Moldavia

Moldavia (Romanian: Moldova, pronounced [molˈdova] (listen) or Țara Moldovei (in Romanian Latin alphabet), literally The Moldavian Country; in old Romanian Cyrillic alphabet: Цара Мѡлдовєй) is a historical region and former principality in Central and Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester River. An initially independent and later autonomous state, it existed from the 14th century to 1859, when it united with Wallachia (Țara Românească) as the basis of the modern Romanian state; at various times, Moldavia included the regions of Bessarabia (with the Budjak), all of Bukovina and Hertza. The region of Pokuttya was also part of it for a period of time.

The western half of Moldavia is now part of Romania, the eastern side belongs to the Republic of Moldova, and the northern and southeastern parts are territories of Ukraine.

Principality of Moldavia

Țara Moldovei  (Romanian)
1346–1859
Flag of Moldova
Flag of Moldavia under Ieremia Movilă, 1601
Top: Flag (1346–1859)
Bottom: Flag of Moldavia under Prince Ieremia Movilă (1595–1600)
Moldavia under Stephen the Great, 1483
Moldavia under Stephen the Great, 1483
CapitalBaia/Siret (1343–1388)
Suceava (1388–1564)
Iași (Jassy) (1564–1859)
Official languagesOld Church Slavonic; Romanian (18th century onwards); Greek - co-official[1]
Common languagesRomanian, other minority languages
Religion
Eastern Orthodox
GovernmentPrincipality
Princes of Moldavia (Voivodes, Hospodars) 
• 1346–1353 (first)
Dragoș
• 1859–1862 (last)
Alexandru Ioan Cuza
History 
• Foundation of the Moldavian mark
1346
• De jure union with Wallachia
5 February [O.S. 24 January] 1859 1859
CurrencyTaler
ISO 3166 codeMD
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of Hungary (1301-1382).svg Kingdom of Hungary (1301–1526)
Golden Horde flag 1339.svg Golden Horde
United Principalities
Duchy of Bukovina
Bessarabia Governorate
Today part of

Name and etymology

The original and short-lived reference to the region was Bogdania, after Bogdan I, the founding figure of the principality. The names Moldavia and Moldova are derived from the name of the Moldova River; however, the etymology is not known and there are several variants:[2][3]

  • a legend mentioned in Descriptio Moldaviae by Dimitrie Cantemir links it to an aurochs hunting trip of the Maramureș voivode Dragoș and the latter's chase of a star-marked bull. Dragoș was accompanied by his female hound called Molda; when they reached the shores of an unfamiliar river, Molda caught up with the animal and was killed by it. The dog's name would have been given to the river and extended to the country.
  • the old German Molde, meaning "open-pit mine"
  • the Gothic Mulda (Gothic: 𐌼𐌿𐌻𐌳𐌰, Runic: ᛗᚢᛚᛞᚨ) meaning "dust", "dirt" (cognate with the English mould), referring to the river.
  • a Slavic etymology (-ova is a quite common Slavic suffix), marking the end of one Slavic genitive form, denoting ownership, chiefly of feminine nouns (i.e., "that of Molda").
  • A landowner named Alexa Moldaowicz is mentioned in a 1334 document as a local boyar in service to Yuriy II of Halych; this attests to the use of the name before the foundation of the Moldavian state and could be the source for the region's name.

In several early references,[4] "Moldavia" is rendered under the composite form Moldo-Wallachia (in the same way Wallachia may appear as Hungro-Wallachia). Ottoman Turkish references to Moldavia included Boğdan Iflak (meaning "Bogdan's Wallachia") and Boğdan (and occasionally Kara-Boğdan – "Black Bogdania"). See also names in other languages.

The name of the region in other languages include French: Moldavie, German: Moldau, Hungarian: Moldva, Russian: Молдавия (Moldaviya), Turkish: Boğdan Prensliği, Greek: Μολδαβία.

History

Early Middle Ages

The inhabitants of Moldova were Christians. Archaeological works revealed the remains of a Christian necropolis at Mihălășeni, Botoșani county, from the 5th century. The place of worship, and the tombs had Christian characteristics. The place of worship had a rectangular form with sides of eight and seven meters. Similar necropolises and places of worship were found at Nicolina, in Iași[5]

The Bolohoveni, is mentioned by the Hypatian Chronicle in the 13th century. The chronicle shows that this land is bordered on the principalities of Halych, Volhynia and Kiev. Archaeological research also identified the location of 13th-century fortified settlements in this region. Alexandru V. Boldur identified Voscodavie, Voscodavti, Voloscovti, Volcovti, Volosovca and their other towns and villages between the middle course of the rivers Nistru/Dniester and Nipru/Dnieper.[6] The Bolohoveni disappeared from chronicles after their defeat in 1257 by Daniel of Galicia's troops. Their ethnic identity is uncertain; although Romanian scholars, basing on their ethnonym identify them as Romanians (who were called Vlachs in the Middle Ages), archeological evidence and the Hypatian Chronicle (which is the only primary source that documents their history) suggest that they were a Slavic people.[7][8]

In the early 13th century, the Brodniks, a possible SlavicVlach vassal state of Halych, were present, alongside the Vlachs, in much of the region's territory (towards 1216, the Brodniks are mentioned as in service of Suzdal).

Somewhere in the 11th century, a Viking named Rodfos was killed by Vlachs presumably in the area of what would become Moldavia.[9] In 1164, the future Byzantine emperor Andronikos I Komnenos, was taken prisoner by Vlach shepherds around the same region.

High Middle Ages

Constantin Lecca - Dragos Voda la vanatoarea zimbrului
The hunt of Voivode Dragoș' for the bison (by Constantin Lecca)
Catedrala Catolică din Baia3
Ruins of the Roman Catholic Cathedral established by Transylvanian Saxon colonists at Baia (German: Moldenmarkt), Suceava County, Romania
Suczawa twierdza
The Seat Fortress in Suceava, Romania
Suceava - Stauia lui Stefan Cel Mare
Equestrian statue of Moldavian Prince Stephen the Great in Suceava
Акерманська фортеця в Білгород-Дністровському8
Akkerman Fortress in Cetatea Alba, Ukraine

Friar William of Rubruck, who visited the court of the Great Khan in the 1250s, listed "the Blac",[10] or Vlachs, among the peoples who paid tribute to the Mongols, but the Vlachs' territory is uncertain.[11][12] Rubruck described "Blakia" as "Assan's territory"[13] south of the Lower Danube, showing that he identified it with the northern regions of the Second Bulgarian Empire.[14] Later in the 14th century, King Charles I of Hungary attempted to expand his realm and the influence of the Catholic Church eastwards after the fall of Cuman rule, and ordered a campaign under the command of Phynta de Mende (1324). In 1342 and 1345, the Hungarians were victorious in a battle against Tatar-Mongols; the conflict was resolved by the death of Jani Beg, in 1357. The Polish chronicler Jan Długosz mentioned Moldavians (under the name Wallachians) as having joined a military expedition in 1342, under King Władysław I, against the Margraviate of Brandenburg.[15]

In 1353, Dragoș, mentioned as a Vlach Knyaz in Maramureș, was sent by Louis I to establish a line of defense against the Golden Horde forces of Mongols on the Siret River. This expedition resulted in a polity vassal to Hungary, centered around Baia (Târgul Moldovei or Moldvabánya).

Bogdan of Cuhea, another Vlach voivode from Maramureș who had fallen out with the Hungarian king, crossed the Carpathians in 1359, took control of Moldavia, and succeeded in removing Moldavia from Hungarian control. His realm extended north to the Cheremosh River, while the southern part of Moldavia was still occupied by the Tatar Mongols.

After first residing in Baia, Bogdan moved Moldavia's seat to Siret (it was to remain there until Petru Mușat moved it to Suceava; it was finally moved to Iași under Alexandru Lăpușneanu - in 1565). The area around Suceava, roughly correspondent to future Bukovina, would later constitute one of the two administrative divisions of the new realm, under the name Țara de Sus (the "Upper Land"), whereas the rest, on both sides of the Prut river, formed Țara de Jos (the "Lower Land").

