1873 – Austrian explorers Julius von Payer and Karl Weyprecht discover the archipelago of Franz Josef Land in the Arctic Sea.
Franz Josef Land, Franz Joseph Land or Francis Joseph’s Land (Russian: Земля́ Фра́нца-Ио́сифа, tr. Zemlya Frantsa-Iosifa) is an archipelago, inhabited only by Russian military base personnel, located in the Arctic Ocean, Barents Sea and Kara Sea, constituting the northernmost part of Arkhangelsk Oblast in Russia. It consists of 191 islands, which cover an area of 16,134 square kilometers (6,229 sq mi), stretching 375 kilometers (233 mi) from east to west and 234 kilometers (145 mi) from north to south. The islands are categorized in three groups, a western, central and eastern, separated by the British Channel and the Austrian Strait. The central group is further divided into a northern and southern section by the Markham Strait. The largest island is George Land, which measures 2,741 square kilometers (1,058 sq mi), followed by Wilczek Land, Graham Bell Island and Alexandra Land.
Eighty-five percent of the archipelago is glaciated, with large unglaciated areas being located on the largest islands and many of the smallest islands. The islands have a combined coastline of 4,425 kilometers (2,750 mi). Compared to other Arctic archipelagos, Franz Joseph Land has a high dissection rate of 3.6 square kilometers per coastline kilometer.[clarification needed] Cape Fligely on Rudolf Island is the northernmost point of the Eastern Hemisphere. The highest elevations are found in the eastern group, with the highest point located on Wilczek Land, 670 meters (2,200 ft) above mean sea level.
The archipelago was first spotted by the Norwegian sealers Nils Fredrik Rønnbeck and Johan Petter Aidijärvi in 1865, although they did not report their finding. The first reported finding was in the 1873 Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition led by Julius von Payer and Karl Weyprecht, who named the area after Emperor Franz Joseph I. The islands, then under the name Fridtjof Nansen Land, were annexed by the Soviet Union in 1926, who settled small outposts for research and military purposes. The Kingdom of Norway rejected the claim and several private expeditions were sent to the islands. With the Cold War, the islands became off limits for foreigners and two military airfields were built. The islands have been a nature sanctuary since 1994 and became part of the Russian Arctic National Park in 2012.
1400 – Vlad II Dracul (d.1447)
Vlad II, also known as Vlad Dracul or Vlad the Dragon (before 1395 – November 1447), was voivode (or prince) of Wallachia from 1436 to 1442, and again from 1443 to 1447. Born an illegitimate son of Mircea I of Wallachia, he spent his youth at the court of Sigismund of Luxembourg, who made him a member of the Order of the Dragon in 1431 (hence his sobriquet). Sigismund also recognized him as the lawful voivode of Wallachia, allowing him to settle in the nearby Transylvania. Vlad could not assert his claim during the life of his half-brother, Alexander I Aldea, who acknowledged the suzerainty of the Ottoman Sultan, Murad II.
After Alexander Aldea died in 1436, Vlad seized Wallachia with Hungarian support. Following the death of Sigismund of Luxembourg in 1437, Hungary’s position weakened, causing him to pay homage to Murad II, which included participating in Murad II’s invasion of Transylvania in the summer of 1438. John Hunyadi, Voivode of Transylvania, came to Wallachia to convince Vlad to join a crusade against the Ottomans in 1441. After Hunyadi routed an Ottoman army in Transylvania, the sultan ordered Vlad to come to Edirne where he was captured in 1442. Hunyadi invaded Wallachia and made Vlad’s cousin, Basarab II, voivode.
Vlad was released before the end of the year, but he had to leave his two sons as hostages in the Ottoman Empire. He was restored in Wallachia with Ottoman support in 1443. He remained neutral during Hunyadi’s “Long Campaign” against the Ottoman Empire between October 1443 and January 1444, but he sent 4,000 horsemen to fight against the Ottomans during the Crusade of Varna. With the support of a Burgundian fleet he captured the important Ottoman fortress at Giurgiu in 1445. He made peace with the Ottoman Empire in 1446 or 1447, which contributed to the deterioration of his relationship with Hunyadi. Hunyadi invaded Wallachia, forcing Vlad to flee from Târgoviște in late November, where he was killed at a nearby village.
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