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Bram Stoker made Dracula famous the world over, but not many people have heard of Vlad Tepes. This 15th century prince was Stoker's inspiration for the evil Count Dracula. Vlad Tepes was a prince of Wallachia,a Romanian land near Transylvania. He did not lead a very happy life. He was kidnapped by the Turks and held hostage for many years. While he was in Istanbul,he got news that his father and older brother were killed by the nobles of a neighboring region. When he was 17 years old, he led a force of Turks to retake the throne of Wallachia for himself.

After he was successful,he got his terrible revenge on the nobles who had killed his father and brother. He impaled the old ones on long,sharp sticks. He then made the younger nobles and their families march to another town and build a castle there. The work was hard and many died,but at last ,they built Castle Dracula. During his rule, Vlad killed thousands of his enemies by impaling them on sticks. This is how he earned the nickname "Vlad the Impaler".It is also probably where Stoker got the idea that the only way to kill Dracula was to impale his heart with a wooden stake.

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