The Bizarre History Of The Kingdom Of Wallachia

The world as we know it today consists of seven continents that contain 195 recognized countries (per World Atlas). Out of those countries, 193 countries are members of the United Nations and there are two non-members that are generally recognized by the rest of the world anyway. Though most of these countries accept each other, they are not technically the only countries or nations that exist.

According to World Atlas, outside of these recognized countries, there are micronations, too. Micronations are defined as "an entity that claims to be a sovereign nation but is not recognized by any other government." There are reportedly around 400 documented micronations. Some of these exist virtually, while others are physical locations (though most of the time, they are very small in size). These unofficial nations sometimes even have their own currencies, passports, or flags. Examples of some micronations are Liberland, The Principality of Sealand, and the Kingdom of Wallachia (per Mental Floss).

Origin Story

Of the previously mentioned micronations, the Kingdom of Wallachia arguably has one of the oddest origin stories. The Kingdom of Wallachia was "founded" in 1997 and is located on the southeastern side of the Czech Republic (per The Independent). This kingdom was the brainchild of photographer and writer Tomas Harabis, who thought it would be a great way to attract tourists to the region.

As every kingdom needs a king, a Czech comedian named Bolek Polivka was crowned King Boleslav the Gracious in 2000. According to The Independent, Harabis became foreign minister and handled all of the daily operations. The Kingdom of Wallachia surprisingly has many of the features of a real kingdom or country, including an official flag, national passports, and even its own currency. The country has its own university as well. As silly as the idea might sound to some, Wallachia has become an extremely successful tourist attraction, just like Harabis wanted.

Ties to Historical Wallachia

If the name Wallachia sounds familiar, it is likely the region in Romania that comes to mind. Located between the Carpathian Mountains and the Danube River sits land also known as Wallachia (per Book Tours Romania). This location was named after a people known as the Vlachs, who were the original inhabitants of what is now Romania.

This part of the world profited from its abundance of agricultural resources and from the number of trade routes that passed through it to the Black Sea (per Britannica). In addition to its economic successes, Wallachia was also home to one of the most infamous figures in world history, Vlad III, aka Vlad the Impaler. He ruled the territory of Wallachia during the 15th century and developed a reputation for his cruelty toward his enemies, which earned him his morbid moniker (per a separate Britannica article). It was the bloody legacy that he left behind that reportedly inspired Bram Stoker's iconic novel, "Dracula," three centuries later. However, this province in modern-day Romania is not the same as the Kingdom of Wallachia, which sits in the Czech Republic.

A Dramatic Coup Results In A New King

Though the micronation we know today as the Kingdom of Wallachia is not the same as the Wallachia of the 15th century, they do have something in common other than their names. One thing no nation can ever avoid completely is governmental strife. Despite the fact that the Kingdom of Wallachia technically doesn't exist outside of being a "micronation," it suffered a coup that resulted in it getting a new king (per The Independent).

In 2001, Tomas Harabis, the nation's founder, had a falling out with King Boleslav and staged a revolt against the crown. Their dispute was reportedly over money and was being duked out in the courts. While Harabis and King Boleslav were suing each other over rights to their micronation's assets, a new monarch was installed. According to The Independent, a man named Vladimir Zhanel, an engineer, won "the battle of the knights" and was crowned King Vladimir II and is the Kingdom of Wallachia's current "monarch."