Vlad the Impaler became King of Wallachia after his father and older brother were brutally killed in 1447, History.com reported, and Dracula ascended to the throne in 1456. Historians said Vlad maintained his iron-fisted rule on Wallachia through "torture, mutilation and mass murder, according to Britannica.com.
Vlad Tepes killed his enemies and the people of his kingdom who displeased him in the most terrifying ways imaginable: beheadings, disembowelment, boiled or skinned alive.
But he earned his barbaric nickname after one of the worst mass killings of the time. When at war with the Ottomans in 1462, he ordered 20,000 captured Turks impaled on wooden stakes, in an act of such stunning brutality that it caused the Turks leader to retreat from the battlefield.
It’s believed the real-life Dracula was eventually killed years later in another battle against the Ottomans, but Vlad the Impaler’s name has lived on in infamy and fear over the many tortuous deeds he perpetrated in his lifetime.