With the help of the Turkish army, Dracula seized the Walachian throne. After two months, Hunyadi forced him into exile in Moldavia. Again Vladislav II became Walachia’s prince.
In 1456 Dracula invaded Walachia and took back his throne.
He established his capital at Tirgoviste – you can still see the ruins of his palace there. He is considered an important figure in Romanian history because he unified Walachia and resisted the influence of foreigners.
Dracula’s subjects respected him for fighting the Turks and being a strong ruler. He’s remembered today as a patriotic hero who stood up to Turkey and Hungary. He was the last Walachian prince to remain independent from the Ottoman Empire.
Dracula created a very severe moral code for the citizens of Walachia. You can guess what happened to anyone who broke the code. Thieves were impaled, even liars were impaled. Naturally there wasn’t a lot of crime in Walachia during his reign.
In 1462 Dracula attacked the Turks to drive them out of the Danube River valley. Sultan Mehmed II retaliated by invading Walachia with an army three times larger than Dracula’s. Dracula was forced to retreat to his capital, Tirgoviste. He burned his own villages and poisoned wells on the way so that the Turkish army wouldn’t have any food or water.
When the sultan reached Tirgoviste, he saw a terrifying scene, remembered in history as “the Forest of the Impaled.” There, outside the city, were 20,000 Turkish prisoners, all impaled. The sultan’s officers were too scared to go on – Dracula had won again.
The Turks and boyars helped Dracula’s little brother Radu fight against Dracula. Dracula’s wife was so frightened that she threw herself from the upper battlements. The Turks seized the castle, but Dracula managed to escape through a secret tunnel and flee from Walachia.
The new king of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus imprisoned him in a tower. Dracula remained in Hungary for twelve years.
But he was still the same old Dracula. He impaled rats and birds for fun. Once a thief broke into his house and a Hungarian captain followed him to arrest him. Dracula didn’t kill the thief – he killed the officer. Why? Because the officer was a gentleman, and should have known not to enter a house uninvited.