Basarab I of Wallachia - founder of the House of Basarab and ancestor of Vlad III Dracula

Basarab I of Wallachia ~

Basarab I of Wallachia, great-great-great grandfather of Vlad III Dracula.
Basarab I of Wallachia, great-great-great grandfather of Vlad III Dracula. | Source

Basarab I Voivode of Wallachia, Reign 1310 - 1352 ~

Vlad III Dracula was Voivode (prince) of Wallachia during the 15th century. Going much further back in time, we find his great-great-great grandfather, Basarab I of Wallachia, the founder of the House of Basarab, who established the Principality of Wallachia.

Ivanco Basarabai was born sometime around 1310. He was the son of Thocomerius of Wallachia, his mother is unknown. Not much is known about Thocomerius, other than he was possibly a local leader, monarch or potentate. He was obviously of the line of Basarab. There is no written record of Thocomerius that came down in history, except for a short mention by Charles I of Hungary, who wrote in a diploma about Basarab:

"the schismatic Basarab, son of Thocomerius."

So, it seems that the inherent strong leadership abilities of the men in the family descended from Thocomerius.

The name Basarabai most likely originally meant "father ruler", which is denoted by basar (to rule) and the 'aba' (father) at the end -- the name originated from one of the Turkish languages. The 'ai' on the end of the name was dropped in the Romanian language.

It was during the time when Hungary was at war with the Orthodox states of the Balkan Peninsula that Basarab apparently began to rise in power. He became a vassal (pledged homage) to King Charles I Robert of Hungary. However, Charles was not happy with Basarab and accused him of unauthorized occupation of crown territories. King Charles, intending to reclaim his authority entered Wallachia with a huge army, where the two leaders came against each other at Posada.

Basarab came into notable power in the Battle of Posada. The battle lasted for three days (November 9, 1330 to November 12, 1330). Basarab led the Wallachian army, which was small compared to the Hungarian army of 30,000 soldiers led by Charles I. Basarab defeated the much larger Hungarian army, thereby giving Wallachia independence and freedom from paying homage to the feudal lord, Charles I Robert.

Battle of Posada ~

Battle of Posada
Battle of Posada | Source

Battle of Posada ~

Basarab knew that his small army of foot soldiers with their bows and arrows and peasants with whatever weapons they had, was not strong enough to fight in an open battlefield with Robert's huge army of trained soldiers on horseback -- so he took his army higher up into the Transylvanian Alps. Basarab had offered his own son as hostage to Charles, plus silver and handed over the fortress of Severin to Charles, who had previously captured the fortress, but Basarab had taken it back under siege.

Charles' councilors strongly advised him to accept the offer Basarab had made to stop the hostilities, but the king was too stubborn and did not take their advice.

Charles did not even take time to supply his own troops with adequate supplies, nor did he have any well-thought out plans of attack. He gave chase to Basarab up into the mountains, which was a mistake, for Basarab and his small army were all too familiar with the mountain terrain. After several days of searching in the Carpathian Mountains, with his troops starving and losing energy, Charles agreed to a truce if Basarab would lend some guides to lead the lost Hungarian army out of the mountains. Basarab, seeing an advantage, sent some guides down to Charles.

Rather than leading Charles' army out of the mountains, the guides led them into an ambush in a narrow ravine, where Basarab and his army were ready. The kings army was trapped when stones were rolled down to block them in the ravine as the Wallachians attacked from all sides with arrows and large rocks thrown down upon the Hungarians.

Seeing no way of defeating Basarab, Charles gave his royal clothes and insignia to one of his captains in exchange for a set of civilian clothes and made his escape. Charles left behind his army, which was already mostly destroyed, including many nobles that had been killed.

King Charles fleeing from the Battle of Posada ~

King Charles at the Battle of Posada
King Charles at the Battle of Posada | Source

Basarab's victory saved Wallachia, although the two states were still in tense relations until 1344, when Basarab sent his son Alexandru to resolve and re-establish relationships with the Kingdom of Hungary. The disputes were eventually solved and Wallachia remained an independent state under the rule of Basarab.

Coat of Arms ~

Coat of Arms of the House of Basarab
Coat of Arms of the House of Basarab | Source

House of Basarab ~

From the mid 1300s on, the name Basarab was well-known throughout Hungary, Serbia, Moldavia and Poland.


The House of Basarab, was founded in 1310 by Basarab and became the first ruling dynasty of Romania -- thus, the first line of Princes for Wallachia was established from the family of Basarab and the lineage was strong enough to establish the Principality of Wallachia.


After the death of King Charles in 1342, his son, Louis I was crowned King of Hungary and Croatia.


Louis launched new offensives against Wallachia in 1343 and again in 1345 and Basarab again lost the fortress of Severin.