Disfavored by the brief union of Angevin Poland and Hungary (the latter was still the country's overlord), Bogdan's successor Lațcu accepted conversion to Roman Catholicism around 1370, but his gesture was to remain without consequences. Despite remaining officially Eastern Orthodox and culturally connected with the Byzantine Empire after 1382, princes of the House of Bogdan-Mușat entered a conflict with the Constantinople Patriarchy over control of appointments to the newly founded Moldavian Metropolitan seat; Patriarch Antony IV even cast an anathema over Moldavia after Roman I expelled his appointee back to Byzantium. The crisis was finally settled in favor of the Moldavian princes under Alexander I. Nevertheless, religious policy remained complex: while conversions to faiths other than Orthodox were discouraged (and forbidden for princes), Moldavia included sizable Roman Catholic communities (Germans and Magyars), as well as non-Chalcedonic Armenians; after 1460, the country welcomed Hussite refugees (founders of Ciuburciu and, probably, Huși).

The principality of Moldavia covered the entire geographic region of Moldavia. In various periods, various other territories were politically connected with the Moldavian principality. This is the case of the province of Pokuttya, the fiefdoms of Cetatea de Baltă and Ciceu (both in Transylvania) or, at a later date, the territories between the Dniester and the Bug rivers.

Petru I profited from the end of the Hungarian-Polish union and moved the country closer to the Jagiellon realm, becoming a vassal of Władysław II on September 26, 1387. This gesture was to have unexpected consequences: Petru supplied the Polish ruler with funds needed in the war against the Teutonic Knights, and was granted control over Pokuttya until the debt was to be repaid; as this is not recorded to have been carried out, the region became disputed by the two states, until it was lost by Moldavia in the Battle of Obertyn (1531). Prince Petru also expanded his rule southwards to the Danube Delta. His brother Roman I conquered the Hungarian-ruled Cetatea Albă in 1392, giving Moldavia an outlet to the Black Sea, before being toppled from the throne for supporting Fyodor Koriatovych in his conflict with Vytautas the Great of Lithuania. Under Stephen I, growing Polish influence was challenged by Sigismund of Hungary, whose expedition was defeated at Ghindăoani in 1385; however, Stephen disappeared in mysterious circumstances.

Although Alexander I was brought to the throne in 1400 by the Hungarians (with assistance from Mircea I of Wallachia), he shifted his allegiances towards Poland (notably engaging Moldavian forces on the Polish side in the Battle of Grunwald and the Siege of Marienburg), and placed his own choice of rulers in Wallachia. His reign was one of the most successful in Moldavia's history, but also saw the very first confrontation with the Ottoman Turks at Cetatea Albă in 1420, and later even a conflict with the Poles. A deep crisis was to follow Alexandru's long reign, with his successors battling each other in a succession of wars that divided the country until the murder of Bogdan II and the ascension of Peter III Aaron in 1451. Nevertheless, Moldavia was subject to further Hungarian interventions after that moment, as Matthias Corvinus deposed Aron and backed Alexăndrel to the throne in Suceava. Petru Aron's rule also signified the beginning of Moldavia's Ottoman Empire allegiance, as the ruler agreed to pay tribute to Sultan Mehmed II.

Late Middle Ages

Under Stephen the Great, who took the throne and subsequently came to an agreement with Casimir IV of Poland in 1457, the state reached its most glorious period. Stephen blocked Hungarian interventions in the Battle of Baia, invaded Wallachia in 1471, and dealt with Ottoman reprisals in a major victory (the 1475 Battle of Vaslui); after feeling threatened by Polish ambitions, he also attacked Galicia and resisted Polish reprisals in the Battle of the Cosmin Forest (1497). However, he had to surrender Chilia (Kiliya) and Cetatea Albă (Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi), the two main fortresses in the Budjak, to the Ottomans in 1484, and in 1498 he had to accept Ottoman suzerainty, when he was forced to agree to continue paying tribute to Sultan Bayezid II. Following the taking of Hotin (Khotyn) and Pokuttya, Stephen's rule also brought a brief extension of Moldavian rule into Transylvania: Cetatea de Baltă and Ciceu became his fiefs in 1489.

Early Modern Era and Renaissance

Khotyn 3
Khotyn Fortress on the Dniester River, present-day Ukraine, then bordering the northern frontier of the Moldavian Principality and southern Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

Under Bogdan III the One-Eyed, Ottoman overlordship was confirmed in the shape that would rapidly evolve into control over Moldavia's affairs. Peter IV Rareș, who reigned in the 1530s and 1540s, clashed with the Habsburg Monarchy over his ambitions in Transylvania (losing possessions in the region to George Martinuzzi), was defeated in Pokuttya by Poland, and failed in his attempt to extricate Moldavia from Ottoman rule – the country lost Bender to the Ottomans, who included it in their Silistra Eyalet.

A period of profound crisis followed. Moldavia stopped issuing its own coinage circa 1520, under Prince Ștefăniță, when it was confronted with rapid depletion of funds and rising demands from the Porte. Such problems became endemic when the country, brought into the Great Turkish War, suffered the impact of the stagnation of the Ottoman Empire; at one point, during the 1650s and 1660s, princes began relying on counterfeit coinage (usually copies of Swedish riksdalers, as was that issued by Eustratie Dabija). The economic decline was accompanied by a failure to maintain state structures: the feudal-based Moldavian military forces were no longer convoked, and the few troops maintained by the rulers remained professional mercenaries such as the seimeni.

Jassy (Iasi)-Trei Ierarhi Monastery (J.Rey, 1845)
Trei Ierarhi Monastery in Iași, housed the Vasilian College, an institution of higher learning founded in 1640
Mihai 1600
In 1600, Michael the Brave became Prince of Wallachia, of Transylvania, and of Moldavia

However, Moldavia and the similarly affected Wallachia remained both important sources of income for the Ottoman Empire and relatively prosperous agricultural economies (especially as suppliers of grain and cattle – the latter was especially relevant in Moldavia, which remained an under-populated country of pastures). In time, much of the resources were tied to the Ottoman economy, either through monopolies on trade that were only lifted in 1829, after the Treaty of Adrianople (which did not affect all domains directly), or through the raise in direct taxes - the one demanded by the Ottomans from the princes, as well as the ones demanded by the princes from the country's population. Taxes were directly proportional with Ottoman requests, but also with the growing importance of Ottoman appointment and sanctioning of princes in front of election by the boyars and the boyar Council – Sfatul boieresc (drawing in a competition among pretenders, which also implied the intervention of creditors as suppliers of bribes). The fiscal system soon included taxes such as the văcărit (a tax on head of cattle), first introduced by Iancu Sasul in the 1580s.

The economic opportunities offered brought about a significant influx of Greek and Levantine financiers and officials, who entered a stiff competition with the high boyars over appointments to the Court. As the manor system suffered the blows of economic crises, and in the absence of salarisation (which implied that persons in office could decide their own income), obtaining princely appointment became the major focus of a boyar's career. Such changes also implied the decline of free peasantry and the rise of serfdom, as well as the rapid fall in the importance of low boyars (a traditional institution, the latter soon became marginal, and, in more successful instances, added to the population of towns); however, they also implied a rapid transition towards a monetary economy, based on exchanges in foreign currency. Serfdom was doubled by the much less numerous slave population (robi), composed of migrant Roma and captured Nogais.

Partitions of Moldavia
Moldavia through the ages

The conflict between princes and boyars was to become exceptionally violent – the latter group, who frequently appealed to the Ottoman court in order to have princes comply with its demands, was persecuted by rulers such as Alexandru Lăpușneanu and John III. Ioan Vodă's revolt against the Ottomans ended in his execution (1574). The country descended into political chaos, with frequent Ottoman and Tatar incursions and pillages. The claims of Mușatins to the crown and the traditional system of succession were ended by scores of illegitimate reigns; one of the usurpers, Ioan Iacob Heraclid, was a Protestant Greek who encouraged the Renaissance and attempted to introduce Lutheranism to Moldavia.

