5. Vlad The Impaler
Meet Vlad the Impaler, Count Dracula’s inspiration! The second son of Vlad Dracul, Vlad became the ruler of Wallachia in 1436.
Although he was considered an important ruler in Wallachian history and a national hero of Romania, Vlad had quite a reputation. Nicknamed after his favorite method of persecution, he would impale victims with a stake for slow and agonizing deaths.
It looked so gruesome that entire armies would turn back at the sight of it. He killed roughly 40,000–80,000 people by impalement and other means.