June 17, 1462: Dracula’s Bloodthirstiness Chases Invaders From Wallachia

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A Brief History

On June 17, 1462, Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad III The Impaler, or simply Dracula, conducted a night raid against his Turkish enemy, Mehmed II who had invaded Vlad’s land of Wallachia (Romania).

Digging Deeper

The name Dracula was given to Vlad meaning the “son of Dracul” as his father was known.  (Dracul means dragon in Romanian.)  Being known as The Impaler was a moniker earned all by Vlad himself, after the fashion in which he forcibly sat his enemies onto large spikes planted in the ground, pointy side up.

Mehmed II had invaded Wallachia because Vlad had failed to pay tribute (taxes or jizya) to the Muslim Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and Mehmed was determined to enforce the tax.  Additionally, as part of the ongoing fighting between the Empire and the resistance minded Wallachians, Vlad had made a foray into Bulgaria and impaled somewhat over 23,000 Turks!

After fighting some minor battles, Vlad tried a night attack on the Ottoman camp in an attempt to assassinate Mehmed.  The attack failed to kill Mehmed, and the irate Ottoman marched on to Wallachia.  On reaching the Wallachian capital of Targoviste, Mehmed and his men found another 20,000 Turks impaled.  The sight of such horrifying death was enough for the invaders and they promptly headed for home, apparently not wanting any part of having a giant spike shoved up their bottoms.

This type of ruthlessness and manner of execution is how Vlad became famous as a barbaric killer, and hence lending his name to the vampire of modern fame.  That, however, is how Vlad is perceived among his enemies.  In Wallachia and even now in modern Romania, Vlad III Dracula is a national hero for fighting the hated Turks.

The Battle With Torches by Romanian painter Theodor Aman. It depicts the The Night Attack of Târgovişte, a skirmish fought between forces of Vlad III the Impaler of Wallachia and Mehmed II of the Ottoman Empire on Thursday, June 17, 1462.

It has been said and debated that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” (authorship itself debatable, and many have said it).  Obviously the assessment of a leader is like that, dependent upon the perspective of the observer.  Question for students (and subscribers): Who can you think of as a hero that others may call a terrorist?  Or vice versa?  Let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Charles River Editors.  Legends of the Middle Ages: The Life and Legacy of Vlad the Impaler.  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013.

Goldberg, Enid A and Professor Norman Itzkowitz.  Vlad the Impaler: The Real Count Dracula (Wicked History).  Franklin Watts, 2009.


About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.