Vlad III reigned three times, in 1448, 1456-62, and in 1476. In the English-speaking modern world, Vlad III is known as Dracula, and is popular for his exceedingly cruel punishments to the opposing forces, or prisoners of war. However, in Romania, he is regarded as a prince with simply a deep sense of justice, a great defender against the Ottoman empire and expansionism, and for his successful defense against them taking Wallachia, buying the rest of Western Europe precious time to defend as well. There is a common misconception that Vlad III was a monster; by medieval standards, he was a hero of his country. He spent considerable time in Bucharest, –that he founded, drafting laws, meeting the ambassadors of foreign countries.
What inspired this obvious hatefulness for all those who would trespass against the livelihood of his kingdom, however? Many people overlook that during Vlad’s first reign, the Ottoman’s had successfully invaded Wallachia, and the Sultan placed Vlad III on the throne as nothing more than a figurehead. Vlad was eventually ousted from the throne, and he managed to escape with his life, to Hungary, where an uncle protected him. John Hunyadi, the rumoured force behind his brother’s and father’s assassination was much impressed by Vlad III’s hatred for the Ottoman’s, and his strength. He made Dracula his advisor, and soon enough, elected him as for a possible chance at the throne. Later, Hungary invaded Serbia to drive out the scourge of Ottomans, and then, at the same time Dracula invaded his native land of Wallachia, freeing everyone from Ottoman rule. John Hunyadi died of the plague, but Vlad III once again became a prince of Wallachia.
From 1456, to 1462, Vlad III, Dracula spent time at universities, and at court, drafting new laws for his people, making public appearances on holidays or important events. He also made generous donations to churches, and universities, to further the education of his people. After the death of Vlad III’s grandfather, Mircea the Elder, in 1418, the country of Wallachia turned into anarchy. Dracula used severe punishments to restore order among his people, determined to repair the country’s economy and society to build up its defenses against another attack. Vlad III ignored old boyars; men who supposedly had sons with “rights” to knighthood. Instead of knighting men based simply on their birth, and relations, Dracula knighted peasants, and men who had proved themselves worthy; regardless of their station.