On This Day In History: Vlad II Known As Vlad Dracul (‘Vlad The Dragon’) Was Born – On August 30, 1400

On August 30, 1400, Vlad II known as Vlad Dracul (‘Vlad the Dragon’), was born.

He reigned from 1436 to 1442, and again from 1443 to 1447. He was the father of Mircea II, Vlad Calugarul (English: Vlad the Monk), Vlad III Dracula/ Vlad Tepes, ‘the Impaler’), and Radu III the Beautiful.

Vlad II received the surname Dracul in 1431, after being inducted into the Order of the Dragon, founded in 1408 by the King Sigismund of Hungary (the later Holy Roman Emperor), as part of a design to gain political favor from the Catholic Church and to aid in protecting Wallachia against the Ottoman Empire.

Vlad II Dracul gained power in Wallachia, upon returning from exile in Transylvania in 1436.

The identity of Vlad’s first wife is unknown. Vlad, having numerous mistresses, also fathered several illegitimate children.

In 1436, Vlad Dracul ascended the throne. For six years Vlad Dracul attempted to follow a middle ground between his two powerful neighbors.

The prince of Wallachia was officially a vassal of the King of Hungary and Vlad was still a member of the Order of the Dragon and sworn to fight the infidel. At the same time the power of the Ottomans seemed unstoppable. Vlad was forced to pay tribute to the Sultan, just as his father, Mircea the Old, had been forced to do.

In 1442 Vlad attempted to remain neutral when the Turks invaded Transylvania. The Turks were defeated, and the vengeful Hungarians under John Hunyadi—the White Knight of Hungary–forced Vlad Dracul and his family to flee Wallachia. In 1443 Vlad regained the Wallachian throne with Turkish support, but on the condition that Vlad send a yearly contingent of Wallachian boys to join the Sultan’s Janissaries. In 1444, to further assure to the Sultan his good faith, Vlad sent his two younger sons–Vlad III and Radu the Handsome–to Adrianople as hostages.

In 1444 Hungary broke the peace and launched the Varna Campaign to drive the Turks out of Europe. As a member of the Order of the Dragon and a vassal of Hungary Vlad Draculwas obliged to join this campaign against the Turks. But rather than join the Christian forces himself, Vlad sent his oldest son, Mircea and hoped  the Sultan would spare his younger sons if he himself did not join the crusade.

The Christian army was utterly destroyed in the Battle of Varna. In 1447 Vlad Dracul was assassinated along with his son Mircea. Mircea was apparently buried alive by the boyars and merchants of Tirgoviste.

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