In 1595, the rise of the Movilești boyars to the throne with Ieremia Movilă coincided with the start of frequent anti-Ottoman and anti-Habsburg military expeditions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth into Moldavian territory (see Moldavian Magnate Wars), and rivalries between pretenders to the Moldavian throne encouraged by the three competing powers.

The Wallachian prince Michael the Brave, after previously taking over Transylvania, also deposed Prince Ieremia Movilă, in 1600, and managed to become the first Prince to rule over Moldavia, Wallachia, and Transylvania;[16][17][18] the episode ended in Polish conquests of lands down to Bucharest, soon ended by the outbreak of the Polish–Swedish War and the reestablishment of Ottoman rule. Polish incursions were dealt a blow by the Ottomans during the 1620 Battle of Cecora, which also saw an end to the reign of Gaspar Graziani.

A period of relative peace followed during the more prosperous and prestigious rule of Vasile Lupu. He took the throne as a boyar appointee in 1637 and began battling his rival Gheorghe Ștefan, as well as the Wallachian prince Matei Basarab. However, his invasion of Wallachia, with the backing of Cossack Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky, ended in disaster at the Battle of Finta in 1653. A few years later, Moldavia was occupied for two short intervals by the anti-Ottoman Wallachian prince Constantin Șerban, who clashed with the first ruler of the Ghica family, George Ghica. In the early 1680s, Moldavian troops under George Ducas intervened in right-bank Ukraine and assisted Mehmed IV in the Battle of Vienna, only to suffer the effects of the Great Turkish War.

Phanariots (1711–1822)

Principati1786
The Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia in 1782, Italian map by G. Pittori, since the geographer Giovanni Antonio Rizzi Zannoni.
Siege and capture of Jassy in 1788 by the Russian army
Siege and capture of Jassy (Iași) in 1788 by the Russian army

During the late 17th century, Moldavia became the target of the Russian Empire's southwards expansion, inaugurated by Peter the Great with the Russo-Turkish War of 1710-1711. Prince Dimitrie Cantemir sided with Peter in open rebellion against the Ottomans, but he was defeated at Stănilești. Sultan Ahmed III officially discarded recognition of local choices for princes, imposing instead a system relying solely on Ottoman approval: the Phanariote epoch, inaugurated by the reign of Nicholas Mavrocordatos.

Phanariote rule was marked by political corruption, intrigue, and high taxation, as well as by sporadic incursions of Habsburg and Russian armies deep into Moldavian territory. Nonetheless, they also attempted legislative and administrative modernization inspired by The Enlightenment (such as the decision by Constantine Mavrocordatos to salarize public offices, to the outrage of boyars, and the abolition of serfdom in 1749, as well as Scarlat Callimachi's Code), and signified a decrease in Ottoman demands after the threat of Russian annexation became real and the prospects of a better life led to waves of peasant emigration to neighboring lands. The effects of Ottoman control were also made less notable after the 1774 Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca allowed Russia to intervene in favour of Ottoman subjects of the Eastern Orthodox faith - leading to campaigns of petitioning by the Moldavian boyars against princely policies.

In 1712, Hotin was taken over by the Ottomans and became part of a defensive system that Moldavian princes were required to maintain, as well as an area for Islamic colonization (the Laz community).

Fragmentation

Rom1793-1812
Principality of Moldavia, 1793-1812, highlighted in orange

In 1775 Moldavia lost to the Habsburg Empire its northwestern part, which became known as Bukovina. For Moldavia, it meant both an important territorial loss and a major blow to the cattle trade, as the region stood on the trade route to Central Europe.

The Treaty of Jassy in 1792 forced the Ottoman Empire to cede Yedisan to the Russian Empire, which made Russian presence much more notable, given that the Empire acquired a common border with Moldavia. The first effect of this was the cession of the eastern half of Moldavia (renamed as Bessarabia) to the Russian Empire in 1812.

Organic Statute, 1848 revolution

Statuia lui Ştefan cel Mare din Iaşi1
Iași, Princely Palace of Moldavia

Phanariote rule was officially ended after the 1821 occupation of the country by Alexander Ypsilantis's Filiki Eteria during the Greek War of Independence; the subsequent Ottoman retaliation led to the rule of Ioan Sturdza. He was considered the first of a new system, since the Ottomans and Russia had agreed in 1826 to allow for the election by locals of rulers over the two Danubian Principalities, and convened on their mandating for seven-year terms. In practice, a new foundation to reigns in Moldavia was created by the Russo-Turkish War (1828–1829), beginning a period of Russian domination over the two countries which ended only in 1856. Begun as a military occupation under the command of Pavel Kiselyov, Russian domination gave Wallachia and Moldavia, which were not removed from nominal Ottoman control, the modernizing Organic Statute (the first document resembling a constitution, as well as the first to regard both principalities). After 1829, the country also became an important destination for immigration of Ashkenazi Jews from the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria and areas of Russia (see History of the Jews in Romania and Sudiți).

Obeliscul cu lei Iasi 02
Iași, Obelisk of Lions (1834), dedicated to the Organic Statute

The first Moldavian rule established under the Statute, that of Mihail Sturdza, was nonetheless ambivalent: eager to reduce abuse of office, Sturdza introduced reforms (the abolition of slavery, secularization, economic rebuilding), but he was widely seen as enforcing his own power over that of the newly instituted consultative Assembly. A supporter of the union of his country with Wallachia and of Romanian Romantic nationalism, he obtained the establishment of a customs union between the two countries (1847) and showed support for radical projects favored by low boyars; nevertheless, he clamped down with noted violence the Moldavian revolutionary attempt in the last days of March 1848. Grigore Alexandru Ghica allowed the exiled revolutionaries to return to Moldavia c. 1853, which led to the creation of the National Party (Partida Națională), a trans-boundary group of radical union supporters which campaigned for a single state under a foreign dynasty.

Southern Bessarabia

Rom1856-1859
Moldavia (in orange) after 1856

In 1856, under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, the Russian Empire returned to Moldavia a significant territory in southern Bessarabia (including a part of Budjak), organised later as the Bolgrad, Cahul, and Ismail counties.[19]

Union with Wallachia

Russian domination ended abruptly after the Crimean War, when the Treaty of Paris also passed the two Romanian principalities under the tutelage of Great European Powers (together with Russia and the Ottoman overlord, power-sharing included the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Austrian Empire, the French Empire, the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, and Prussia). Due to Austrian and Ottoman opposition and British reserves, the union program as demanded by radical campaigners was debated intensely. In September 1857, given that Caimacam Nicolae Vogoride had perpetrated fraud in elections in Moldavia, the Powers allowed the two states to convene ad-hoc divans, which were to decide a new constitutional framework; the result showed overwhelming support for the union, as the creation of a liberal and neutral state. After further meetings among leaders of tutor states, an agreement was reached (the Paris Convention), whereby a limited union was to be enforced – separate governments and thrones, with only two bodies (a Court of Cassation and a Central Commission residing in Focșani); it also stipulated that an end to all privilege was to be passed into law, and awarded back to Moldavia the areas around Bolhrad, Cahul, and Izmail.

However, the Convention failed to note whether the two thrones could not be occupied by the same person, allowing Partida Națională to introduce the candidacy of Alexandru Ioan Cuza in both countries. On January 17 (January 5, 1859 Old Style), in Iași, he was elected prince of Moldavia by the respective electoral body. After street pressure over the much more conservative body in Bucharest, Cuza was elected in Wallachia as well (February 5/January 24). Exactly three years later, after diplomatic missions that helped remove opposition to the action, the formal union created the United Principalities (the basis of modern Romania) and instituted Cuza as Domnitor (all legal matters were clarified after the replacement of the prince with Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in April 1866, and the creation of an independent Kingdom of Romania in 1881) - this officially ending the existence of the Principality of Moldavia.

