, and Vlad was killed and beheaded — by most reports, his head was delivered to Mehmed II in Constantinople as a trophy to be displayed above the city's gates. It's not known whether tales of Vlad III Dracula dipping his bread in the blood of his victims are true, but stories about his unspeakable sadism swirled throughout Europe.

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