Moldova – Former Bessarabia
The largest part of today’s territory of Moldova (also called Moldau) – which used to be part of the Soviet Union – lies between the Prut and Dniester rivers and corresponds to the former Bessarabia. In addition, a narrow strip east of the Dniester belongs to the country, but this area split off as the independent Republic of Transnistria in 1992, a “country” that is not recognized internationally. The small area of Gagauzia, located in the extreme south, which is mainly populated by Gagauz, i.e. members of a Turkic people, has also split off. Moldova was already known in ancient times for its fertile black soil, where thanks to the favorable climate, fruit, vegetables and tobacco as well as excellent types of wine thrive. Wine, is the country’s most important export.
|Name of the country||Republic of Moldova/Republica Moldova|
|Form of government||republic|
|Geographical location||Southeast Europe|
|National anthem||Limba Noastră (Our Language)|
|Population||about 3.5 million (Credit: Countryaah: Moldova Population)|
|Ethnicities||approx. 64.5% Moldovans, 13.8% Ukrainians, 13% Russians and others|
|Religions||approx. 98% Orthodox Christians|
|Languages||Moldovan (Romanian dialect) is the official language.|
|Highest mountain||Monte Balănesti with a height of 429 m|
|Longest river||Dniester (Nistru) with a length of 1,352 km|
|Largest lake in area||There are no larger lakes in the country.|
|International license plate||MD|
|National currency||1 Leu = 100 Bani|
|Time difference to CET||+ 1h|
|International phone code||00373|
|Mains voltage, frequency||230 volts, 50 hertz|
|Internet Top Level Domain (TLD)||.md|
Until the 13th century
The earliest historically documented residents of the region were Scythians, belligerent Euro-Asian nomads who lived around the 6th century BC. Immigrated from the eastern steppe areas.
According to Abbreviationfinder website, in the 1st century, the Romans under Trajan conquered the neighboring Dacia (today Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia) and parts of the later Principality of Moldova (west of today’s national territory). They withdrew again in the year 271 under Emperor Aurelian, as the area was difficult to hold due to the constant barbarian invasions and from then on they used it as a buffer zone. In the centuries that followed, Ostrogoths, Huns, Avars, Magyars and the Mongols of the Golden Horde crossed the country.
From the 14th to the 19th century
From the 13th century the region was under Hungarian sovereignty until Prince Bogdan founded an independent principality in 1359, which was later renamed Moldova (Moldau).
In the 15th century the voivode Ştefan cel Mare (around 1433 to 1504) succeeded in numerous battles against the Ottomans to obtain the independence of Moldova for the time being.
In 1538 the Ottoman rule began over the country, which remained a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire for 300 years. During this time, however, there were also raids by Turks, Crimean Tatars and Russians.
In 1812, after the 6th Russo-Turkish War, the eastern half of Moldova, the area between Prut and Dniester, passed to Russia. It was named Bessarabia (after Basarab I), which until then only applied to the southern part of the region populated by Tatars. The Tatars were driven to the Crimea. In order to push back the predominantly Romanian population, Russia used privileges to recruit around 9,000 German settlers, the ancestors of the Bessarabian Germans. Bulgarians, Ukrainians and Swiss and even numerous European Jews immigrated to the region.
In the 20th century
At the end of 1917, after the October Revolution, the Moldovan Democratic Republic was founded, which, however, joined Romania just two months later. The area east of the Dniester (today Transnistria), which had never actually belonged to the Principality of Moldova, was declared by Stalin to be a Moldovan Soviet Republic with the capital Balta, later Tiraspol, in 1924. According to the agreements made in the secret additional protocol of the Hitler-Stalin Pact, Soviet troops occupied Bessarabia in 1939. The following year the Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic was founded with the capital Chisinau, into which part of the previous republic of the same name was incorporated. The southern area of Bessarabia (named Budschak among the Tatars) with access to the Black Sea was incorporated into Ukraine. In 1940 the resettlement of the German population began, including from the area of the former Bessarabia to the German Empire. In July 1941, Romania occupied Bessarabia and other parts of the Soviet Union as an ally of Hitler. This was followed by cruel persecution and extermination of the approx. 200,000 Moldovan Jews by Romanian soldiers and German SS task forces. In 1944 the Red Army retook Bessarabia and Romania switched fronts. Subsequently, the Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic was restored as a part of the USSR. Very many Russians and Ukrainians settled in the area.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the independent Republic of Moldova was founded on August 27, 1991. Transnistria, east of the Dniester, where predominantly Russians and Ukrainians live, split off. The Gagauz, a Turkic people in the south of the country, declared their region independent in the same year. In 1995 the Moldovan government granted them a special status as an autonomous region without causing violent clashes. The conflict took a different course in Transnistria, where the separatists received and still received military aid from the Russian army and where no agreement has been reached to this day.