Society

Slavery

Slavery (Romanian: robie) was part of the social order from before the founding of the Principality of Moldavia, until it was abolished in stages during the 1840s and 1850s. Most of the slaves were of Roma (Gypsy) ethnicity. There were also slaves of Tatar ethnicity, probably prisoners captured from the wars with the Nogai and Crimean Tatars. The institution of slavery was first attested in a 1470 Moldavian document, through which Prince Stephen the Great frees Oană, a Tatar slave who had fled to Jagiellon Poland.[20]

The exact origins of slavery are not known, as it was a common practice in medieval Europe. As in the Byzantine Empire, the Roma were held as slaves of the state, of the boyars or of the monasteries. Historian Nicolae Iorga associated the Roma people's arrival with the 1241 Mongol invasion of Europe and considered their slavery as a vestige of that era; he believed that the Romanians took the Roma as slaves from the Mongols and preserved their status to control their labor. Other historians consider that the Roma were enslaved while captured during the battles with the Tatars. The practice of enslaving prisoners may also have been taken from the Mongols. The ethnic identity of the "Tatar slaves" is unknown, they could have been captured Tatars of the Golden Horde, Cumans, or the slaves of Tatars and Cumans.[20] While it is possible that some Romani people were slaves or auxiliary troops of the Mongols or Tatars, most of them came from south of the Danube, demonstrating that slavery a widespread practice. The Tatar slaves, smaller in numbers, were eventually merged into the Roma population.[21]

Traditionally, Roma slaves were divided into three categories. The smallest was owned by the hospodars, and went by the Romanian-language name of țigani domnești ("Gypsies belonging to the lord"). The two other categories comprised țigani mănăstirești ("Gypsies belonging to the monasteries"), who were the property of Romanian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox monasteries, and țigani boierești ("Gypsies belonging to the boyars"), who were enslaved by the category of landowners.[22][23]

The abolition of slavery was carried out following a campaign by young revolutionaries who embraced the liberal ideas of the Enlightenment. In 1844, Moldavian Prince Mihail Sturdza proposed a law on the freeing of slaves owned by the church and state. By the 1850s, the movement gained support from almost the whole of Romanian society. In December 1855, following a proposal by Prince Grigore Alexandru Ghica, a bill drafted by Mihail Kogălniceanu and Petre Mavrogheni was adopted by the Divan; the law emancipated all slaves to the status of taxpayers (citizens).[20][22]

Support for the abolitionists was reflected in Romanian literature of the mid-19th century. The issue of the Roma slavery became a theme in the literary works of various liberal and Romantic intellectuals, many of whom were active in the abolitionist camp. The Romanian abolitionist movement was also influenced by the much larger movement against Black slavery in the United States through press reports and through a translation of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. Translated by Theodor Codrescu and first published in Iași in 1853, under the name Coliba lui Moșu Toma sau Viața negrilor în sudul Statelor Unite din America (which translates back as "Uncle Toma's Cabin or the Life of Blacks in the Southern United States of America"), it was the first American novel to be published in Romanian. The foreword included a study on slavery by Mihail Kogălniceanu.[20]

Military forces

Kingdom of Hungary against Moldovans flag in battle
Moldavian troops in battle, as illustrated in Johannes de Thurocz (1488 edition); the Moldavian flag is displayed

Under the reign of Stephen the Great, all farmers and villagers had to bear arms. Stephen justified this by saying that "every man has a duty to defend his fatherland"; according to Polish chronicler Jan Długosz, if someone was found without carrying a weapon, he was sentenced to death.[24] Stephen reformed the army by promoting men from the landed free peasantry răzeși (i.e. something akin to freeholding yeomen) to infantry (voinici) and light cavalry (hânsari) — to make himself less dependent on the boyars — and introduced his army to guns. In times of crises, The Small Host (Oastea Mică) — which consisted of around 10,000 to 12,000 men — stood ready to engage the enemy, while the Large Host (Oastea Mare) — which could reach up to 40,000 — had all the free peasantry older than 14, and strong enough to carry a sword or use the bow, recruited. This seldom happened, for such a levée en masse was devastating for both economy and population growth. In the Battle of Vaslui, Stephen had to summon the Large Host and also recruited mercenary troops.

Moldavian battle flag
Battle flag of Stephen the Great

In the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, the Moldavians relied on light cavalry (călărași) which used hit-and-run tactics similar to those of the Tatars; this gave them great mobility and also flexibility, in case they found it more suitable to dismount their horses and fight in hand-to-hand combat, as it happened in 1422, when 400 horse archers were sent to aid Jagiellon Poland, Moldavia's overlord against the Teutonic Knights. When making eye-contact with the enemy, the horse archers would withdraw to a nearby forest and camouflage themselves with leaves and branches; according to Jan Długosz, when the enemy entered the wood, they were "showered with arrows" and defeated.[25] The heavy cavalry consisted of the nobility, namely, the boyars and their guards, the viteji (lit. "brave ones", small nobility) and the curteni — the Court Cavalry (all nominally part of the Small Host). In times of war, boyars were compelled by the feudal system of allegiance to supply the prince with troops in accordance with the extent of their manorial domain.

Other troops consisted of professional foot soldiers (lefegii) which fulfilled the heavy infantry role, and the plăieși, free peasants whose role was that of border guards: they guarded the mountain passes and were prepared to ambush the enemy and to fight delaying actions.

In the absence of the prince, command was assigned to the Mare Spătar (Grand Sword-Bearer - a military office) or to the Mare Vornic (approx. Governor of the Country; a civilian office second only to the Voievod, which was filled by the prince himself). Supplying the troops was by tradition-later-made-into-law the duty of the inhabitants of those lands on which the soldiers were present at a given time.

The Moldavians' (as well as Wallachians') favourite military doctrine in (defensive) wars was a scorched earth policy combined with harassment of the advancing enemy using hit-and-run tactics and disruption of communication and supply lines, followed by a large scale ambush: a weakened enemy would be lured in a place where it would find itself in a position hard or impossible to defend. A general attack would follow, often with devastating results. The shattered remains of what was once the enemy army would be pursued closely and harassed all the way to the border and sometimes beyond. A typical example of successful employments of this scenario is the Battle of Vaslui.

Towards the end of the 15th century, especially after the success of guns and cannons, mercenaries became a dominant force in the country's military. With the economic demands created by the stagnation of the Ottoman Empire, the force diminished and included only mercenaries such as the seimeni.

The 1829 Treaty of Adrianople allowed Moldavia to again maintain its own troops, no longer acting as an auxiliary under strict Ottoman supervision, and assigned red over blue pennants (see Flag and coat of arms of Moldavia). Their renewed existence under Mihail Sturdza was a major symbol and rally point for the nationalist cause, aiding in bringing about the 1848 Moldavian revolution.

Fleet

An early mention of a Moldavian naval fleet is found in connection with the rule of Aron Tiranul, who used it to help Wallachian ruler Michael the Brave establish his control over the Chilia branch of the Danube and Dobruja.

The Treaty of Adrianople provided for a Moldavian self-defense naval force, to be composed of caicque vessels. Schooners armed with cannons were first built in the 1840s. Along with patrolling the Danube, these made their way on its tributaries, the Siret and the Prut River.

