Bessarabia

Bessarabia

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For other uses, see Bessarabia (disambiguation)
Bessarabia (disambiguation)
Bessarabia may refer to:*Bessarabia*Oblast of Moldavia and Bessarabia*Bessarabia Oblast, 1812-1871*Bessarabia Governorate, Russia 1871-1917*Bessarabia Governorate , 1941-1944*Bessarabian Soviet Socialist Republic, proclaimed 1919...

.


Bessarabia is a historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west.

This was the name by which Imperial Russia designated the eastern part of the Principality of Moldavia
Moldavia
Moldavia is a geographic and historical region and former principality in Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester river...

, ceded by the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 (to which Moldavia was a vassal
Vassal
A vassal or feudatory is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held...

) to Russia at the Peace of Bucharest in the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish War, 1806-1812
Russo-Turkish War, 1806-1812
The Russo-Turkish War was one of many wars fought between Imperial Russia and the Ottoman Empire.- Background :The war broke out in 1805–1806 against the background of the Napoleonic Wars...

. While this eastern part became the Governorate of Bessarabia
Bessarabia Governorate
Bessarabia was an oblast and later a guberniya in the Russian Empire. It was the eastern part of the Principality of Moldavia annexed by Russia by the Treaty of Bucharest following the Russo-Turkish War, 1806-1812...

, the western part of Moldavia united with Wallachia
Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

 in 1859 in what would become the Kingdom of Romania
Kingdom of Romania
The Kingdom of Romania was the Romanian state based on a form of parliamentary monarchy between 13 March 1881 and 30 December 1947, specified by the first three Constitutions of Romania...

. For a short period between 1856 and 1878, two of the nine traditional counties of Bessarabia were also part of Moldavia and then Romania.

In 1918, shortly before the end of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Bessarabia declared its independence from Russia as the Moldavian Democratic Republic
Moldavian Democratic Republic
The Moldavian Democratic Republic , a.k.a. Moldavian Republic, was the state proclaimed on by Sfatul Ţării of Bessarabia, elected in October-November 1917 in the wake of the February Revolution and disintegration of the political power in the Russian Empire.Sfatul Ţării was its legislative body,...

, and after three months united with the Kingdom of Romania
Union of Bessarabia with Romania
On , the Sfatul Ţării, or National Council, of Bessarabia proclaimed union with the Kingdom of Romania.-Governorate of Bessarabia:The 1812 Treaty of Bucharest between the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empires provided for Russian annexation of the eastern half of the territory of the Principality...

. In 1940, Bessarabia was occupied by the USSR in accordance with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

 with Nazi Germany. Subsequently, Romania joined the Axis Powers
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

 and recaptured it in 1941 and lost again in 1944. In 1947, the Soviet-Romanian border set along the Prut River was internationally recognised by the Paris Treaty that ended World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The core part of Bessarabia was joined with parts of the Moldavian ASSR
Moldavian ASSR
The Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic , shortened to Moldavian ASSR or, less frequently, Moldovan ASSR, was an autonomous republic of the Ukrainian SSR between 12 October 1924 and 2 August 1940, encompassing modern Transnistria The Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic...

 (Transnistria
Transnistria
Transnistria is a breakaway territory located mostly on a strip of land between the Dniester River and the eastern Moldovan border to Ukraine...

) to form the Moldavian SSR
Moldavian SSR
The Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic , commonly abbreviated to Moldavian SSR or MSSR, was one of the 15 republics of the Soviet Union...

. At the same time, smaller parts of Bessarabia, in the south (two traditional counties; Budjak
Budjak
Budjak or Budzhak is a historical region in the Odessa Oblast of Ukraine. Lying along the Black Sea between the Danube and Dniester rivers this multiethnic region was the southern part of Bessarabia...

) and north (half of one county), were transferred to the Ukrainian SSR
Ukrainian SSR
The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic or in short, the Ukrainian SSR was a sovereign Soviet Socialist state and one of the fifteen constituent republics of the Soviet Union lasting from its inception in 1922 to the breakup in 1991...

.

During the process of dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Moldavian SSR declared itself sovereign (23 June 1990) and declared independence from the USSR on 27 August, 1991, becoming the Republic of Moldova
Moldova
Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

. The areas allotted to the Ukrainian SSR in 1940 became part of the new independent Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 since 1991, while the area roughly corresponding to Transnistria became the self-proclaimed Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic and is not controlled by the government of the Republic of Moldova.

Geography


The region is bounded by the Dniester River to the north and east, the Prut
Prut
The Prut is a long river in Eastern Europe. In part of its course it forms the border between Romania and Moldova.-Overview:...

 to the west and the lower River Danube and the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 to the south. It has approximately 17600 sq mi (45,583.8 km²). The area is mostly hilly plains with flat steppes. It is very fertile for agriculture, and it also has some lignite
Lignite
Lignite, often referred to as brown coal, or Rosebud coal by Northern Pacific Railroad,is a soft brown fuel with characteristics that put it somewhere between coal and peat...

 deposits and stone quarries. People living in the area grow sugar beet
Sugar beet
Sugar beet, a cultivated plant of Beta vulgaris, is a plant whose tuber contains a high concentration of sucrose. It is grown commercially for sugar production. Sugar beets and other B...

s, sunflower
Sunflower
Sunflower is an annual plant native to the Americas. It possesses a large inflorescence . The sunflower got its name from its huge, fiery blooms, whose shape and image is often used to depict the sun. The sunflower has a rough, hairy stem, broad, coarsely toothed, rough leaves and circular heads...

s, wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

, tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

, wine grapes and fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

. They also raise sheep and cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

. Currently, the main industry in the region is agricultural processing.

