Vlad I of Wallachia

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Vlad I "the Usurper"
Voivode of Wallachia
Voivode of Wallachia
PredecessorMircea I
SuccessorMircea I

Vlad I (? - 1397 ?) known as Uzurpatorul (The Usurper), was a ruler of Wallachia in what later became Romania. He usurped the throne from Mircea I of Wallachia. His rule lasted barely three years, from October/November 1394 to January 1397.[1] while others suggest May 1395 to December 1396.

Early life[edit]

His origin is controversial. He would have been either a nobleman [2] or the son of Dan I and brother Dan II [3] Other scholars have reservations about establishing any degree of kinship between Vlad I and Mircea the Elder invoking the lack of supporting documents.[4]


It is supposed that the throne takes him after the great Ottoman offensive in the fall of 1394, when the battle of Rovine (dated by several Serbian chronicles on 10th October 1394), but according to the arguable opinion of the Serbian historian Radoslav Radojičić would be was dated 17th May 1395, a theory taken over by some Romanian historians like Anca Iancu). A documentary, he appears at the end of 1395 when Sigismund of Luxembourg, willingly, of necessity, recognized him as the sovereign of Wallachia, blaming his pro-Ottoman policy. In a document dated May 28, 1396 (Hurmuzaki, I / 2, pp. 374-375), Vlad Voievod gives different privileges to the Polish Kingdom, affirming, thankfully, that he owed the throne of the Polish king.

On the outside, the ruler tries to remove Wallachia from the anti-Ottoman coalition and the orientation towards the new European power which, with the annihilation of the Serbian states in the great battle of Kosovo in the autumn of 1389 and the total annexation of Bulgaria in 1393, power of the area. However, it does not break the Christian kingdoms, and the privileges and treaty with Poland made through the Moldovan prince , Stephen I, lead to the conclusion that despite the official non-recognition of the Hungarian kingdom and its allies (King Sigismund called it in an act of 28 December 1395"Vlad, who is a voivode"), Vlad I was a powerful and ruler in his country. This position is confirmed by the coins it has issued. The struggles for his removal from the Ottoman throne and the return of Wallachia to the anti-Ottoman front are going through the whole of his reign. Thus, the expedition of Stephen of Lozoncs in May 1395, also reported in Thurocz's chronicle as mentioned above, ends with a military disaster, when the Hungarian king himself recognized that "Walachia was lost and the Danube fell into the hand of the enemy" (Victor Motogna , Foreign Policy of Mircea the Elder, Gherla, 1924, p. 42). In July 1395, another Hungarian expedition led by Sigismund himself, probably seconded by Mircea the Elder, only succeeds in taking the Turnu fortress leaving a loyal garrison to the king, which disturbed his Wallachian ally.

Throughout the following year, the struggles for the removal of Vlad (still backed by the Turks), continued, being interrupted only by the participation of the King and his vassals, including Mircea the Elder, to the crusade resulting in the severe defeat at Nicopole. During this expedition the territory of Wallachia was bypassed, given the importance of the Wallachian and Ottoman military force stationed in the territory. After the defeat, those who tried to find their way across the Danube, were either ransomed, or executed. This tough reaction from the Wallachian Voivode can also be attributed to the massacres made by the Crusaders among the Bulgarian Orthodox Christians in the conquered cities. On the other hand, a good part of the defeat suffered by Christians is also due to the Serbian Orthodox principles who betrayed themselves on the battlefield, passing by on the Ottoman side simply leaving or refusing to enter into battle. In October 1396, another military expedition headed by Stibor, the Transylvanian voivode, led to the defeat and capture of Vlad, who later died in captivity, which allowed Mircea the Elder to regain the throne in January 1397.

Vlad I was the first Wallachian prince to pay homage to Ottomans as a Vassal, however, this is not surported by any existing documents.


In establishing the paternity of Vlad I, PP Panaitescu[5] starts from an account of the Hungarian chronicler Thurocz, which speaks of a struggle for the reign of Dan helped by the Turks - and Mircea - supported by King Sigismund by the Stefan ban by Lozoncz who is missing in that confrontation - after which the last contender is defeated. The same chronicle mentions that both were of the same blood. Taking into account the theory of Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu, according to which the struggle described was carried out between Dan I and Mircea in 1386, Panaitescu notes that Mircea is still defeated, the Turks have not yet reached the Danube, and Sigismund was not at that time on the throne. Also, from the diplomas of the Hungarian King, it is known that Stephen died in 1395. This last mention made Panaitescu reject also the assumption of C. Litzica, according to which a battle between Michael I and Dan II had been described, thin 1420, and to count the account as a mistake by Thurocz, confusing Vlad with Dan, and not Mihail with Mircea. Although the Hungarian chronicler places this event after 1415, Panaitescu notes that it is not the only chronological reversal of it and gives some examples. Finally, he explains the source of Thurocz's confusion in the fact that Vlad I was the son of Dan I. Gh. Bratianu also shares this theory.[6]Al. V. Diţă qualifies the episode from Thurócz's chronicle as a "nebulous narrative", "an imaginary conflict reminiscent of the theme of" enemy brothers "in folklore" and "fantasy without a historical theme".[7] Thurócz is not aware of the struggle at Rovine, but only of the siege of Turnu fortress in the summer of 1395. The conflict between the two principles "born of the same blood", Mircea ( Merche ) and Dan ( Daan ), is not placed by Thurócz near this event, but more than 20 years later. Campaign and the death of Stephen ( Stephano ) of Losoncz, as described chronicle is a "biography fantastic and erroneous" and no value in dating the entire episode.[8]


  1. ^ Mellish, Elizabeth; Green, Nick. "Walachian voivodes 1247-1859". Eliznik web pages. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  2. ^ Lorga, p. 65; Giurescu, p. 463; I. Bogdan, p. 266; Mályusz, p. 112
  3. ^ PP Panaitescu, Mircea the Elder, second edition, Bucharest, 2000, pp. 310-311 and footnote no. 62
  4. ^ Diţă, pp. 39, 80
  5. ^ PP Panaitescu, op. cit
  6. ^ Gheorghe I. Brătianu, Marea Neagră de la origini până la cucerirea otomană, ediția a II-a rev., Ed. Polirom, Iași, 1999, p. 389
  7. ^ Diță, pp. 6-7
  8. ^ Diță, pp. 6-8, 18


  • ‹See Tfd›(in Romanian) Alexandru V. Diță, „Fuga” și „restaurarea” lui Mircea cel Mare, Roza Vânturilor, București, 1995
  • ‹See Tfd›(in Romanian) Nicolae Iorga, Studii asupra Chiliei și Cetății Albe, București, 1899
  • ‹See Tfd›(in Romanian) Constantin C. Giurescu, Istoria românilor, 1935
  • ‹See Tfd›(in Hungarian) Elemér Mályusz, Zsigmond király uralma magyarországon (1387-1437), Gondolat, Budapest, 1984
  • ‹See Tfd›(in Romanian) Ioan Bogdan, Scrieri Alese, Cu o prefață de Emil Petrovici. Ediție îngrijită, studiu introductiv și note de G. Mihăilă, București, Editura Academiei, 1968
Vlad I of Wallachia
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Mircea I
Voivode of Wallachia
c. 1394/1395-1397
Succeeded by
Mircea I