Flags and historical coats of arms

MoldavianOldCoatWijsbergen

Coat of arms of Moldavia under Prince Stephen III the Great

Coa Romania Country History Ștefan cel Mare (1457-1504) v2

Coat of arms of Stephen III of Moldavia

Historical Baia Suceava CoA 14th century

14th century coat of arms of Baia, the first capital of Moldavia

Biserica Sfântul Dumitru din Suceava13

Coat of arms of the Principality of Moldavia depicted on the walls of St. Demetrius Church in Suceava

Moldova herb

Coat of arms of the principality of Moldavia, at the Cetățuia Monastery in Iași

Slatina Lapusneanu

16th century coat of arms of Moldavia during Alexandru Lăpușneanu's reign, on one of the walls from Slatina Monastery

Stema Mihai Viteazul

Seal of Michael the Brave (showing the arms of Wallachia, Moldavia, and Transylvania)

Coa Dimitrie Cantemir 1734

Coat of arms of Dimitrie Cantemir

Wappen Herzogtum Bukowina

Historical coat of arms of the Duchy of Bukovina

Palace of Justice, Vienna - Aula, Coat of Arms - Herzogtum Bukowina 4216

Coat of arms of the Duchy of Bukovina on display at the Palace of Justice in Vienna, Austria

Coat of arms of Ioan Radu Cantacuzino, 1744

Cantacuzino family coat of arms

Moruzi family coat of arms

Moruzi family coat of arms

Sturdza family coat of arms (Eugene Rizo Rangabé version)

Sturdza family coat of arms

Stema Moldovei

Coat of Arms of the Principality of Moldavia (19th century depiction)

Stema Bucovinei

Coat of arms of Bukovina

Stema Basarabiei

Coat of arms of the Bessarabia

Flag of the Moldavian Democratic Republic

Flag of the Moldavian Democratic Republic (1917–18)

Etendard d'Etienne le Grand - 28 juillet 1917, à la Sorbonne (Agence Rol)

Medieval flag of Moldavia held by two Romanian soldiers at Sorbonne, Paris, France

Geography

PhysicalAncientMoldavia
Physical map of Moldavia

Geographically, Moldavia is limited by the Carpathian Mountains to the West, the Cheremosh River to the North, the Dniester River to the East and the Danube and Black Sea to the South. The Prut River flows approximately through its middle from north to south.

Of late 15th century Moldavia, with an area of approximately 93,500 km2 (36,100 sq mi), the biggest part and the core of the former principality is located in Romania (45.5%), followed by the Republic of Moldova (31.9%), and Ukraine (22.6%). This represents 87.7% of the Republic of Moldova's surface, 18.3% of Romania's surface, and 3.5% of Ukraine's surface.

The region is mostly hilly, with a range of mountains in the west, and plain areas in the southeast. Moldavia's highest altitude is Ineu peak (2,279 m), which is also the westernmost point of the region.

Administrative divisions

Population

Historical population

Contemporary historians estimate the population (historically referred to as Moldavians) of the Moldavian Principality in the 15th century, at between 250,000 - 600,000 people,[26][27] but an extensive catagraphy was first conducted in 1769-1774.[28]

In 1848, the northwestern part, annexed in 1775 by the Habsburg Empire, Bukovina, had a population of 377,571; in 1856, the eastern half of Moldavia, Bessarabia, annexed in 1812 by the Russian Empire, had a population of 990,274, while the population of Moldavia proper (the western half), in 1859, was 1,463,927.[29]

Cities

The largest cities (as per last censuses) and metropolitan areas in the Moldavia region are:

Чернівці, пл.Театральна 1, Міський театр

Cernăuți (Ukrainian: Chernivtsi)

Education

AcademiaMihaileana
Academia Mihăileană was the first modern institution of higher learning in Moldavia

In 1562, the so-called Schola Latina (a Latin Academic College) was founded in Cotnari, near Iași, a school which marked the beginnings of the organized humanistic education institutions in Moldavia.[30]

The first institute of higher learning that functioned on the territory of Romania was Academia Vasiliană (1640),[31] founded by Prince Vasile Lupu as a Higher School for Latin and Slavonic Languages, followed by the Princely Academy, in 1707. The first high education structure in Romanian language was established in the autumn of 1813, when Gheorghe Asachi laid the foundations of a class of engineers, its activities taking place within the Greek Princely Academy.

After 1813, other moments marked the development of higher education in Romanian language, regarding both humanities and the technical science. Academia Mihăileană, founded in 1835 by Prince Mihail Sturdza, is considered the first Romanian superior institute. In 1860, three faculties part of the Academia Mihăileană formed the nucleus for the newly established University of Iași, the first Romanian modern university.[32]

Culture

Albina Romaneasca - Coperta - Nr. 9 - 1 februarie 1840
Albina Românească (The Romanian Bee) was, in 1829, the first Romanian-language journal published in Moldavia

Literature

Magazines and newspapers

Theatre

Architecture

Image gallery

Cetatea de Scaun a Sucevei la ceas de seara

Panoramic view of Suceava Seat Fortress

Cetatea Neamțului 3

Neamț Citadel

Білгород-Дністровський 2016 (10) Генуезький замок

Cetatea Albă Fortress, at the confluence of Dniester and the Black Sea

Voronet Intrare

Voroneț Monastery (1488). Frescoes painted on the exterior of the Church of St. George

Manastirea Bogdana

Bogdana Monastery in Rădăuți, the oldest stone monastery in Moldavia

Biserica Sf. Treime din Siret13

Holy Trinity Church (1352) in Siret

Manastirea Neamtului - July 2008 (10)

Neamț Monastery (1497) window detail

Biserica Sf. Gheorghe din Harlau7

St. George's Church in Hârlău

Catedrala Mitropolitana02

Metropolitan Cathedral in Iași

Palatul Ghika -vedere din fata

Ghica Palace in Dofteana

Palatul Stirbei.

Știrbei Palace in Dărmănești

Ruginoasa 5

Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza's Palace at Ruginoasa

Castelul Sturdza din Miclăușeni3

Sturdza Castle at Miclăușeni

Palatul Roznovanu - Iasi

Roznovanu Palace in Iași

Piața Palat, Iași, Roumanie

Palace of Culture in Iași

Palatul Ghica front view

Ghica Palace in Comănești

AIRM - Doors Open Day @ mansion of Manuc Bei - dec 2015 - 06

Manuc Bei's Inn in Hîncești, present-day Republic of Moldova

Ceahlau 2

Ceahlău Massif in the western part

Iarna - panoramio (7)

Winter landscape in Suceava County

Stâncă calcaroasă, Fetești, RM

Calcar stone near Fetești, northern Republic of Moldova

See also

References

  1. ^ Olson, James Stuart; Pappas, Lee Brigance; Pappas, Nicholas Charles; Pappas, Nicholas C. J. (1994). An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of the Russian and Soviet Empires. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 550. ISBN 9780313274978.
  2. ^ Where did the name Moldova come from? Archived 2010-01-27 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Etymology of Moldova Archived 2011-09-19 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Ion Ciortan, Măriuca Radu, Octavian Ion Penda, Descriptio Romaniae (cartographie), National Museum of Maps & old books, Autonomous regie Monitorul oficial, Bucharest 2004
  5. ^ Octavian-Liviu Șovan, Zorile creștinismului în nord-estul Moldovei-repere arheologice, Revista Forum cultural, Anul V, nr.4, decembrie 2005 (19)
  6. ^ A.V. Boldur, Istoria Basarabiei, Editura V. Frunza, p 111-119
  7. ^ Spinei 1986, p. 57.
  8. ^ "Bolokhovians". Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine. Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies. 2001. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-06-16. Retrieved 2006-06-16.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Jackson 2009, p. 139
  11. ^ Sălăgean 2005, p. 196.
  12. ^ Spinei 1986, p. 131.
  13. ^ Jackson 2009, p. 30
  14. ^ Vásáry 2005, p. 30.
  15. ^ The Annals of Jan Długosz, p. 273
  16. ^ Michael the Brave at Encyclopædia Britannica
  17. ^ George W. White (2000). Nationalism and Territory: Constructing Group Identity in Southeastern Europe. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-8476-9809-7.
  18. ^ A document issued by Michael the Brave in 1600, in Iași
  19. ^ King, p.22-23; Hitchins, p. 41
  20. ^ a b c d Viorel Achim, The Roma in Romanian History, Central European University Press, Budapest, 2004, ISBN 963-9241-84-9
  21. ^ Ștefan Ștefănescu, Istoria medie a României, Vol. I, Editura Universității din București, Bucharest, 1991 (in Romanian)
  22. ^ a b Neagu Djuvara, Între Orient și Occident. Țările române la începutul epocii moderne, Humanitas, Bucharest, 1995. ISBN 973-28-0523-4 (in Romanian)
  23. ^ Will Guy, Between Past and Future: The Roma of Central and Eastern Europe, University of Hertfordshire Press, Hatfield, 2001. ISBN 1-902806-07-7
  24. ^ The Annals of Jan Długosz, p. 566
  25. ^ Długosz, p. 438
  26. ^ East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500, Jean W. Sedlar, page 255, 1994
  27. ^ Cavalerii Apocalipsului: Calamitatile Naturale Din Trecutul Romaniei (Pana La 1800), Paul Cernovodeanu, Paul Binder, 1993, ISBN 973-95477-3-7, Romanian Edition
  28. ^ First activities of population counting conducted on the Romanian territory of today
  29. ^ Moldavians at the 2002 census (in Romanian)
  30. ^ Schola Latina - The Foundation of the first School in which mathematics was taught in Roumania
  31. ^ History of Education
  32. ^ History of the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași
  • Gheorghe I. Brătianu, Sfatul domnesc și Adunarea Stărilor în Principatele Române, Bucharest, 1995
  • Vlad Georgescu, Istoria ideilor politice românești (1369-1878), Munich, 1987
  • Ștefan Ștefănescu, Istoria medie a României, Bucharest, 1991