The region's main cities are Chişinău
Chisinau
Chișinău is the capital and largest municipality of Moldova. It is also its main industrial and commercial centre and is located in the middle of the country, on the river Bîc...

, the capital of Moldova, Izmail
Izmail
Izmail is a historic town near the Danube river in the Odessa Oblast of south-western Ukraine. Serving as the administrative center of the Izmail Raion , the city itself is also designated as a separate raion within the oblast....

, Bilhorod-Dnistrovs'kyi (historically called Cetatea Albă / Akkerman). Other towns of administrative or historical importance include: Khotyn
Khotyn
Khotyn is a city in Chernivtsi Oblast of western Ukraine, and is the administrative center of Khotyn Raion within the oblast, and is located south-west of Kamianets-Podilskyi. According to the 2001 Ukrainian census, it has a population of 11,124...

, Lipcani
Lipcani
Lipcani is a town in Briceni District, Moldova. It is also a border crossing between Moldova and Romania.- Overview :Lipcani is located on the banks of the Prut river, which forms the border with Romania. The border with Ukraine is also only a few kilometers to the north. Lipcani is located in...

, Briceni
Briceni
Briceni is a city in northern Moldova. It is the seat of Briceni District.At the 2004 census, the city had a population of 8,765...

, Soroca
Soroca
Soroca is a Moldovan city situated on the Nistru river about 160 km north of Chişinău. It is the administrative center of Soroca District.- History :The city has its origin in the medieval Genoese trade post of Olchionia, or Alchona...

, Bălţi
Balti
Balti can refer to:* Balti language, a language spoken in Baltistan in Pakistan and Ladakh in Kashmir* Balti people, Muslims of Ladakhi/Tibetan origin from Baltistan in Pakistan and Ladakh in Kashmir...

, Orhei
Orhei
Orhei is a city and the administrative centre of Orhei District in Moldova with a population of 25,680. Orhei is approximately 50 kilometers north of the capital, Chişinău.-Demographics:...

, Ungheni
Ungheni
----Ungheni is the seventh largest city in Moldova and, since 2003, the seat of Ungheni District.There is a bridge across the Prut and a border checkpoint to Romania. There is another border town with the same name in Romania , on the other side of the Prut River.- History :The first historical...

, Bender/Tighina
Tighina
Bender or Bendery, also known as Tighina is a city within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova under de facto control of the unrecognized Transnistria Republic since 1992...

, Cahul
Cahul
-Demographics:According to the last Moldovan census from 2004 there were 35,488 people living within the city of Cahul and 1,317 people within Cotihana....

, Reni
Reni, Ukraine
Reni is a small town in the Odessa Oblast of western Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Reniysky Raion , and is located in the Bessarabian historic district of Budjak. The settlement was founded around 1548, acquiring city status in 1821.The current estimated population is around...

 and Kilia.

History



The name Bessarabia (Basarabia in Romanian
Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

) derives from the Wallachia
Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

n Basarab dynasty, who allegedly ruled over the southern part of the area in the 14th century. According to Dimitrie Cantemir
Dimitrie Cantemir
Dimitrie Cantemir was twice Prince of Moldavia . He was also a prolific man of letters – philosopher, historian, composer, musicologist, linguist, ethnographer, and geographer....

, the name originally applied only to the part of the territory south of the Upper Trajan Wall, somewhat bigger than current Budjak
Budjak
Budjak or Budzhak is a historical region in the Odessa Oblast of Ukraine. Lying along the Black Sea between the Danube and Dniester rivers this multiethnic region was the southern part of Bessarabia...

. The Ottomans were the first to call it "Besarabya", when they established a military presence in the area in 1484 and 1538.

In late 14th century, the newly established Principality of Moldavia encompassed what later became known as Bessarabia. Afterwards, this territory was directly or indirectly, partly or wholly controlled by: the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 (as suzerain of Moldavia, with direct rule only in Budjak and Khotin), Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, the USSR. Since 1991, most of the territory forms the core of Moldova
Moldova
Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

, with smaller parts in Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

.

Prehistory and antiquity


The territory of Bessarabia has been inhabited by people for thousands of years. Cucuteni-Trypillian culture flourished between the 6th and 3rd millennium BC. The Indo-European culture spread in the region around 2000 BC. In Antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 the region was inhabited by Thracians
Thracians
The ancient Thracians were a group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting areas including Thrace in Southeastern Europe. They spoke the Thracian language – a scarcely attested branch of the Indo-European language family...

, as well as for various shorter periods Cimmerians
Cimmerians
The Cimmerians or Kimmerians were ancient equestrian nomads of Indo-European origin.According to the Greek historian Herodotus, of the 5th century BC, the Cimmerians inhabited the region north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea during the 8th and 7th centuries BC, in what is now Ukraine and Russia...

, Scythians, Sarmatians
Sarmatians
The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian people in Classical Antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD....

, and Celts, specifically by tribes such as Costoboci
Costoboci
The Costoboci were an ancient people located, during the Roman imperial era, between the Carpathian Mountains and the river Dniester.The Costoboci invaded the Roman empire in AD 170 or 171, pillaging its Balkan provinces as far as central Greece, until they were driven out by Romans...

, Carpi, Britogali, Tyragetae
Tyragetae
The Tyrageti, Tyragetae, or Tyrangitae , literally, the Getae of the Tyras, were a sub-tribe of the Getae Thracians, situated on the river Tyras . They were regarded as an immigrant tribe of European Sarmatia dwelling E...

, and Bastarnae
Bastarnae
The Bastarnae or Basternae were an ancient Germanic tribe,, who between 200 BC and 300 AD inhabited the region between the eastern Carpathian mountains and the Dnieper river...

