Vlad The Impaler – A Short History

On July 8, 2013 by Tim Newman

Vlad’s Wallachia was virtually crime free due to the absolute terror which he had instilled in every beating heart. He used to leave a gold cup in the town square as proof that no one would dare thieve anything. No surprise, the cup was never nicked.

VLAD-THE-IMPALER holding court


Vlad III Dracula viewed women as tools, as illustrated in the following tale: he was travelling through the countryside and saw a farmer wearing an incomplete garment. Vlad asked why his clothes weren’t finished; the farmer replied that his wife had been too ill to finish them. Vlad thought this was a rubbish excuse and had her dragged from her sick-bed and impaled forthwith.

In 1459 Sultan Mehmed II of the Ottoman Empire sent a couple of envoys to collect “tribute” from The Impaler Lord, i.e. a tax of 10,000 ducats and 500 recruits for his army. Vlad wanted Wallachia to remain independent so was not eager to do anything that would hint that he was owned by anyone. So he killed the envoys by nailing their turbans to their heads. Ouch.

Vlad III The Impaler - Mehmed II Portrait - Sarayi Album

Mehmed II Portrait – Sarayi Album

Mehmed was of course not amused and sent one of his most trusted chaps – Hamza Pasha, along with 1000 cavalry to teach Mr Impaler a lesson for being so naughty. Vlad was ready though, he ambushed them in a narrow pass and impaled them all on wooden spikes with Hamza on the highest spike to denote his rank.

VLAD-THE-IMPALER bran castle


In 1462 Vlad III crossed the Danube disguised as a Turkish Sipahi and smashed up some more Ottoman camps. He wrote in a letter to Corvinius:

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

Mehmed was, of course, more than a little miffed at this and raised an army of around 90,000 men and marched on Wallachia. Vlad had only 30-40,000 but still managed to prevent them crossing the Danube. Vlad III made many small attacks and the exasperated opposition ended up retreating.

Vlad III The Impaler - Vlad Dracula's signature - Arhivele Statului Sibiu, Arhivele Naţionale Săseşti, Urkunden

Vlad Dracula’s signature

Mehmed II wasn’t done with this guy, so he recruited Vlad’s handsome little brother to lead another attack. Vlad was running out of cash so he went to Hungary to ask for more funds, but instead of getting help he got locked in a dungeon for high treason. How long he was imprisoned for is unclear, some say he was there for as long as 10 years. He was only released on the promise that he turned Catholic and married the King of Hungary’s cousin. Obviously, anything is better than a Hungarian dungeon so he begrudgingly accepted.

His brother died in 1475 and Vlad III took the throne for the third time, but he was assassinated just 2 months into the post. His manner of death is not known, but he was found mutilated in a bog after a battle with his old foes the Turks.

Vlad III The Impaler - Romanian Stamp

 Despite being a blood thirsty ruler, he is still revered in Hungary and Romania where he is looked upon as a hero. He was an able voivode (warrior), spoke many languages and was a dab hand on a horse.

So to end this cheery tale here’s a fact for you: Prince Charles is one of Vlad the Impaler’s descendants. How about that? Charles stars in a Romanian Tourist Board promo video and says

The genealogy shows I am descended from Vlad the Impaler, so I do have a bit of a stake in the country.

Good one Charlie old boy.

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