External links

Alexandru Ioan Cuza

Alexandru Ioan Cuza (pronounced [alekˈsandru iˈo̯an ˈkuza] (listen), or Alexandru Ioan I, also anglicised as Alexander John Cuza; 20 March 1820 – 15 May 1873) was Prince of Moldavia, Prince of Wallachia, and later Domnitor (Ruler) of the Romanian Principalities. He was a prominent figure of the Revolution of 1848 in Moldavia. He initiated a series of reforms that contributed to the modernization of Romanian society and of state structures.

Bacău

Bacău (Romanian pronunciation: [baˈkəw] (listen); German: Bakau, Hungarian: Bákó; Latin: Bacovia) is the main city in Bacău County, Romania. At the 2016 national estimation it had a population of 196,883, making it the 12th largest city in Romania. The city is situated in the historical region of Moldavia, at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, and on the Bistrița River (which meets the Siret River about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) to the south of Bacău). The Ghimeș Pass links Bacău to the region of Transylvania.

Battle of Vaslui

The Battle of Vaslui (also referred to as the Battle of Podul Înalt or the Battle of Racova) was fought on 10 January 1475, between Stephen III of Moldavia and the Ottoman governor of Rumelia, Hadım Suleiman Pasha. The battle took place at Podul Înalt (the High Bridge), near the town of Vaslui, in Moldavia (now part of eastern Romania). The Ottoman troops numbered up to 120,000, facing about 40,000 Moldavian troops, plus smaller numbers of allied and mercenary troops.Stephen inflicted a decisive defeat on the Ottomans, described as "the greatest ever secured by Christianity against Islam," with casualties, according to Venetian and Polish records, reaching beyond 40,000 on the Ottoman side. Mara Brankovic (Mara Hatun), the former younger wife of Murad II, told a Venetian envoy that the invasion had been the worst ever defeat for the Ottomans. Stephen was later awarded the title "Athleta Christi" (Champion of Christ) by Pope Sixtus IV, who referred to him as "verus christianae fidei athleta" ("the true defender of the Christian faith").According to the Polish chronicler Jan Długosz, Stephen did not celebrate his victory; instead, he fasted for forty days on bread and water and forbade anyone to attribute the victory to him, insisting that credit be given only to the Lord.

Bessarabia

Bessarabia (; Gagauz: Besarabiya; Romanian: Basarabia; Russian: Бессарабия, Bessarabiya; Turkish: Besarabya; Ukrainian: Бессара́бія, Bessarabiya; Bulgarian: Бесарабия, Besarabiya) is a historical region in Eastern Europe, bounded by the Dniester river on the east and the Prut river on the west. About two thirds of Bessarabia lies within modern-day Moldova, with the Ukrainian Budjak region covering the southern coastal region and part of the Ukrainian Chernivtsi Oblast covering a small area in the north.

In the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish War (1806–1812), and the ensuing Peace of Bucharest, the eastern parts of the Principality of Moldavia, an Ottoman vassal, along with some areas formerly under direct Ottoman rule, were ceded to Imperial Russia. The acquisition was among the Empire's last territorial acquisitions in Europe. The newly acquired territories were organised as the Governorate of Bessarabia, adopting a name previously used for the southern plains, between the Dniester and the Danube rivers. Following the Crimean War, in 1856, the southern areas of Bessarabia were returned to Moldavian rule; Russian rule was restored over the whole of the region in 1878, when Romania, the result of Moldavia's union with Wallachia, was pressured into exchanging those territories for the Dobruja.

In 1917, in the wake of the Russian Revolution, the area constituted itself as the Moldavian Democratic Republic, an autonomous republic part of a proposed federative Russian state. Bolshevik agitation in late 1917 and early 1918 resulted in the intervention of the Romanian Army, ostensibly to pacify the region. Soon after, the parliamentary assembly declared independence, and then union with the Kingdom of Romania. The legality of these acts was however disputed, most prominently by the Soviet Union, which regarded the area as a territory occupied by Romania.

In 1940, after securing the assent of Nazi Germany through the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviet Union pressured Romania, under threat of war, into withdrawing from Bessarabia, allowing the Red Army to annex the region. The area was formally integrated into the Soviet Union: the core joined parts of the Moldavian ASSR to form the Moldavian SSR, while territories inhabited by Slavic majorities in the north and the south of Bessarabia were transferred to the Ukrainian SSR. Axis-aligned Romania recaptured the region in 1941 with the success of Operation München during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, but lost it in 1944 as the tide of war changed. In 1947, the Soviet-Romanian border along the Prut was internationally recognised by the Paris Treaty that ended World War II.

During the process of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Moldavian and Ukrainian SSRs proclaimed their independence in 1991, becoming the modern states of Moldova and Ukraine, while preserving the existing partition of Bessarabia. Following a short war in the early 1990s, the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic was proclaimed in the Transnistria, extending its authority also over the municipality of Bender on the right bank of Dniester river. Part of the Gagauz-inhabited areas in the southern Bessarabia was organised in 1994 as an autonomous region within Moldova.

Bessarabia Governorate

Bessarabia Oblast was an oblast (1812–1871) and later a guberniya (Guberniya of Bessarabia, 1871–1917) in the Russian Empire. It included the eastern part of the Principality of Moldavia along with the neighboring Ottoman-ruled territories annexed by Russia by the Treaty of Bucharest following the Russo-Turkish War, 1806-1812. The Governorate was disbanded in 1917, with the establishment of Sfatul Ţării, a national assembly which proclaimed the Moldavian Democratic Republic in December 1917. The latter united with Romania in April 1918.

Around 65% of the territory of the former governorate now belongs to the Republic of Moldova (and the breakaway region of Transnistria), and around 35% to Ukraine.

Boyars of Wallachia and Moldavia

The boyars of Wallachia and Moldavia were the nobility of the Danubian Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia. The title was either inherited or granted by the Hospodar, often together with an administrative function. The boyars held much of the political power in the principalities and, until the Phanariote era, they elected the Hospodar.

As such, until the 19th century, the system oscillated between an oligarchy and an autocracy with the power concentrated in the hospodar's hands.

Bukovina

Bukovina (Romanian: Bucovina; German: Bukowina/Buchenland; Polish: Bukowina; Hungarian: Bukovina, Ukrainian: Буковина Bukovyna; see also other languages) is a historical region, variously described as in Central or Eastern Europe. The region is located on the northern slopes of the central Eastern Carpathians and the adjoining plains, today divided between Romania and Ukraine.

A region of Moldavia during the Middle Ages, the territory of what became known as Bukovina was, from 1774 to 1918, an administrative division of the Habsburg Monarchy, the Austrian Empire, and Austria-Hungary. After World War I, Romania established its control over Bukovina. In 1940, the northern half of Bukovina was annexed by the Soviet Union in violation of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, and currently is part of Ukraine.

Bârlad

Bârlad (Romanian pronunciation: [bɨrˈlad] (listen)) is a city in Vaslui County, Romania. It lies on the banks of the Bârlad River, which waters the high plains of Moldavia.