. In the 6th century BC, Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 settlers established the colony of Tyras
Tyras
Tyras , was an ancient Greek city founded as colony of Miletus, probably about 600 BC, situated some 10 m from the mouth of the Tyras River...

, along the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 coast and traded with the locals. Also, Celts settled in the southern parts of Bessarabia, their main city being Aliobrix.

The first polity that is believed to have included the whole of Bessarabia was the Dacia
Dacia
In ancient geography, especially in Roman sources, Dacia was the land inhabited by the Dacians or Getae as they were known by the Greeks—the branch of the Thracians north of the Haemus range...

n polity of Burebista
Burebista
Burebista was a king of the Getae and Dacians, who unified for the first time their tribes and ruled them between 82 BC and 44 BC. He led plunder and conquest raids across Central and Southeastern Europe, subjugating most of the neighbouring tribes...

 in the 1st century BC. After his death, the polity was divided into smaller pieces, and the central parts were unified in the Dacian kingdom of Decebalus
Decebalus
Decebalus or "The Brave" was a king of Dacia and is famous for fighting three wars and negotiating two interregnums of peace without being eliminated against the Roman Empire under two emperors...

 in the 1st century AD. This kingdom was defeated by the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 in 106. Southern Bessarabia was included in the empire even before that, in 57 AD, as part of the Roman province Moesia Inferior, but it was secured only when the Dacian Kingdom was defeated in 106. The Romans built defensive earthen walls in Southern Bessarabia (e.g. Lower Trajan Wall) to defend the Scythia Minor
Scythia Minor
Scythia Minor, "Lesser Scythia" was in ancient times the region surrounded by the Danube at the north and west and the Black Sea at the east, corresponding to today's Dobruja, with a part in Romania and a part in Bulgaria....

 province against invasions. Except for the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 shore in the south, Bessarabia remained outside direct Roman control; the myriad of tribes there are called by modern historians Free Dacians
Free Dacians
The "Free Dacians" is the name given by some modern historians to Dacians who putatively remained outside the Roman empire after the emperor Trajan's Dacian wars...

. The 2nd to the 5th centuries also saw the development of the Chernyakhov culture
Chernyakhov culture
The Sântana de Mureș–Chernyakhiv culture is the name given to an archaeological culture which flourished between the 2nd and 5th centuries in a wide area of Eastern Europe, specifically in what today constitutes Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, and parts of Belarus...

.

In 270, the Roman authorities began to withdraw their forces south of the Danube, especially from the Roman Dacia
Roman Dacia
The Roman province of Dacia on the Balkans included the modern Romanian regions of Transylvania, Banat and Oltenia, and temporarily Muntenia and southern Moldova, but not the nearby regions of Moesia...

, due to the invading Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

 and Carpi. The Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

, a Germanic tribe, poured into the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 from the lower Dniepr River, through the southern part of Bessarabia (Budjak steppe), which due to its geographic position and characteristics (mainly steppe
Steppe
In physical geography, steppe is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes...

), was swept by various nomadic tribes for many centuries. In 378, the area was overrun by the Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

.

Early Middle Ages



From the 3rd century until the 11th century, the region was invaded numerous times in turn by different tribes: Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

, Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

, Avars
Eurasian Avars
The Eurasian Avars or Ancient Avars were a highly organized nomadic confederacy of mixed origins. They were ruled by a khagan, who was surrounded by a tight-knit entourage of nomad warriors, an organization characteristic of Turko-Mongol groups...

, Bulgars
Bulgars
The Bulgars were a semi-nomadic who flourished in the Pontic Steppe and the Volga basin in the 7th century.The Bulgars emerge after the collapse of the Hunnic Empire in the 5th century....

, Slavs (South, i.e. Bulgarian, and Eastern), Magyars, Pechenegs, Cumans
Cumans
The Cumans were Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman-Kipchak confederation. After Mongol invasion , they decided to seek asylum in Hungary, and subsequently to Bulgaria...

 and Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

. The territory of Bessarabia was encompassed in dozens of ephemeral kingdoms which were disbanded when another wave of migrants arrived. Those centuries were characterized by a terrible state of insecurity and mass movement of these tribes. The period was later known as the "Dark Ages" of Europe, or Age of migrations. The Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 allegedly maintained partial control of several cities and forts in southern Bessarabia until the 7th century. In particular, the fortress city of Tyras was plundered by the Huns in 375, but was rebuilt by the Byzantines in 545 as Turris. It served as a trading post with Daco-Romans to the north-west, and Antes and Jassic people
Jassic people
The Jassic people or Jász are an ethnic group of Hungarians who mostly live in the Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok county of the Republic of Hungary. They are of Ossetic origin and originally spoke the Jassic dialect of the Ossetic language...

 to the north-east.

In 561, the Avars captured Bessarabia and executed the local ruler Mesamer. Following Avars, Slavs started to arrive in the region and establish settlements. Then, in 582, Onogur
Onogurs
The Onogurs, also known as Utigurs, were a horde of equestrian nomads in the North Eurasian steppe east of the Don River during the 5th to 8th centuries. The Onogurs crossed the Volga and entered into Europe around the year 460 within the larger context of the Great Migrations and the Turkic...

 Bulgars settled in southeastern Bessarabia and northern Dobruja
Dobruja
Dobruja is a historical region shared by Bulgaria and Romania, located between the lower Danube river and the Black Sea, including the Danube Delta, Romanian coast and the northernmost part of the Bulgarian coast...