Basarab's son, Nicolae Alexandru, eventually pledged homage to Louis I.



Nicholae Alexandru ~

Nicolae Alexandru, Voivode of Wallachia
Nicolae Alexandru, Voivode of Wallachia | Source

Nicolae Alexandru, Voivode of Wallachia, Reign 1352 - November 1377 ~

Alexandru had been an associate ruler with his father, Basarab. In 1352, when Basarab died, Alexandru became the sole Voivode of Wallachia.

The first Eastern Orthodox Metropolitan seat in Wallachia was founded by Alexandru in 1352. Although he initially resisted to become a vassal of the Kingdom of hungary, Alexandru yielded to Louis I of Hungary in 1354. As a vassal, Alexandru gave recognition to the right of the Roman Catholic Church in his Principality and missions were established. Saxon traders from Brasov were given privilege to enter and trade in Wallachia and no duty fees were charged.

The return of the fortress of Severin to the Wallachian state was agreed upon between the King of Hungary and Alexandru.

After the reign of Alexandru, the House of Basarab split between the Draculesti and Danesti lines. The House of Draculesti was founded by Vlad II Dracul and the House of Danesti was founded by Dan I.

Vladislav I ~

Vladislav I, Son of Nicolae Alexandru, half brother to Radu I, and Great Grandfather of Vlad III Dracula
Vladislav I, Son of Nicolae Alexandru, half brother to Radu I, and Great Grandfather of Vlad III Dracula | Source

Vladislav I, Voivode of Wallachia, Reign November 1364 - 1377 ~


Vladislav I was one of the sons of Nicolae Alexandru. Radu I was the other son and half brother to Vladislav I.


In the beginning of his rule, Vladislav I paid homage to Ivan Alexander, the Bulgarian Emperor, then in 1369 became vassal to Louis I of Hungary in exchange for Severin and two other cities, Amlas and Fagaras.


When Vladislav died in 1377, Radu I, became Voivode of Wallachia.



Radu I, Voivode of Wallachia, Reign c. 1377 - c. 1383 ~

Radu I was the son of Nicolae Alexandru and the Great Grandfather of Vlad III Dracula. Radu was the sole Voivode of Wallachia after his half brother, Vladislav I died in 1377.

There is quite a bit of discrepancy and uncertainties regarding Radu and events during his reign. He is even thought of by many historians as the mythical Radu Negru who was a legendary voivode of Wallachia in early medieval times, around 1290, nearly 100 years prior to the reign of Radu I. The legend states that Radu Negru was the founder and first ruler of Wallachia. However, in historical fact, it was Basarab I who is credited with the political independence of Wallachia as a state after his great victory over King Charles I of Hungary in 1330, at the Battle of Posada. So, it is obvious that Radu Negru was a mythical folk hero who over time blended with real rulers.

Tensions and conflicts with Hungary still existed during Radu's reign. There were armed conflicts, but no clear details emerge about them. Wallachia, along with Serbia, Moldavia, and Bulgaria were vassals King Louis the Great of Hungary. Radu evidently resisted Louis, for in July and August of 1377, Louis launched an expedition to bring Radu more under control. The Venetian Republic has records of the Wallachian voivode (obviously, Radu I) ordering fully equipped armor for several thousand soldiers. A battle ensued and the Wallachians were reportedly defeated, but, that is not certain, for there is no mention of defeat, or a battle in Hungarian internal documents. In November of 1377, Louis was still trying to subdue Radu and gain possession of Wallachia, so, apparently the Wallachians were not defeated in any battle prior to then.

During Radu's reign he had two Catholic cathedrals and a monastery built, and financed religious establishments and events, making him one of the most active rulers of Wallachia.

It seems a lot of history about Radu during his reign is murky and confused. Even the date of his death and the location of his tomb remains uncertain.

Radu's successor was Dan I, his son, who ruled for just three years, 1383 - 1386. Mircea I, or Mircea the Elder, was the son of Radu I, brother of Dan I and Grandfather of Vlad III Dracula. Mircea took over sole rule of Wallachia from 1383 - 1418.

~ ~ ~ ~

Radu I ~

Radu I and Lady Ana in a mural representation on the walls of Curtea de Arges Cathedral.
Radu I and Lady Ana in a mural representation on the walls of Curtea de Arges Cathedral. | Source

Note from author ~

Thank you for reading my article. Your opinions are important to me and let me know your interests. This helps me to offer more of your favorite subjects to read about. Your time and interest are very much appreciated. I hope to hear from you in the comments section below.

I write on several different subjects, all evergreen articles. You can read more about me and see more articles I wrote by clicking on my name by the small picture of me at the top right of this page.

Blessings and may you always walk in peace and harmony, softly upon Mother Earth.