At Bârlad the railway from Iași diverges, one branch skirting the river Siret, the other skirting the Prut; both reunite at Galați. Along with a maze of narrow and winding streets, Bârlad features several notable modern buildings, including the hospital administered by the Saint Spiridion Foundation of Iași. In the vicinity of the city are ruins of a Roman camp.

The city is the birthplace of Romanian Domnitor (Ruler) and diplomat Alexandru Ioan Cuza.

Cantemirești

Cantemireşti or Cantemir was a Moldavian boyar family. In the 17th and 18th centuries it brought forth several Voivodes of Moldavia. In the 18th century, the family moved to Russia, Great Britain, and France.

The most famous members are:

Constantin Cantemir (d. 1693), Voivode of Moldavia

Antioh or Antioch Cantemir (d. 1726), son of Constantin, Voivode of Moldavia

Dimitrie or Demetrius Cantemir (d. 1723), son of Constantin, Voivode of Moldavia and a prolific man of letters

Antiochus or Antioch Cantemir (d. 1744), son of Demetrius Cantemir, man of letters and Russian diplomat

Danubian Principalities

Danubian Principalities (Romanian: Principatele Dunărene, Serbian: Дунавске кнежевине, translit. Dunavske kneževine) was a conventional name given to the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, which emerged in the early 14th century. The term was coined in the Habsburg Monarchy after the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (1774) in order to designate an area on the lower Danube with a common geopolitical situation. The term was largely used then by foreign political circles and public opinion until the union of the two Principalities (1859). Alongside Transylvania, the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia became the basis for the Kingdom of Romania, and by extension the modern Romanian nation-state.In a wider context, the concept may also apply to the Principality of Serbia as one of The Principalities of the Danube which came under the suzerainty (alongside Wallachia and Moldavia) of the Porte from 1817.

List of rulers of Moldavia

This is a List of rulers of Moldavia, from the first mention of the medieval polity east of the Carpathians and until its disestablishment in 1862, when it united with Wallachia, the other Danubian Principality, to form the modern-day state of Romania.

Michael the Brave

Michael the Brave (Romanian: Mihai Viteazu(l) pronounced [miˈhaj viˈte̯azu(l)] or Mihai Bravu pronounced [miˈhaj ˈbravu], Hungarian: Vitéz Mihály; 1558 – 9 August 1601) was the Prince of Wallachia (as Michael II, 1593–1601), Prince of Moldavia (1600) and de facto ruler of Transylvania (1599–1600). He is considered one of Romania's greatest national heroes. Michael was seen by 19th-century nationalists as the first author of Romanian unity.His rule over Wallachia began in the autumn of 1593. Two years later, war with the Ottomans began, a conflict in which the Prince fought the Battle of Călugăreni, considered one of the most important battles of his reign. Although the Wallachians emerged victorious from the battle, Michael was forced to retreat with his troops and wait for aid from his allies, Prince Sigismund Báthory of Transylvania and Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II. The war continued until a peace finally emerged in January 1597, but this lasted for only a year and a half. Peace was again reached in late 1599, when Michael was unable to continue the war due to lack of support from his allies.

In 1599, Michael won the Battle of Șelimbăr and soon entered Alba Iulia, becoming the imperial governor (i.e. de facto ruler) of Transylvania. A few months later, Michael's troops invaded Moldavia and reached its capital, Iaşi. The Moldavian leader Ieremia Movilă fled to Poland and Michael was declared Prince of Moldavia. Michael kept the control of all three provinces for less than a year before the nobles of Transylvania and certain boyars in Moldavia and Wallachia rose against him in a series of revolts. Thereafter, Michael allied with the Imperial General Giorgio Basta and defeated an uprising of the Hungarian nobility at Gurăslău in Transylvania. Immediately after this victory, Rudolf ordered the assassination of Michael, an action carried out on 9 August 1601 by Basta's men.

Moldova

Moldova ( (listen), sometimes UK: ), officially the Republic of Moldova (Romanian: Republica Moldova), is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered by Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east, and south. The capital city is Chișinău.

Most of the Moldovan territory was a part of the Principality of Moldavia from the 14th century until 1812, when it was ceded to the Russian Empire by the Ottoman Empire (to which Moldavia was a vassal state) and became known as Bessarabia. In 1856, southern Bessarabia was returned to Moldavia, which three years later united with Wallachia to form Romania, but Russian rule was restored over the whole of the region in 1878. During the 1917 Russian Revolution, Bessarabia briefly became autonomous and then the independent Moldavian Democratic Republic until it was integrated into Romania in 1918 following a vote of its assembly. The decision was disputed by Soviet Russia, which in 1924 allowed the establishment, within the Ukrainian SSR, of a Moldavian autonomous republic (MASSR) on partial Moldovan-inhabited territories to the east of the Dniester. In 1940, as a consequence of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Romania was compelled to cede Bessarabia to the Soviet Union, leading to the creation of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (Moldavian SSR), which included the greater part of Bessarabia and the westernmost strip of the former MASSR.

On 27 August 1991, as the dissolution of the Soviet Union was under way, the Moldavian SSR declared independence and took the name Moldova. The Constitution of Moldova was adopted in 1994. The strip of the Moldovan territory on the east bank of the Dniester river has been under the de facto control of the breakaway government of Transnistria since 1990.

Due to a decrease in industrial and agricultural output following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the service sector has grown to dominate Moldova's economy and is over 60% of the nation's GDP. Its economy is the poorest in Europe in per capita terms and has the lowest Human Development Index in the continent. Moldova is also the least visited country in Europe by tourists with only 11,000 annually recorded visitors from abroad.Moldova is a parliamentary republic with a president as head of state and a prime minister as head of government. It is a member state of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) and aspires to join the European Union.

Stephen III of Moldavia

Stephen III of Moldavia, known as Stephen the Great (Romanian: Ștefan cel Mare; pronunciation: [ˈʃtefan t͡ʃel ˈmare] ; died on 2 July 1504) was voivode (or prince) of Moldavia from 1457 to 1504. He was the son of and co-ruler with Bogdan II of Moldavia who was murdered in 1451 in a conspiracy organized by his brother and Stephen's uncle Peter III Aaron who took the throne. Stephen fled to Hungary, and later to Wallachia, but with the support of Vlad III Dracula, Voivode of Wallachia, he returned to Moldavia, forcing Aaron to seek refuge in Poland in the summer of 1457. Teoctist I, Metropolitan of Moldavia, anointed Stephen prince. He attacked Poland and prevented Casimir IV Jagiellon, King of Poland, from supporting Peter Aaron, but eventually acknowledged Casimir's suzerainty in 1459.

Stephen decided to say a message to a professor, and it was to Boboc Valentain Chilia (now Kiliya in Ukraine), an important port on the Danube, which brought him into conflict with Hungary and Wallachia. He besieged the town during the Ottoman invasion of Wallachia in 1462, but was seriously wounded during the siege. Two years later, he captured the town. He promised support to the leaders of the Three Nations of Transylvania against Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, in 1467. Corvinus invaded Moldavia, but Stephen defeated him in the Battle of Baia. Peter Aaron attacked Moldavia with Hungarian support in December 1470, but was also defeated by Stephen and executed, along with the Moldavian boyars who still endorsed him. Stephen restored old fortresses and built new ones, which improved Moldavia's defence system as well as strengthened central administration.

Ottoman expansion threatened Moldavian ports in the region of the Black Sea. In 1473, Stephen stopped paying tribute (haraç) to the Ottoman sultan and launched a series of campaigns against Wallachia in order to replace its rulers – who had accepted Ottoman suzerainty – with his protégés. However, each prince who seized the throne with Stephen's support was soon forced to pay homage to the sultan. Stephen eventually defeated a large Ottoman army in the Battle of Vaslui in 1475. Stephen was referred to as Athleta Christi ("Champion of Christ") by Pope Sixtus IV, even though Moldavia's hopes for military support went unfulfilled.

