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People List




1431 - 1476

The regions of Moldavia, Transalvania and Walachia, in the south of ancient Hungary, were populated by people from Northern Greece named the Daci. After a series of wars with the Romans, the region became part of Byzantium (the Eastern Roman Empire) named Dacia. By the begining of the 4th Century, the Huns from central Asia had taken control of the region. The death of Attila the Hun in 453 AD, saw Germanic tribes take control or the region, but only until the Mongol invasion in 1240. After the decline of the Mongol Empire, the native inhabitants decended from their mountain refuges. By 1290, the principality of Walachia had been founded by Rudolph the Black. By 1330, Walachia had gained independance from Hungary.

Vlad's grandfather, Prince Mircea, ruled Walachia from 1386 - 1418. Although he lost a series of battles against the Ottoman Turks, he and his decendants were allowed to continue rulling as vassals of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman (Islamic) Turks, captured the eastern Roman Empire capital Constantinople in 1453. They renamed the city Istanbul soon after.

Prince Mircea had an illegitimate son named Vlad, born around 1390. Educated in Hungary and Germany, Vlad fought for Hungary against the Turks. His bravery in battle saw him named Dracul, meaning dragon or son of devil. Hungary made Vlad Military Governor of Transalvania, a post he held from 1431 - 1435.

In 1437, Vlad killed Alexandru I of Walachia, this allowing him to become Vlad II of Walachia. At that time, he was caught up in the war between Hungary and the Turks.

In 1444, he sent his two youngest sons to Turkey, Vlad and Radu. In 1447, Vlad II and his eldest son were assasinated by the Hungarians. The Hungarians then apointed Vladislav II as Prince of Walachia.

In 1448, the Turks sent the young Vlad, who they named Dracula (son of Dracul) and an army to regain control of Walachia. Although Dracula defeated Vladislav II in the fist battle, Vladislav II regained control a few months later, this forcing Dracula into exile in Moladavia.

Three years later, Vladislav II had become a supporter of Turkey. The Hungarian's then gave their support to Dracula. The death of Vladislav II soon followed.

Vlad Tepes (Dracula) image

Vlad Tepes (Dracula)

Bran Castle image

Bran Castle

Dracula's return to rule saw him establish Trigoviste as his capital. He also had a mountain top fort built at Poenari, its ruins are now known as Castle Dracula.

Bran Castle, where he stayed at times, is also often reffered to as Castle Dracula.

Of his many forms of brutal execution, impaling was his favourite. He liked to impale as many people at one time as possible, even women and children, for minimal reasons. It is said he had the bodies of more than 20,000 hanging outside his capital city. That was the time when he earned the name Vlad the Impaler.

In 1462, Dracula attacked the Turks to drive them out of the region to the south Walachia. With an army three times the size, the Turks drove him back to his capital Tirgoviste. After seeing the 20,000 dead (the forest of the impaled) they were so horrified, they turned back. The Turks then supplied Dracula's younger brother Radu with an army to invade Walachia. Although Radu took control of Walachia, Dracula managed to escape to Hungary.

After the death of Radu in 1474, Dracula, with the help of Transalvanians and Moldavians, managed to recapture Walachia in 1476. Within a few months of regaining control, Dracula was attacked by Turks and killed in battle near Bucharest. It is thought he was killed by his own men, either by accident, or deliberate.

The Turks displayed his head on a pike in Istanbul to prove his death. His headles body was beleived to have been buried at a medievil monastery on an island in Lake Snagov north of Budapest/Romania.

In 1931, archaeologists searching Snagov found a casket partially covered in a purple shroud embroidered with gold. The skeleton inside was covered with pieces of faded silk brocade, similar to a shirt depicted in an old painting of Dracula.

The casket also contained a crown, with turquoise stones. A ring, similar to those worn by the Order of the Dragon, was sewn into a shirtsleeve. The contents were taken to the History Museum in Bucharest, they have since disappeared without a trace.

Snagov Monastery image

Snagov Monastery

Transalvania and Walachia were united in the 20th Century, becoming known as the national state of Romania.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_III_the_Impaler People List