Vlad II Dracul
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|Vlad II Dracul|
|Prince of Wallachia|
A contemporaneous portrait of Vlad Dracul.
|Birthplace||Principality of Wallachia|
|Died||December 2, 1447|
|Place of death||Bălteni, Principality of Wallachia|
|Predecessor||Alexandru I Aldea
|Wives||Cneajna of Moldavia
An unknown noblewoman
|Royal house||House of Drăculești (branch of the House of Basarab)|
|Father||Mircea the Elder|
Vlad II (d. December 1447), known as Vlad Dracul (English: Vlad the Dragon), was a voivode (English: duke) of Wallachia. He reigned from 1436 to 1442, and again from 1443 to 1447. He was the father of Mircea II, Vlad Călugărul (English: Vlad the Monk), Vlad III Dracula, who became posthumously known by the epithet Țepeș (English: 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 was a member of the House of Drăculești lineage, and son of Mircea "the Old", Voivoide of Walachia, and was known to have murdered members of the rival princely House of Dănești, a not-so-distant relation to his own father's House of Basarab, and gained power in Wallachia, upon returning from exile in Transylvania in 1436.
The identity of Vlad's first wife is unknown. His second wife, Princess (Cneajna) Vasilissa of Moldavia, was the eldest daughter of Alexandru cel Bun and paternal aunt of Stephen the Great of Moldavia.
Of his legitimate children, Mircea was the eldest, his mother's identity being unknown. Vlad Călugărul was the product of Vlad and one of his mistresses, a Wallachian noblewoman called Călțuna. Vlad Țepeș and Radu were products of his marriage with Vasilissa of Moldavia.
Vlad, having numerous mistresses, also fathered several illegitimate children, including another son named Mircea (the name Mircea being a family favorite due to Vlad's father, Mircea cel Bătrân, a popular Wallachian voivode). Radu Florescu documented on page 193 of his book, "Dracula: Prince of Many Faces" that the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I granted a patent of nobility January 20, 1535 to Ladislas Dracula and his brother John, affirming their direct descent from Vlad and making specific mention of "the ancient insignia of Ladislas's family" having been the same as that of the Bathory family--i.e., gules (red) a sword covering three wolf teeth.
Ottoman campaign, ascending to the throne
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In 1431, Vlad Dracul's brother Alexandru I Aldea took the throne from Dan II, the latter having held it on and off since 1420. In 1436, following Alexandru I Aldea's death from illness, Vlad Dracul ascended to the throne.
Mircea II ascended to the throne in 1442, as Vlad Dracul was in the Ottoman court negotiating for support from the Ottomans in an effort to better defend his rule against John Hunyadi, the voivode of Transylvania. Following the battle of Marosszentimre (Romanian Sântimbru) in 1442, Hunyadi forcefully entered Wallachia and forced Dracul to submit. In 1443, Mircea II was ousted from the throne by an invading army led by Hunyadi, and was forced to flee. Hunyadi placed Basarab II, son to Dan II, on the throne. However, Basarab II held the throne for only a short time, losing it within a year to Vlad Dracul, supported by armies of the Ottoman Empire. Vlad Dracul had made a treaty with the Ottomans insuring that he would give them annual tribute, as well as sending Wallachian boys to them yearly to be trained for service in their armies. He also had left his two sons, Vlad Tepes and Radu the Handsome as captives.
Mircea II supported his father, but did not support his politics with the Ottoman Empire. Mircea II led Wallachian forces in a successful campaign against the Ottomans with the full knowledge of his father, but with no support or opposition from him. An able military commander, Mircea II successfully recaptured the fortress of Giurgiu in 1445. However, in yet another treaty with the Ottomans, his father allowed the Ottomans to again have control of the fortress in an effort to retain their support of his having the throne, and in an effort to keep his two captive sons safe.
In 1443, the new King of Hungary, Ulaszlo I (also King of Poland as Władysław III Warneńczyk), launched the Varna campaign against the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Hunyadi, in an effort to drive the Turks out of Europe. Hunyadi demanded that Vlad II fulfill his oath as a member of the Order of the Dragon and a vassal of Hungary: Vlad was commanded to join the campaign but declined.
Pope Eugene IV absolved Dracul of his promise, but demanded that he send his son Mircea II instead (it is likely that Vlad II had originally denied the request in an effort to prevent his sons from being convoked). The Christian army was destroyed in the Battle of Varna; Hunyadi escaped the scene, and was blamed by many, including Mircea II and his father, for the debacle. This marked the start of hostilities between Hunyadi on one side and Vlad Dracul and his eldest son on the other.
In December 1447, boyars in league with the Hungarian regent John Hunyadi rebelled against Vlad Dracul II and killed him in the marshes near Bălteni. Mircea, Dracul's eldest son and heir, was blinded and buried alive at Târgoviște.
- Florescu, Radu R.; Raymond McNally (1989). Dracula, Prince of Many Faces: His Life and His Times. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.
- Bryce, Viscount James (1907). The World's History: South-Eastern and Eastern Europe. London: William Heinemann. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
- Marek, Miroslav. "Vlad II's rather reliable genealogy". Genealogy.EU.
- Wallachian History
- Wallachian Rulers
Alexandru I Aldea
|Prince of Wallachia
|Prince of Wallachia