, from which they moved to Moesia Inferior (allegedly under pressure from the Khazars
Khazars
The Khazars were semi-nomadic Turkic people who established one of the largest polities of medieval Eurasia, with the capital of Atil and territory comprising much of modern-day European Russia, western Kazakhstan, eastern Ukraine, Azerbaijan, large portions of the northern Caucasus , parts of...

), and formed the nascent region of Bulgaria. With the rise of the Khazars' state in the east, the invasions began to diminish and it was possible to create larger states. According to some opinions, the southern part of Bessarabia remained under the influence of the First Bulgarian Empire
First Bulgarian Empire
The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state founded in the north-eastern Balkans in c. 680 by the Bulgars, uniting with seven South Slavic tribes...

 until to the end of the 9th century.

Between the 8th and 10th centuries, the southern part of Bessarabia was inhabited by people from Balkan-Dunabian culture (the culture of the First Bulgarian Empire). Between the 9th and 13th centuries, Bessarabia is mentioned in Slav chronicles as part of Bolohoveni (north) and Brodnici
Brodnici
The Brodnici were a 13th-century people whose ethnicity is uncertain, as various authors suggest they were Slavic, mixed Romanian-Jassic, Romanian-Slavic, or Turkic-Slavic population, probably vassals of Galicia for a period. Brodnici did not leave any provable material or written traces, which...

(south) voivodeships, believed by some authors to be Vlach principalities of the early Middle Ages.

The last large scale invasions were those of the Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

 of 1241, 1290, and 1343. Sehr al-Jedid (near Orhei
Orhei
Orhei is a city and the administrative centre of Orhei District in Moldova with a population of 25,680. Orhei is approximately 50 kilometers north of the capital, Chişinău.-Demographics:...

), an important settlement of the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

, dates from this period. They led to a retreat of a big part of the population to the mountainous areas in Eastern Carpathians and to Transylvania
Transylvania
Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

. Especially low became the population east of the Prut River at the time of the Tatar invasions.

In the Late Middle Age, chronicles mention a Tigheci
Tigheci
Tigheci is a commune in Leova district, Moldova. It is composed of two villages, Tigheci and Cuporani....

 "republic", predating the establishment of the Principality of Moldavia, situated near the modern town of Cahul
Cahul
-Demographics:According to the last Moldovan census from 2004 there were 35,488 people living within the city of Cahul and 1,317 people within Cotihana....

 in the southwest of Bessarabia, preserving its autonomy even during the later Principality even into the 18th century. Genovese
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

 merchants rebuilt or established a number of forts along the Dniester (Moncastro
Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi
Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi is a city situated on the right bank of the Dniester Liman in the Odessa Oblast of southwestern Ukraine, in the historical region of Bessarabia...

, at Tighina
Tighina
Bender or Bendery, also known as Tighina is a city within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova under de facto control of the unrecognized Transnistria Republic since 1992...

, at the Old Orhei
Old Orhei
Old Orhei is a historical and archaeological complex, located in Trebujeni, at north-east of Chişinău, on the Răut River.-History:Old Orhei were found traces of different civilizations. It was located Geto-Dacian fortress Old Orhei is a historical and archaeological complex, located in...

, at Soroca
Soroca
Soroca is a Moldovan city situated on the Nistru river about 160 km north of Chişinău. It is the administrative center of Soroca District.- History :The city has its origin in the medieval Genoese trade post of Olchionia, or Alchona...

/Olhionia) and Danube (including Kyliya/Chilia-Licostomo
Chilia Veche
Chilia Veche is a commune in Tulcea County, Romania, on the Danube Delta . It gave its name to the Chilia branch of the Danube, which separates it from Ukraine...

).



Principality of Moldavia



After the 1360s the region was gradually included in the principality
Principality
A principality is a monarchical feudatory or sovereign state, ruled or reigned over by a monarch with the title of prince or princess, or by a monarch with another title within the generic use of the term prince....

 of Moldavia
Moldavia
Moldavia is a geographic and historical region and former principality in Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester river...

, which by 1392 established control over the fortresses of Cetatea Albă
Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi
Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi is a city situated on the right bank of the Dniester Liman in the Odessa Oblast of southwestern Ukraine, in the historical region of Bessarabia...

 and Chilia, its eastern border becoming the River Dniester
Dniester
The Dniester is a river in Eastern Europe. It runs through Ukraine and Moldova and separates most of Moldova's territory from the breakaway de facto state of Transnistria.-Names:...

.
In the latter part of the 14th century, the southern part of the region was for several decades part of Wallachia
Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

. The main dynasty of Wallachia was called Basarab
House of Basarab
The Basarabs were a family which had an important role in the establishing of the Principality of Wallachia, giving the country its first line of Princes, one closely related with the Muşatin rulers of Moldavia...

, from which the current name of the region originated.

In the 15th century, the entire region was a part of the principality of Moldavia. Stephen the Great
Stephen III of Moldavia
Stephen III of Moldavia was Prince of Moldavia between 1457 and 1504 and the most prominent representative of the House of Mușat.During his reign, he strengthened Moldavia and maintained its independence against the ambitions of Hungary, Poland, and the...

 ruled between 1457 and 1504, a period of nearly 50 years during which he won 32 battles defending his country against virtually all his neighbours (mainly the Ottomans and the Tatars, but also the Hungarians and the Poles), while losing only two. During this period, after each victory, he raised a monastery or a church close to the battlefield honoring Christianity. Many of these battlefields and churches, as well as old fortresses, are situated in Bessarabia (mainly along the Dniester River).

