Dracula is a name that cast much terror in human hearts. Dracula is the legendary vampire created in the fictional novel by Bram Stoker in his 1897. The name has inspired innumerable movies, television show as well as other vampire tales. While Count Dracula might be a fictional character who sucks blood out of humans, his namesake the inspiration behind the novel Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia also known as the Vlad the Impaler had a thirst for blood and penchant for brutally when punishing his enemies.

It is widely believed that Stoker’s Dracula novel was based on the prince of Wallachia which is modern day Romania, Vlad III. Vlad III was born in Transylvania, around 1428 and 1431. His father Vlad II was a noble man who was living in exile. At the time of his birth, Vlads father was inducted into the secretive Christian knight “Order of the Dragon.” The knight ship was founded by Sigismund the Holy Roman Emperor in 1410.  The “Order of the Dragon” was solely tasked with defending Christianity against islam advanced by the Ottoman Turks who were mainly Muslims. The patronymic, dracul denotes dragon and was derived from his father’s membership Vlad II Dracul, in the order of the dragon. It follows then that Vlad II Dracul took the name Dracula to mean son of “son of Dracul,”

In the year 1442, Vlad III and his brother were taken hostages by the Ottomans to ensure that his father remained loyal. 6 years later, Vlad was released partly because of the Ottoman support; he occupied the Wallachian throne after being proclaimed the voivode of Wallachia occupied the throne and reigned as Wallachia prince until 1462.  To consolidate his power during his rule, Vlad had to quell incessant conflicts that had been a common phenomenon between the Wallachia’s boyars. Some legends report that Vlad welcomed a number of boyars to a banquet to only have them stabbed and impaled on spikes once they challenged his authority. Vlad III became brutal in the tactics he deployed against his enemies including mass murder, mutilation and torture. Vlad did not at all shy away from decapitation, skinning and boiling his victims, disembowelment. However, he preferred impalement or driving wooden stakes through his victim’s body and leaving them to die. In 1462, the ottomans invaded Wallachia under Mehmed II but were forced to retreat because of Vlads of tactics in warfare. It is reported that in his efforts against the invaders from Ottoman, Vlad probably had almost 20,000 victims impaled.  Some other gruesome details account that Vlad enjoyed dinning among his victims impaled bodies and even had his bread  immersed in their blood. These are amongst the many gruesome stories that earned Vlad his nickname Vlad the Impaler. A while after impalement of the 20,000 victims, Vlad was forced into exile after a defeat by Mehmet II.  Vlad’s younger brother took over ruler ship of Wallachia when his father was imprisoned.  However, after his brother’s death in 1475 several rulers from neighboring principalities as well as some local boyars favored that Vlad return to power. However, in the same year that he returned to the throne, Vlad died in a battle against the Ottomans.

Some of the gruesome details of Vlad, his adopted name from his father knight ship in the “Order of the Dragon “(Dracula) as well as his place of birth, have convinced many to believe that Vlad the Impaler partially  afforded inspiration for stokers vampires Count Dracula. It’s controversial yet there is high probability that stokers Dracula tales were largely influenced by such tales.