7 June 1821 – Tudor Vladimirescu

Tudor Vladimirescu Today we head to Wallachia – at the foot of the Danube river – for our next termination. Hell-bent on revolution in Romania, Tudor Vladimirescu saw a bloody end after he was diced and dumped in a toilet.

Following a successful stint in the army fighting in the Russo-Turkish war from 1806 to 1812, he came back all fired up. He was even awarded the Order of St Vladimir 3rd degree, which put him above the law – because he couldn’t be prosecuted in either Wallachia or the Ottoman empire, or so he thought…

So, it was with Russian backing that he thought he was acting when he put together an army of his own – a guerrilla brigade made up of Croats, known as pandurs. Vladimirescu was keen to ensure that Romania stayed under military rule, and he had a persuasive way about him and his army respected his ways.

Head-less

Things came to a head when Prince Alexandru Suţu died in January 1821, leaving a leaderless Romania. A committee was put in place but it was only ever temporary. There was a power struggle bubbling under and Vladimirescu quickly took the opportunity to write to the Turks in order to buy him time to team up with the anti-Turkish revolutionaries.

He fortified key monasteries in order to resist a Turkish invasion, then set about explaining his demands. These demands were pretty sound by all accounts: including the prevention of buying key government offices, instead encouraging promotion to office by merit alone, cutting of key taxation and the setting up of a Wallachian army. That all sounded pretty good, so what was not to like?

But the power went to his head and Vladimirescu started getting above his station, wearing the hat reserved for royalty. Slowly, he began losing his support. All this took place amid a bigger power struggle – dissension between the mighty Russians and the Turks, the latter of whom converged on Wallachia.

Pooh-poohed

Naturally, when faced with the size of the Turkish army, Vladimirescu backed off and categorically stated that Wallachia was neutral. But the fact that he was keen to hold talks about compromising with the Turks was not widely supported, so he was arrested just six months after the whole thing had kicked off.

Seen as treason, he was tortured, literally chopped up and chucked down a toilet1. However, his was such an integral part of Romania’s history, that there is now a place called Tudor Vladimirescu in his honour.

1 Some sources state his execution took place on 27 May and that he was disposed of down a well, so we’ll keep checking and update this piece shortly.

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