In 1484, the Turks invaded and captured Chilia and Cetatea Albă (Akkerman in Turkish), and annexed the shoreline southern part of Bessarabia, which was then divided into two sanjak
Sanjak
Sanjaks were administrative divisions of the Ottoman Empire. Sanjak, and the variant spellings sandjak, sanjaq, and sinjaq, are English transliterations of the Turkish word sancak, meaning district, banner, or flag...

s (districts) of the Ottoman Empire. In 1538, the Ottomans annexed more Bessarabian land in the south as far as Tighina
Tighina
Bender or Bendery, also known as Tighina is a city within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova under de facto control of the unrecognized Transnistria Republic since 1992...

, while the central and northern parts of Bessarabia were already formally a vassal
Vassal
A vassal or feudatory is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held...

 of the Ottoman Empire as part of the principality of Moldavia.

Between 1711 and 1812, the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 occupied the region five times during its wars against Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

s. Between 1812 and 1846, the Bulgarian and Gagauz
Gagauz people
The Gagauz people are Turkic speaking group living mostly in southern Moldova , southwestern Ukraine , south-eastern Romania and northeastern Bulgaria. Unlike most other Turkic speaking people, the Gagauz are predominantly Orthodox Christians...

 population migrated to the Russian Empire via the River Danube, after living many years under oppressive Ottoman rule, and settled in southern Bessarabia. Turkic-speaking tribes of the Nogai
Nogai Horde
The Nogai Horde was a confederation of about eighteen Turkic and Mongol tribes that occupied the Pontic-Caspian steppe from about 1500 until they were pushed west by the Kalmyks and south by the Russians in the 17th century. The Mongol tribe called the Manghits constituted a core of the Horde...

 horde also inhabited the Budjak Region (in Turkish Bucak) of southern Bessarabia from the 16th to 18th centuries, but were totally driven out prior to 1812.

Annexation by the Russian Empire

Main article: Bessarabia in the Russian Empire


By the Treaty of Bucharest
Treaty of Bucharest, 1812
The Treaty of Bucharest between the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire, was signed on 28 May 1812, in Bucharest, at the end of the Russo-Turkish War, 1806-1812....

 of May 28, 1812—concluding the Russo-Turkish War, 1806-1812
Russo-Turkish War, 1806-1812
The Russo-Turkish War was one of many wars fought between Imperial Russia and the Ottoman Empire.- Background :The war broke out in 1805–1806 against the background of the Napoleonic Wars...

—the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 ceded the eastern half of the Principality of Moldavia to the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

. That region was then called Bessarabia.

In 1814, the first German settlers arrived and mainly settled in the southern parts and Bessarabian Bulgarians
Bessarabian Bulgarians
The Bessarabian Bulgarians are a Bulgarian minority group of the historical region of Bessarabia, inhabiting parts of present-day Ukraine and Moldova.- Location and number :-Modern Ukraine:...

 began settling in the region too, founding towns such as Bolhrad
Bolhrad
Bolhrad sometimes known as Bolgrad is a small city in Odessa Oblast of south-western Ukraine. It is the administrative center of Bolhrad Raion , and is located at around ....

.

Administratively, Bessarabia became an oblast
Oblast
Oblast is a type of administrative division in Slavic countries, including some countries of the former Soviet Union. The word "oblast" is a loanword in English, but it is nevertheless often translated as "area", "zone", "province", or "region"...

of the Russian Empire in 1818 and a guberniya
Guberniya
A guberniya was a major administrative subdivision of the Russian Empire usually translated as government, governorate, or province. Such administrative division was preserved for sometime upon the collapse of the empire in 1917. A guberniya was ruled by a governor , a word borrowed from Latin ,...

in 1873.

By the Treaty of Adrianople
Treaty of Adrianople
The Peace Treaty of Adrianople concluded the Russo-Turkish War, 1828-1829 between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. It was signed on September 14, 1829 in Adrianople by Russia's Count Alexey Fyodorovich Orlov and by Turkey's Abdul Kadyr-bey...

 that concluded the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829 the entire Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 delta
River delta
A delta is a landform that is formed at the mouth of a river where that river flows into an ocean, sea, estuary, lake, reservoir, flat arid area, or another river. Deltas are formed from the deposition of the sediment carried by the river as the flow leaves the mouth of the river...

 of was added to the Bessarabian oblast.

At the end of the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

, in 1856, by the Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1856)
The Treaty of Paris of 1856 settled the Crimean War between Russia and an alliance of the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire, Second French Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The treaty, signed on March 30, 1856 at the Congress of Paris, made the Black Sea neutral territory, closing it to all...

, two districts of southern Bessarabia were returned to Moldavia, causing the Russian Empire to lose access to the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 river.

In 1859, Moldavia
Moldavia
Moldavia is a geographic and historical region and former principality in Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester river...

 and Wallachia
Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

 united to form the Kingdom of Romania
Kingdom of Romania
The Kingdom of Romania was the Romanian state based on a form of parliamentary monarchy between 13 March 1881 and 30 December 1947, specified by the first three Constitutions of Romania...

 in 1866, which included the southern part of Bessarabia.

The railway Chişinău
Chisinau
Chișinău is the capital and largest municipality of Moldova. It is also its main industrial and commercial centre and is located in the middle of the country, on the river Bîc...

-Iaşi
Iasi
Iași is the second most populous city and a municipality in Romania. Located in the historical Moldavia region, Iași has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Romanian social, cultural, academic and artistic life...

 was opened on June 1, 1875 in preparation for the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) and the Eiffel Bridge
Eiffel Bridge, Ungheni
The Eiffel Bridge is a bridge over Prut and a checkpoint between Moldova and Romania. The bridge is located between Ungheni and Ungheni, Iaşi.- History :...

 was opened on , just three days before the outbreak of the war. The Romanian War of Independence
Romanian War of Independence
The Romanian War of Independence is the name used in Romanian historiography to refer to the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish war, following which Romania, fighting on the Russian side, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire...

 was fought in 1877–78, with the help of the Russian Empire as an ally. Northern Dobruja was awarded to Romania for its role in the 1877-78 Russo-Turkish War, and as compensation for the transfer of the Southern Bessarabia.

