10 February 2007

Wallachia history from Mircea the old to Vlad Dracula

In 1417 Wallachia was still in a good situation. Mircea the Elder has built or enforced many strongholds along the Danube, in the main passing points. The most important of this was Giurgiu, 60 km south of Bucharest. Vlad Dracul mentions that for every stone in the castle his father has paid the equivalent of a block of salt of over 100 kg. The stone was rare in that area, but building the castle shows the importance given by Mircea to that defending point. Was much easier defending on the Danube that in the country. The castle can still be seen today, although it is entirely ruined.
With the strong town of Chilia, at the Danube’s fork, with Braila, Wallachia’s most important Danube harbor, the country confirms its role as guardian of the commercial routes linking Asia with the Black Sea. This was used by Transylvanian and Wallachian traders but also by Venetian traders and those from Genoa.
After Mircea die the throne is held by his son Mihai that was already sharing the throne with his father since two years, for no more than two years, between 1418 – 1420. He was the first ruler to die fighting against the Ottomans.
In 1420 the throne is disputed by the successors of Dan I and those of Mircea the Old, also called Drăculeşti (in Romanians means “the Draculas”). The first were sustained by the Hungarians, while the second ones were helped by the Turks. The aristocracy was divided according to the location of the lands. The ones close to the Danube were sustaining the Turks, because of being afraid. The Turks were not asking anymore for hostages, as a guarantee for Wallachian ruler’s fidelity, but one or two sons of the Principle and of few boyars. Hungaria started using the same system since the 14th century.

Vlad Dracul

After spending his early years as a hostage at the Ottoman or Hungarian court, Vlad II gets from the Hungarian King Sigismund of Luxembourg the mission to defend Transylvania’s south east border. Therefore it settles in Sighisoara, where he runs one of the state’s mints. In 1431 the opportunity to take to Wallachian throne appears when the boyars come to Hungarian king to ask for the nomination of the new Principle instead of Dan II, presented by them as being dead. In the same year 1431, in Nurnberg Sigismund of Luxembourg enthrones declares Vlad as the new Principle of Wallachia. Meantime Vlad is being given the prestigious order of San Ladislaw and that the order of Dragon. This one has been created by Sigismund in 1408, first as a Hungarian one and then as an order of the German empire.

But the throne of Wallachia has already been taken by Aldea, another illegitimate son of Mircea the Old. So Vlad has to wait until 1437, when Aldea Alexander dies and he ask Sigismund to support him take the throne. After taking contact with the main boyars he passes the Carpathians and at 24th of January 1437 he already calls himself “autocrat”, “big voievod and Lord, governor of all HungaroWallachia and duke of the territories over the mountains, Fagaras and Amlas”

In 1438 Murad II attacks Transylvania and he obtains the support of Vlad Dracul and conquers all the secklers’ citadels. In 1440 Iancu de Hunedoara (John Hunyadi) and Nicola Ujlaki are ruling Transylvania together. From that moment forming an ally with the Transylvanian governors was possible, so that in 1442 Iancu de Hunedoara stops two Ottoman armies. Vlad’s army attacks the rest of the Ottoman one; therefore Murad II decides military occupation of Wallachia. Iancu de Hunedoara (John Hunyadi) enthrones Basarab II, son of Dan II on the Wallachian throne.
Vlad is invited at Adrianopoli by Murad and made prisoner. Between 1442 – 1444 Iancu de Hunedoara, helped by the wallachs attacks the Turks even on the foothills of Balkan Mountains. In 1444 Murad helped Vlad Dracul to regain the throne and this one send to the Ottoman court two of his sons: Vlad (the future Dracula) and Radu, aged fourteen or fifteen and, respectively five of six. In October 1444 Mircea, the first son on Vlad is sent to help the Christians at Varna, in the Battle against the Turks. But he retires from the battle under the threatens to see his two brothers dead if continuing. The allies are beaten and Hunyadi barely manages to escape. In 1445 French troops under the command of Walerand de Wavrin enterprise an expedition on the Danube, attacking and taking from the Turks the citadels of Siilistra , Turtucaia, Giurgiu, Rusciuc. In 1447 VLad decides no to accepts the Hungarian coins anymore because of their devaluation. The conflict with Hunyadi starts again and this one passes the Carpathians and kills him and his son Mircea (probably Mircea was buried alive by the boyars of Târgoviste). As Vlad Dracul has a fascinating life I intend to enter more in details about this one.

Vladislav II is enthroned by Hunyandi in Wallachia.
Hunyadi organize a campaign in Moldavia, enthrones Pietro II and obtains from this one the citadel of Chilia. After unsuccessfully attacking Constantinople on sea Murad 2 attacks Chilia, considered “the key to Moldavia, Hungary and all the Danube”. But the Hungarian and Romanian troops manage to resist and set the fire on the Ottoman navies. In September 1448 Hunyadi together with Vladislav’s troops pass the Danube and attacks the Turks. Hunyadi manages to escape once again, after taking a normal soldier’s clothes. Vladislav II will have a big surprise when turned home: on the throne, helped by an Ottoman army, has come Vlad Dracula.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am portraying Ruxandra cel Rau for a theatrical performance, and I have been searching for "in depth" information on Vlad Tepes and the lineage. This is quite a find!

Thank you,