Phyllis Doyle Burns - Lantern Carrier, Spiritual Mentor
~ ~ ~ ~

© 2014 Phyllis Doyle Burns

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Comments 26 comments

DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

A well-informed hub and with such lovely photos. I enjoyed another learning lesson from you.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Devika. I am so glad you are enjoying my Wallachia hubs. I have two more to publish. This history fascinates me, and I am finding really good photos which makes me happy. Thank you for reading and commenting, I appreciate it.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Very interesting hub Phyllis. Your hubs are always learning experiences. Charles I Robert of Hungary was both stubborn and a coward it seems, and Basarab a great tactician. Voted up.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

A wonderful hub Phyllis and your obvious hard work having certainly paid off here.

Eddy.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Well done, Phyllis! You brought history back to life with this one. Have you tried a fictional account of those days?


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Jodah. Thank you so much for your constant support and kind words. It makes me feel really good when I am told my hubs are educational, for history is so interesting to me and I am often wandering through time, trying to shed light on the the past (some of my friends call me a Lantern Carrier) I so appreciate your visits and comments. Thanks again.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Will -- such a wonderful compliment you give me, thank you. OMGosh -- I have been considering some fictional stories on this time period, funny you mention that. It will be fun to do that. Thanks again, Will, I always appreciate your visits and thoughts.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Eddy. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. It is always a delight to hear from you. Take care.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"OMGosh -- I have been considering some fictional stories on this time period, funny you mention that. It will be fun to do that."

Knowing your topic history is essential to good fiction. I'm sure you would do very well!


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Thank you, Will, for your encouragement and support, which is very valuable to me coming from such a fine writer as you.


sheilamyers 2 years ago

I love your historical hubs. This one was very interesting and about a part of history I haven't read about. Thanks for making my job to learn one new thing a day easier.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

If I can support you in any way, Phyllis, just let me know. I'd be happy to help.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Sheila, You are most welcome. hahaha I am so happy to make your job easier. I am also very glad you enjoy my historical hubs -- I really enjoy writing them. Thanks for your visits and always kind comments, Sheila.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Will, I so appreciate that. Thank you very much -- I will remember.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

this little series? Is so educational my dear Phyllis, you really pack in the history... I respect the hard work and the results are fine hubs..bless you


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Ahhh! and bless you my friend Frank. Yes, it is part of a little series. Vlad III, then highlighting a few other rulers in his lineage. I believe I have at least two more to publish -- if I can cut it down from the lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng line of Basarab. Thanks, as always, Frank for being here for me.


CarolynEmerick profile image

CarolynEmerick 2 years ago

What an interesting topic! I find this era and region so fascinating and knew nothing of Vlad's ancestors before. Thank you for providing this info for us :-) Upvoted and shared


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Thanks, Carolyn. Glad you found it interesting. Vlad III came from a long line of rulers. They were a very interesting family for sure. Thanks for the votes and sharing -- I appreciate that.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

Such wonderful work you do Phyllis on these history lessons; always so thorough and interesting. Up and sharing!


retief2000 2 years ago

Thank you for a wonderful article. I have a good friend who is Romanian and now I have a means to impress her with my knowledge. Your article has stirred my interests and I am far more likely to learn more about Romanian History, on my own.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Thank you, Jackie, for such a wonderful compliment. History always was a strong subject for me, even in school when I was a kid. Glad you enjoyed reading this one. I appreciate the vote and share, thanks.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi retief2000, nice to meet you. I am happy to know this article helped with your knowledge of Romanian history. Thank you so much for letting me know that. You might also enjoy my other hub on Vlad III Dracula, the most famous ruler of Wallachia. He was an amazing person. Enjoy taking in Romanian history, it is really very interesting.


Anne Harrison profile image

Anne Harrison 2 years ago from Australia

A fascinating and detailed hub. I know so little of this time in history. Voted up, and I look forward to reading more


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Anne. So glad you enjoyed reading about Basarab. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. Thanks for the vote, too.


A. Basarab 2 years ago

Thanks Phyllis! A comprehensive presentation of historical data that most people don't know. Especially considering the Catholic church's point of view and the subsequent distortions of the historical events.

There are obviously real events that triggered the stories about some of the HB members, but they are probably not true, except maybe some regarding the Ottomans. I suspect them to be true due to very radical religious views. And not only :)

As in today's world, it is very important how the press of the time (e.g. Catholic church) presented the events. For what purpose and towards what outcome. To clarify for the ones that don't know, the Basarabs and the Romanians are Orthodox Christians...


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Thank you, A. Basarab, for this information. I truly appreciate it. The Basarab lineage has really been very interesting for me. I started to just write about Vlad III and then followed the lineage back as far as I could. Fascinating history! Are you a member of the same lineage? Thanks again.

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