The Kishinev pogrom
Kishinev pogrom
The Kishinev pogrom was an anti-Jewish riot that took place in Chişinău, then the capital of the Bessarabia province of the Russian Empire on April 6-7, 1903.-First pogrom:...

 took place in the capital of Bessarabia on April 6, 1903 after local newspapers published articles inciting the public to act against Jews; 47 or 49 Jews were killed, 92 severely wounded and 700 houses destroyed. The anti-Semitic newspaper Бессарабец (Bessarabetz, meaning "Bessarabian"), published by Pavel Krushevan, insinuated that a Russian boy was killed by local Jews. Another newspaper, Свет (Svet, "Light"), used the age-old blood libel
Blood libel
Blood libel is a false accusation or claim that religious minorities, usually Jews, murder children to use their blood in certain aspects of their religious rituals and holidays...

 against the Jews (alleging that the boy had been killed to use his blood in preparation of matzo
Matzo
Matzo or matzah is an unleavened bread traditionally eaten by Jews during the week-long Passover holiday, when eating chametz—bread and other food which is made with leavened grain—is forbidden according to Jewish law. Currently, the most ubiquitous type of Matzo is the traditional Ashkenazic...

s).

After the 1905 Russian Revolution
Russian Revolution of 1905
The 1905 Russian Revolution was a wave of mass political and social unrest that spread through vast areas of the Russian Empire. Some of it was directed against the government, while some was undirected. It included worker strikes, peasant unrest, and military mutinies...

, a Romanian nationalist movement started to develop in Bessarabia. In the chaos brought by the Russian revolution of October 1917
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

, a National Council (Sfatul Ţării
Sfatul Tarii
Sfatul Țării was, in 1917-1918, the National Assembly of the Governorate of Bessarabia of the disintegrating Russian Empire, which proclaimed the independent Moldavian Democratic Republic in December 1917, and then union with Romania in April 1918.-Russian participation in World War I:In August...

) was established in Bessarabia, with 120 members elected from Bessarabia by some political and professional organizations and 10 elected from Transnistria
Transnistria
Transnistria is a breakaway territory located mostly on a strip of land between the Dniester River and the eastern Moldovan border to Ukraine...

 (the left bank of the Dniester River where Moldovans
Moldovans
Moldovans or Moldavians are the largest population group of Moldova...

 and Romanians
Romanians
The Romanians are an ethnic group native to Romania, who speak Romanian; they are the majority inhabitants of Romania....

 accounted for less than a third and the majority of the population was Ukrainian
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

. See Demographics of Transdniestria).

On January 14, 1918, during the disorderly retreat of two Russian divisions from the Romanian front, Chişinău was sacked. The Rumcherod
Rumcherod
Rumcherod was a self-proclaimed, unrecognized, and short-lived organ of Soviet power in the South-Western part of Russian Empire that functioned during May 1917–May 1918...

Committee (Central Executive Committee
Rumcherod
Rumcherod was a self-proclaimed, unrecognized, and short-lived organ of Soviet power in the South-Western part of Russian Empire that functioned during May 1917–May 1918...

 of the Soviets
Soviet (council)
Soviet was a name used for several Russian political organizations. Examples include the Czar's Council of Ministers, which was called the “Soviet of Ministers”; a workers' local council in late Imperial Russia; and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union....

 of Romanian Front, Black Sea Fleet
Black Sea Fleet
The Black Sea Fleet is a large operational-strategic sub-unit of the Russian Navy, operating in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea since the late 18th century. It is based in various harbors of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov....

 and Odessa
Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

 Military District) proclaimed itself the supreme power in Bessarabia. The Russian commander of the region, General Dmitriy Shcherbachev, unable to control Bessarabia due to the Bolshevik revolution, allegedly requested the Romanian Army for help. Russian historians dispute this request was made. On 16 January a Romanian division entered Chişinău, and on the following day Tighina
Tighina
Bender or Bendery, also known as Tighina is a city within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova under de facto control of the unrecognized Transnistria Republic since 1992...

 on the shore of the river Dniester
Dniester
The Dniester is a river in Eastern Europe. It runs through Ukraine and Moldova and separates most of Moldova's territory from the breakaway de facto state of Transnistria.-Names:...

. The three-day Soviet rule in Bessarabia ended.


Ten days later, on January 24, 1918, Sfatul Ţării
Sfatul Tarii
Sfatul Țării was, in 1917-1918, the National Assembly of the Governorate of Bessarabia of the disintegrating Russian Empire, which proclaimed the independent Moldavian Democratic Republic in December 1917, and then union with Romania in April 1918.-Russian participation in World War I:In August...

 declared Bessarabia's independence as the Moldavian Democratic Republic
Moldavian Democratic Republic
The Moldavian Democratic Republic , a.k.a. Moldavian Republic, was the state proclaimed on by Sfatul Ţării of Bessarabia, elected in October-November 1917 in the wake of the February Revolution and disintegration of the political power in the Russian Empire.Sfatul Ţării was its legislative body,...

.

Unification with Romania


The county councils of Bălţi
Balti
Balti can refer to:* Balti language, a language spoken in Baltistan in Pakistan and Ladakh in Kashmir* Balti people, Muslims of Ladakhi/Tibetan origin from Baltistan in Pakistan and Ladakh in Kashmir...

