History of Vlad the Impaler (Dracula)
Dracula became famous after the launch of the novel with the same name, written by Bram Stoker. The clues indicate that the source of inspiration for the author was the reign of Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (1431–1476) who had been nicknamed Vlad Dracul and Vlad the Impaler.
Romania, place of birth for Dracula
Let’s discover together the real facts about the impaler who inspired the story of Dracula, the vampire. Vlad Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler, was born in 1431 in Sighisoara, the beautiful fortress town from Transylvania in a family of rulers. He was the Ruler of Wallachia for 3 times: in 1448, during the period 1456–1462 and in 1476. He had fought for the reign with another family of rulers and also with the landowners from the Northern part of Wallachia. His alliances with the Ottoman Empire and with the Austro Hungarian Empire had proven his abilities of being a good diplomat as well as a great ruler, ready to do everything for his people. Due to the fact that Vlad III had an unusual practice of impaling his enemies, he was also known as Vlad the Impaler (in Romanian – Vlad Țepes).
Vlad Dracul was a leading member of the Order of the Dragon, a well-known knighthood military order, similar to the Knights of Malta and to the Teutonic Order. His father and he, both obtained the name Dracula after gaining this membership. In the beginning, Vlad’s nickname, the Impaler, came from the merchants from the city of Brasov which found him very harsh and severe, and spread this nickname as far as the German lands. Subsequently, his behavior had done nothing but confirm his new name.
During his childhood, he was held hostage by the Ottoman Empire (1442 -1448). This is a very important period of his life because it gave him the opportunity to understand the Muslims’ behavior, values, way of living, weaknesses and the Ottoman fighting tactics. Vlad Tepes then use all this information when fighting against the Ottoman Empire.
In 1462 Vlad Dracul stops an enormous army for those times (120 000 warriors and 175 warships) led by Mehmed II (ruler who conquered Constantinople in 1453). The small army consisting of less than 30 000 warriors and led by Vlad Tepes forces the Turk troops to retreat. All the chronicles of that time had presented this fight as being won by Vlad (Dracula). Tepes had used tactics based on small, fast attacks and ambushes; on June 17, 1462, he organized an attack which remained in history as The Night Attack. In this fight 15 000 Turk warriors were killed. Maybe this cruel tactics of fighting in the night brought the idea of Dracula the vampire. There are no clues to support this title of Dracula the vampire.
Tepes has gained the respect of other kings and rulers from Central Europe for his victories against the Ottoman Empire. During his reign, Wallachia had partially gained its independence. This has been a great achievement. Many countries from the Balkan Peninsula were under the Ottoman dominance. During this period, the Ottoman Empire had a great force, having conquered the famous city of Constantinople in 1453, and reaching the gates of Vienna a few years later.