On this day in 1476, three-time Voivode (ruler) of Wallachia (a region of Romania), Vlad III, died. He ruled mainly from 1456 to 1462, the period of the start of Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. His father was a member of the Order of the Dragon (Dracul) which was founded to protect Christianity in Europe. Vlad became known as ‘Dracula’, which means ‘son of the Dragon’ to indicate his father’s title within the Order of the Dragon.
Vlad III spent much of his rule with efforts against the Ottoman Empire and its expansion. He was notorious for the impaling of enemies, which led him to become known as ‘Vlad the Impaler’. The total number of his victims is estimated in the tens of thousands.