, Soroca
Soroca
Soroca is a Moldovan city situated on the Nistru river about 160 km north of Chişinău. It is the administrative center of Soroca District.- History :The city has its origin in the medieval Genoese trade post of Olchionia, or Alchona...

 and Orhei
Orhei
Orhei is a city and the administrative centre of Orhei District in Moldova with a population of 25,680. Orhei is approximately 50 kilometers north of the capital, Chişinău.-Demographics:...

 were the earliest to ask for unification with the Kingdom of Romania, and on April 9 [O.S. March 27] 1918, in the presence of the Romanian Army, Sfatul Ţării
Sfatul Tarii
Sfatul Țării was, in 1917-1918, the National Assembly of the Governorate of Bessarabia of the disintegrating Russian Empire, which proclaimed the independent Moldavian Democratic Republic in December 1917, and then union with Romania in April 1918.-Russian participation in World War I:In August...

 voted in favour of the union, with the following conditions:
  1. Sfatul Ţării would undertake an agrarian reform, which would be accepted by the Romanian Government.
  2. Bessarabia would remain autonomous, with its own diet, Sfatul Ţării, elected democratically
  3. Sfatul Ţării would vote for local budgets, control the councils of the zemstva
    Zemstvo
    Zemstvo was a form of local government that was instituted during the great liberal reforms performed in Imperial Russia by Alexander II of Russia. The idea of the zemstvo was elaborated by Nikolay Milyutin, and the first zemstvo laws were put into effect in 1864...

    and cities, and appoint the local administration
  4. Conscription would be done on a territorial basis
  5. Local laws and the form of administration could be changed only with the approval of local representatives
  6. The rights of minorities had to be respected
  7. Two Bessarabian representatives would be part of the Romanian government
  8. Bessarabia would send to the Romanian Parliament a number of representatives equal to the proportion of its population
  9. All elections must involve a direct, equal, secret, and universal vote
  10. Freedom of speech and of belief must be guaranteed in the constitution
  11. All individuals who had committed felonies for political reasons during the revolution would be amnestied.


86 deputies voted in support, 3 voted against and 36 abstained.

The first condition, the agrarian reform, was debated and approved in November 1918. Sfatul Ţării
Sfatul Tarii
Sfatul Țării was, in 1917-1918, the National Assembly of the Governorate of Bessarabia of the disintegrating Russian Empire, which proclaimed the independent Moldavian Democratic Republic in December 1917, and then union with Romania in April 1918.-Russian participation in World War I:In August...

 also decided to remove the other conditions and made unification with Romania unconditional. This vote has been judged illegitimate, since there was no quorum: only 44 of the 125 members took part in it (all voted "for").

In the autumn of 1919, elections for the Romanian Constituent Assembly were held in Bessarabia; 90 deputies and 35 senators were chosen. On December 20, 1919, these men voted, along with the representatives of Romania's other regions, to ratify the unification acts that had been approved by Sfatul Ţării and the National Congresses in Transylvania and Bukovina.

The union was recognized by France, United Kingdom, Italy, and Japan in the Treaty of Paris of 1920
Treaty of Paris (1920)
The 1920 Treaty of Paris was an act signed by Romania and the principal Allied Powers of the time whose purpose was the recognition of Romanian sovereignty over Bessarabia...

, which however never came into force, because Japan did not ratify it. The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 refused to sign the treaty on the grounds that Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 was not represented at the Conference. Soviet Russia (and later, the USSR) did not recognize the union, and by 1924, after its demands for a regional plebiscite were declined by Romania for the second time, declared Bessarabia to be Soviet territory under foreign occupation.

The US also considered Bessarabia a territory under Romanian occupation, rather than Romanian territory, despite existing political and economic relations between the US and Romania.

Part of Romania



A Provisional Workers' & Peasants' Government of Bessarabia was founded on May 5, 1919, in exile at Odessa
Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

, by the Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

s.

On May 11, 1919, the Bessarabian Soviet Socialist Republic
Bessarabian Soviet Socialist Republic
The Bessarabian Soviet Socialist Republic or Bessarabian SSR was a government formed by Bolsheviks as part of their plans to establish control over Bessarabia, which was united with Romania in the course of events after the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 was proclaimed as an autonomous part of Russian SFSR, but was abolished by the military forces of Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in September 1919 (see Polish-Soviet War
Polish-Soviet War
The Polish–Soviet War was an armed conflict between Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine and the Second Polish Republic and the Ukrainian People's Republic—four states in post–World War I Europe...

). After the victory of Bolshevist Russia
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic , commonly referred to as Soviet Russia, Bolshevik Russia, or simply Russia, was the largest, most populous and economically developed republic in the former Soviet Union....

 in the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

, the Ukrainian SSR
Ukrainian SSR
The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic or in short, the Ukrainian SSR was a sovereign Soviet Socialist state and one of the fifteen constituent republics of the Soviet Union lasting from its inception in 1922 to the breakup in 1991...

 was created in 1922, and in 1924 the Moldovan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was established on a strip of Ukrainian land on the left bank of the Dniester River where Moldovans
Moldovans
Moldovans or Moldavians are the largest population group of Moldova...

 and Romanians
Romanians
The Romanians are an ethnic group native to Romania, who speak Romanian; they are the majority inhabitants of Romania....

 accounted for less than a third and the relative majority of population was Ukrainian
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

. (See Demographics of Moldovan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic).

World War II


The Soviet Union did not recognize incorporation of Bessarabia into Romania and throughout the entire interwar period
Interwar period
Interwar period can refer to any period between two wars. The Interbellum is understood to be the period between the end of the Great War or First World War and the beginning of the Second World War in Europe....

 engaged in attempts to undermine Romania and diplomatic disputes with the government in Bucharest over this territory. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

 was signed on August 23, 1939. By Article 4 of the secret Annex to the Treaty, Bessarabia fell within the Soviet interest zone.

