Wallachia is situated between the Danube and the southern edge of the Carpathian Mountains. Established as a principality in the 14th century, Wallachia gained independence from Hungary shortly thereafter, but this was short lived. After 1417, the Principality of Wallachia became part of the Ottoman Empire.
The drive toward independence was realized during the reign of Viovode Basarab. The decisive victory at Posada in November 1330, over King Charles I of Hungary, solidified her freedom. Sealing her independence, Basarab’s prestige increased further by placing his son-in-law on the throne of Bulgaria in 1331.
Following the Byzantine model of government, Wallachian princes exercised absolute power. They were the host commanders, supreme judges, patronized the church and made decisions that became laws. Although a dynastic monarchy, the princes were elected by the boyars of the ruling family, however, the boyars, the landed aristocracy, slowly lost influence as the princes granted favoured persons privileges having similar status.
As neighboring lands fell to the Ottoman Empire, Wallachian sought assistance from multiple kingdoms. Mircea the Elder, grandfather of Vlad Tepes, accepted the suzerainty of Poland in 1387 and of Hungary in 1395.
Mircea the Elder
Mircea’s reign strengthened the power of the state. New offices were organized, increased economic development moved ahead and trade with the merchants of Poland and Lithuania flourished. With the increase revenue, Mircea was able to flex his military power and fortify the Danube citadels. Renewal of treaties with Hungary and Poland ensured focus on the common threat, the Ottoman expansion.
Mircea’s intervention, supporting the Bulgarians, brought him in conflict with the Ottomans. Sultan Beyazid (the Thunderbolt) crossed the Danube with 40,000. With less than 10,000 troops, Mircea used guerilla warfare to maximum effect. On October 10, 1394, the armies clashed at Rovine, a forested and swamp area which inhibited the Ottomans from fully utilizing their superior numbers.
Despite a glorious victory, Mircea was forced to fall back to Hungary as Vlad Uzurpatorul had seized the throne. While exiled in Hungary, her monarch called for a Crusade against the Ottomans. Contingents from as far away as France, the Holy Roman Empire, Genoa, Venice and Bulgaria assembled and crossed the Danube. The Battle of Nicopolis ended any hope of the Crusade flourishing.
In 1397, with the help of Hungary, Mircea defeated Vlad the Usurper and stopped further Ottoman encroachment across the Danube. Further expeditions by the Ottomans met with no further success. The summer of 1402 began a period of anarchy when Sultan Beyazid met defeat by Tamerlane at Ankara.
Subsequent campaigns further strengthened Mircea’s power and toward the end of his reign, the Ottomans settled a treaty with tribute to halt any further attempts to make Wallachia a province of the Ottoman Empire.
IV/65 Wallachian 1330 – 1504 AD:
1 x General (Cv or Kn),
4 x boyars & viteji (LH),
6 x archers (Bw or Ps),
1 x rustici (Wb or Ax) or voynuks (Bd) or archers (Ps).