The following year, Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II routed Stephen in the Battle of Valea Albă, but the lack of provisions and the outbreak of a plague forced him to withdraw from Moldavia. Taking advantage of a truce with Matthias Corvinus, the Ottomans captured Chilia, their Crimean Tatar allies Cetatea Albă (now Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi in Ukraine) in 1483. Although Corvinus granted two Transylvanian estates to Stephen, the Moldavian prince paid homage to Casimir, who promised to support him to regain Chilia and Cetatea Albă. Stephen's efforts to capture the two ports ended in failure. From 1486, he again paid a yearly tribute to the Ottomans. During the following years, dozens of stone churches and monasteries were built in Moldavia, which contributed to the development of a specific Moldavian architecture.

Casimir IV's successor, John I Albert, wanted to grant Moldavia to his younger brother, Sigismund, but Stephen's diplomacy prevented him from invading Moldavia for years. John Albert attacked Moldavia in 1497, but Stephen and his Hungarian and Ottoman allies routed the Polish army in the Battle of the Cosmin Forest. Stephen again tried to recapture Chilia and Cetatea Albă, but had to acknowledge the loss of the two ports to the Ottomans in 1503. During his last years, his son and co-ruler Bogdan III played an active role in government. Stephen's long rule represented a period of stability in the history of Moldavia. From the 16th century onwards both his subjects and foreigners remembered him as a great ruler. Modern Romanians regard him as one of their greatest national heroes, although he also endures as a cult figure in Moldovenism. After the Romanian Orthodox Church canonized him in 1992, he is venerated as "Stephen the Great and Holy" (Ștefan cel Mare și Sfânt).

Suceava

Suceava (Romanian: [suˈt͡ʃe̯ava]) is the largest city and the seat of Suceava County, situated in the historical region of Moldavia, north-eastern Romania, and at the crossroads of Central and Eastern Europe respectively. During the late Middle Ages, more specifically from 1388 to 1564, the city was the third capital of the Principality of Moldavia.Between 1775 and 1918, Suceava was the third most populous urban settlement of the Duchy of Bukovina (German: Herzogtum Bukowina), a constituent province of the Austrian Empire and subsequently a crown land within Austria-Hungary, being solely surpassed by Cernăuți (German: Czernowitz) and Rădăuți (German: Radautz), both located to the north.

Throughout this period of time, Suceava fulfilled the task of an important, strategically-located commercial border town with the then Romanian Old Kingdom (German: Altreich), receiving a large influx of German-speaking settlers in the process of the Josephine colonization (a community which has dwindled to a very feeble number in contemporary times).After 1918, along with the rest of Bukovina, Suceava became part of the enlarged Kingdom of Romania. Nowadays, within the economic framework of the European Union, the city is one of the most significant economic, touristic, and historical urban centres of the Romanian North-East development region.

United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia

The United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia was the official name of the personal union which later became Romania, adopted on 24 January 1859 (O.S.) (5 February N.S.) when Alexandru Ioan Cuza was elected as the Domnitor (Ruling Prince) of both principalities, which were autonomous but still vassals of the Ottoman Empire.

On 22 January (O.S.) (3 February N.S.) 1862, the Principality of Moldavia and the Principality of Wallachia formally united to create the Romanian United Principalities, the core of the Romanian nation state. In 1866 a new constitution came into effect, giving the country the name of Romania. The new state remained nominally a vassal of the Ottoman Empire. However, it only acknowledged the suzerainty of the Sublime Porte in a formal way. It had its own flag, anthem, and (from 1867) currency, and conducted its own foreign policy.

On 9 May 1877 (O.S.) (21 May N.S.), Romania proclaimed itself fully independent, and on 14 March (O.S.) (26 March N.S.) 1881, it became the Kingdom of Romania. After the First World War, Transylvania and other territories were also included.

Vlad the Impaler

Vlad III, known as Vlad the Impaler (Romanian: Vlad Țepeș, Bulgarian: Влад Цепеш, pronunciation: [ˈvlad ˈt͡sepeʃ] ) or Vlad Dracula ( (Romanian: Vlad Drăculea, pronunciation: [ˈdrəkule̯a] , Bulgarian: Влад Дракула); 1428/31 – 1476/77), was voivode (or prince) of Wallachia three times between 1448 and his death. He is often considered one of the most important rulers Wallachia had and a national hero of Romania.

He was the second son of Vlad Dracul, who became the ruler of Wallachia in 1436. Vlad and his younger brother, Radu, were held as hostages in the Ottoman Empire in 1442 to secure their father's loyalty. Vlad's father and eldest brother, Mircea, were murdered after John Hunyadi, regent-governor of Hungary, invaded Wallachia in 1447. Hunyadi installed Vlad's second cousin, Vladislav II, as the new voivode. Hunyadi launched a military campaign against the Ottomans in the autumn of 1448, and Vladislav accompanied him. Vlad broke into Wallachia with Ottoman support in October, but Vladislav returned and Vlad sought refuge in the Ottoman Empire before the end of the year. Vlad went to Moldavia in 1449 or 1450, and later to Hungary.

Relations between Hungary and Vladislav later deteriorated, and in 1456 Vlad invaded Wallachia with Hungarian support. Vladislav died fighting against him. Vlad began a purge among the Wallachian boyars to strengthen his position. He came into conflict with the Transylvanian Saxons, who supported his opponents, Dan and Basarab Laiotă (who were Vladislav's brothers), and Vlad's illegitimate half-brother, Vlad the Monk. Vlad plundered the Saxon villages, taking the captured people to Wallachia where he had them impaled (which inspired his cognomen). Peace was restored in 1460.

The Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed II, ordered Vlad to pay homage to him personally, but Vlad had the Sultan's two envoys captured and impaled. In February 1462, he attacked Ottoman territory, massacring tens of thousands of Turks and Bulgarians. Mehmed launched a campaign against Wallachia to replace Vlad with Vlad's younger brother, Radu. Vlad attempted to capture the sultan at Târgoviște during the night of 16–17 June 1462. The sultan and the main Ottoman army left Wallachia, but more and more Wallachians deserted to Radu. Vlad went to Transylvania to seek assistance from Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, in late 1462, but Corvinus had him imprisoned.

Vlad was held in captivity in Visegrád from 1463 to 1475. During this period, anecdotes about his cruelty started to spread in Germany and Italy. He was released at the request of Stephen III of Moldavia in the summer of 1475. He fought in Corvinus's army against the Ottomans in Bosnia in early 1476. Hungarian and Moldavian troops helped him to force Basarab Laiotă (who had dethroned Vlad's brother, Radu) to flee from Wallachia in November. Basarab returned with Ottoman support before the end of the year. Vlad was killed in battle before 10 January 1477. Books describing Vlad's cruel acts were among the first bestsellers in the German-speaking territories. In Russia, popular stories suggested that Vlad was able to strengthen central government only through applying brutal punishments, and a similar view was adopted by most Romanian historians in the 19th century. Vlad's reputation for cruelty and his patronymic inspired the name of the vampire Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula.

Vrancea County

Vrancea (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈvrant͡ʃe̯a]) is a county (județ) in Romania, with its seat at Focșani. It is mostly in the historical region of Moldavia but the southern part, below the Milcov River, is in Muntenia.

Western Moldavia

Western Moldavia (Romanian: Moldova), also called Moldavia or Romanian Moldavia, is the historic and geographical part of the former Principality of Moldavia situated in eastern and north-eastern Romania. Until its union with Wallachia in 1859, the Principality of Moldavia also included, at various times in its history, the regions of Bessarabia (with the Budjak), all of Bukovina, and Hertza; the larger part of the former is nowadays the independent state of Moldova, while the rest of it, the northern part of Bukovina, and Hertza form territories of Ukraine.

The Romanian region itself consists of eight counties, spanning over 19% of Romania's territory. Most of Moldavia (6 out of 8 counties) is part of the Nord-Est development region, while the two southern counties are located in Sud-Est development region.

Banat Banat (1918–)a
Dobruja Dobruja (1878–)
Moldavia Moldavia (1859–)b
Transylvania Transylvania (1918–)ae
Wallachia Wallachia (1859–)b
Fiefs of the Polish Kingdom
Fiefs of the Crown of
the Polish Kingdom
With the Grand Duchy
of Lithuania

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