The young Dracula
and his efforts to obtain Wallachian throne
The sultan decided to help young Dracula the Impaler to take over the throne in a time when Ioan Corvin of Hunedoara drew Vladislav II, the ruling prince of Wallachia, into the battles of Kossovopolje against the Turks.
Taking advantage of the fact that Wallachia's army and ruling prince were far away from home and the weak internal forces couldn't oppose a powerful resistance, the Ottomans and the partisans of the Draculesti family installed young Dracula as ruling prince.
This short first reign constituted another episode of the fight between the noble families of Danesti and Draculesti. But also it was the opportunity of plundering the country, for the Ottoman auxiliary troops who "sustained" young Dracula.
So, the young Dracula, aged almost 18, was signing his first document from the Wallachia's capital, Targoviste. It was a letter to the Transylvanian vice governor, Nicolas, dated the 31th of October 1448 and signed "Vlad, the Wallachian Voivode, your brother in all". The Turkish chronicles also said that Murad II, in his Wallachian campaigns, set the Impaler (Kaziklu), the son of Vlad II to the throne.
But soon, Vladislav II, returned from the battlefield and, having the support of the Moldavian horsemen, took back his throne.
The young prince Vlad began his exile journeys. Well, I'm completely in the dark right now. The historicaly sources tell us about different places where he searched for support in regaining his throne. But they look a little incoherent when specifying the time. Let's see first the general context.
After the defeat at Kossovopolje, Ioan Corvin of Hunedoara nearly lost his life and position. The Hungarian noblemen found a good reason to weaken his power beside the king. They never sustained him, because they didn't love to be governed by a Romanian. But as long as he was victorious against the Turks, the king didn't listen to their complaints.
On the other hand, Vladislav II consolidated his power, playing the role of mediator during the peace negotiations between Ioan Corvin of Hunedoara and the sultan. Also, at the enthronement of Mehmet II, February the 18th 1451, Vladislav II sent a group of boyars (the name of Romanian noblemen) with lavish gifts.
As a result of this diplomatic activity, in the peace treaty, which was signed in 1451 between the Hungarian Kingdom and the Ottoman Empire for five years, it was stipulated that Vladislav II must not be usurped from the throne of Wallachia. If he died, the boyars had to find a new ruling prince. This treaty stipulated, as the Szeged treaty from 1444 did, that Wallachia had double suzerainty: Ottoman and Hungarian.
This condominium showed that none of the neighboring powers could impose their authority on Wallachia. Vladislav II, being in full control, considered the help obtained from the Christian Hungary very poor. So, he inclined the balance in the favor of the Turks. He even took some measures to include the country in the Ottoman monetary system, assimilating the Romanian coin with the Ottoman coin at that time. This initiative of the ruling prince affected the interests of the Saxon merchants from Brasov and Sibiu, who complained to Ioan Corvin of Hunedoara. As a response, the Transylvanian Governor confiscated Vladislav's possessions in Transylvania, the counties called Amlas and Fagaras.
From 1453, when the sultan Mehmet II conquered Constantinople, the Ottoman pressure against the Romanian Principalities became overwhelming. Vladislav II is forced to accompany the Ottoman armies in Transylvania plundering campaigns. In 1456, Moldavia accepted to pay its first tribute to the Ottomans. Ioan of Hunedoara took action rapidly: he convinced Hungary's king, Ladislau V the Posthumous, that the ruling prince of Wallachia had to be replaced. He introduced young Dracula, the son of Vlad II the Dragon, to the Hungarian king.
Mehmet II was preparing himself to attack the Belgrade fortified town, the key of the Central Europe's defense. The battle for the defense of Belgrade was the last victory of the old crusader Ioan Corvin of Hunedoara, who dedicated his whole life to defending Christianity. Victorious on the battlefield, he passed away a few days later, on August the 11-th 1456, struck by the plague.
Meantime, after the short reign in 1448, the young Dracula was in exile for eight years. His first destination was Adrianople (the capital of the Ottoman Empire before 1453). After a few months, seeing that the sultan keeps him only as a second choice beside the Wallachian ruling prince, Vladislav II, he left the Ottoman Empire.
His second stop was at Suceava (the capital of Moldavia), where his uncle, Bogdan II, had been ruling since 1449. Here, he met his cousin (?) Stephen (Stefan), the son of the Moldavian ruling prince, which was known in history as Stephen the Great.
After the assassination of Bogdan II (1451), young prince Vlad took refuge in Transylvania, waiting for the favorable moment to remove his rival from the Wallachian throne. Due to the empowering position of Vladislav II, as a result of the Hungarian-Ottoman truce, he left Hunedoara for Brasov. But Ioan Corvin of Hunedoara, in the respect of the same treaty, didn't like him on Transylvanian territories. So, Vlad took again the road to Moldavia.
The hope concerning the enthroning revived, as the relations between Wallachia and Hungary deteriorated after 1453. Smelling the new fresh air, Vlad returned in Transylvania. He was already there when Mehmet II, seeing in the Belgrade fortress a strategic objective, the key for the Central Europe's gate, decided to attack.
There is a document, dated July the 3rd 1456, through which Ioan Corvin of Hunedoara (traveling to Belgrade and also knowing Vladislav II on the Ottoman side), ordered the inhabitants of Brasov to help young Dracula voivode by sending a contingent, because he "instructed Vlad the Voivode to take care of their protection".
Prince Vlad replaced Vladislav II some time after April the 15-th 1456, the date of the last document that we have from the reign of Vladislav II. But how did the change between the two ruling princes happened? Nobody knows for sure. The chronicles which are contemporary with this event register the violent death of Vladislav II who "perished by sword in the middle of Targsor", a place near the town Ploiesti, where he had built a church.
For the great army-leader Ioan Corvin of Hunedoara, the replacement of Vladislav II by young Dracula meant the recovery of Wallachia from the Ottoman military system and the rebuilding of the military block against the Ottomans formed by Hungary, Transylvania and Wallachia.
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