Vlad Dracula III, also called Vlad the Impaler, was born in Sighiorsa, Transylvania in the year 1431.His father, Vlad II Dracul, was a member of the Order of the Dragon; an order committed to the preservation of the Christian faith against Islamic influences by any means required. In 1438, however, his father betrayed the order and joined forces with the Turks, allowing them to keep Vlad III and his brother Mircea as guarantees of Vlad II’s loyalty.
When, in 1447, Vlad II was killed by John Hunyadi for his Turkish allegiance, Vlad III was released. When he returned to Wallachia to take his place on the throne, he discovered the boyars (a word for a minor nobleman) of Tirgoviste held the throne and had murdered his brother. In 1456, the teenage Vlad finally gained his rightful throne after killing the boyars and the murderer of his father with the help of Turkish cavalry.
Thirteen years later, Vlad began his reign of blood during an Easter feast. He ordered the healthy boyars attending sent off to labor in the construction of a new castle on the Arges river, the unhealthy were impaled in a public display.
In addition to killing his enemies, Vlad also despised the weak. He held a feast to which all his subject were invited, under the rouse of wanting to feed all the poor in his kingdom. When the guests arrived, he had them fed and got them drunk, then asked who among them would like to go without care or hunger forever. Of course they all wanted to, so Vlad boarded up the mansion he used for the feast and had it burned to the ground, ridding himself of all the poor, ill, and handicapped in his land.
Vlad’s main weapon was, not surprisingly, psychological. In the year 1461, Vlad failed to assassinate the Turkish Sultan, who became enraged and vowed to kill Vlad. Vlad, when he discovered the failed plot, knowing he couldn’t defeat the Turkish army, retreated with his army to Tirgoviste. While he retreated, he burned every village he found, dumped the corpses of pigs into the wells to putrefy them, and left fields of impaled villagers.
The sultan, his army demoralized, retreated for a few years, and Vlad’s brother Radu led the Turkish forces to take his throne. Hungarian reinforcements, meant to aid Vlad, instead arrested him. They escorted him back to Hungary where he was interred until 1474. Vlad died in the year 1476, however, shortly after retaking his throne, in a battle with an ottoman lord who claimed the Wallachian throne.
There are many unknown tales of Vlad, which may or may not be true. One such tale was that, in order to win support for his country, Vlad placed a golden cup on a stand overnight unobserved. The next morning, the cup remained. His subjects knew that to take the cup and be caught meant a slow, certain death. Another tale holds that, when three foreign ambassadors came to visit Vlad, they were told to remove their hats. When they refused, their hats were nailed to their heads. A third is that, when Vlad had 30,000 of the merchants and nobles of the city of Barasov impaled, he held a feast among the forests of those people still alive on their poles in order to fully enjoy the experience. He noticed one of his own nobles holding his nose against the stench, and so the man was impaled above all the others.
There are other tales, and other vesions of those tales. For further study, I’ve included a few links below.
Picture of The Impaler. Digital image. Listal. Listal, 2012. Web. 18 Oct. 2012. <http://i2.listal.com/image/4185404/600full-vlad-the-impaler.jpg>.
"Vlad the Impaler (1431-1476)." Vlad the Impaler. Historicaltimeline.com, 29 Oct. 2009. Web. 11 Oct. 2012.
"Vlad Dracula/Tepes - The Impaler." Vlad Dracula/Tepes - The Impaler. Castle of Spirits, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012.
Evolutica. "Dracula." Vlad. Draculas.info, 5 Aug. 2006. Web. 16 Oct. 2012.
Jenkins, Mark. Vampire Forensics: Uncovering the Origins of an Enduring Legend. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2010. Print.
Wilde, Robert. "Vlad the Impaler / Vlad III Dracula / Vlad Tepes." About.com European History. About.com, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012.
Links for Further Research:
http://www.vladtheimpaler.com/vlad_the_impaler_bio_003.htm A site about Vlad in particular, seems to have a few historical sources.
A site about creepy things. Fairly corny, but useful for the tales about Vlad.
A site which gives the history of Vlad the Impaler in an unbiased way. It may have been translated from another language, as the wording is, at times, a bit off.