In spring of 1940, Western Europe was overrun by Nazi Germany. With world attention focused on those events, on June 26, 1940, the USSR issued an ultimatum
Ultimatum
An ultimatum is a demand whose fulfillment is requested in a specified period of time and which is backed up by a threat to be followed through in case of noncompliance. An ultimatum is generally the final demand in a series of requests...

 to Romania, demanding immediate cession of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. Romania was given four days to evacuate its troops and officials. The two provinces had an area of 51000 km² (19,691.2 sq mi), and were inhabited by about 3.75 million people, half of them Romanians, according to official Romanian sources. Two days later, Romania yielded and began evacuation. During the evacuation, from June 28 to July 3, groups of local Communists and Soviet sympathizers attacked the retreating forces, and civilians who chose to leave. Many members of the minorities (Jews, ethnic Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

 and others) joined in these attacks. The Romanian Army was also attacked by the Soviet Army, which entered Bessarabia before the Romanian administration finished retreating. The casualties reported by the Romanian Army during those seven days consisted of 356 officers and 42,876 soldiers dead or missing.

On August 2, the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was established on most of the territory of Bessarabia, merged with the western parts of the former Moldavian ASSR. Bessarabia was divided between the Moldavian SSR (70% of the territory and 80% of the population) and the Ukrainian SSR
Ukrainian SSR
The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic or in short, the Ukrainian SSR was a sovereign Soviet Socialist state and one of the fifteen constituent republics of the Soviet Union lasting from its inception in 1922 to the breakup in 1991...

. Bessarabia's northern and southern districts (nowadays Budjak
Budjak
Budjak or Budzhak is a historical region in the Odessa Oblast of Ukraine. Lying along the Black Sea between the Danube and Dniester rivers this multiethnic region was the southern part of Bessarabia...

 and parts of the Chernivtsi oblast
Chernivtsi Oblast
Chernivtsi Oblast is an oblast in western Ukraine, bordering on Romania and Moldova. It has a large variety of landforms: the Carpathian Mountains and picturesque hills at the foot of the mountains gradually change to a broad partly forested plain situated between the Dniester and Prut rivers....

) were alloted to Ukraine, while some territories (4,000 km2) on the left (eastern) bank of the Dniester (present Transnistria
Transnistria
Transnistria is a breakaway territory located mostly on a strip of land between the Dniester River and the eastern Moldovan border to Ukraine...

), previously part of Ukraine, were allotted to Moldavia. Following the Soviet takeover, many Bessarabians, who were accused of supporting the deposed Romanian administration, were executed or deported to Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 and Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

.

Between September and November 1940, the ethnic Germans of Bessarabia
Bessarabia Germans
----The Bessarabia Germans are an ethnic group who lived in Bessarabia between 1814 and 1940. Between 1814 and 1842, 9000 of them immigrated from the German areas Baden, Württemberg, Alsace, Bavaria and some Prussian areas of modern-day Poland, to the Russian government of Bessarabia at the Black...

 were offered resettlement to Germany, following a German-Soviet agreement. Fearing Soviet oppression, almost all Germans (93,000) agreed. Most of them were resettled to the newly annexed Polish territories.

On June 22, 1941 the Axis
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

 invasion of the Soviet Union commenced with Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

. Between June 22 and July 26, 1941, Romanian troops with the help of Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

 recovered Bessarabia and northern Bukovina. The Soviets employed scorched earth
Scorched earth
A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area...

 tactics during their forced retreat from Bessarabia, destroying the infrastructure and transporting movable goods to Russia by railway. At the end of July, after a year of Soviet rule, the region was once again under Romanian control.

As the military operation was still in progress, there were cases of Romanian troops "taking revenge" on Jews in Bessarabia, in the form of pogrom
Pogrom
A pogrom is a form of violent riot, a mob attack directed against a minority group, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes and properties, businesses, and religious centres...

s on civilians and murder of Jewish POW
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

s, resulting in several thousand dead. The supposed cause for murdering Jews was that in 1940 some Jews welcomed the Soviet takeover as liberation. At the same time the notorious SS
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

 Einsatzgruppe D
Einsatzgruppen
Einsatzgruppen were SS paramilitary death squads that were responsible for mass killings, typically by shooting, of Jews in particular, but also significant numbers of other population groups and political categories...

, operating in the area of the German 11th Army
11th Army (Germany)
The 11th Army was a World War I and a World War II field army.-World War I:The 11th Army was formed in early 1915. It briefly fought on the Western Front during the Battle of Ypres, holding the line against the allied attack...

, committed summary executions of Jews under the pretext that they were spies, saboteurs
Sabotage
Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening another entity through subversion, obstruction, disruption, or destruction. In a workplace setting, sabotage is the conscious withdrawal of efficiency generally directed at causing some change in workplace conditions. One who engages in sabotage is...

, Communists
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

, or under no pretext whatsoever.

The political solution of the "Jewish Question
Jewish Question
The Jewish question encompasses the issues and resolutions surrounding the historically unequal civil, legal and national statuses between minority Ashkenazi Jews and non-Jews, particularly in Europe. The first issues discussed and debated by societies, politicians and writers in western and...

" was apparently seen by the Romanian dictator
Dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

 Marshal Ion Antonescu
Ion Antonescu
Ion Victor Antonescu was a Romanian soldier, authoritarian politician and convicted war criminal. The Prime Minister and Conducător during most of World War II, he presided over two successive wartime dictatorships...

 more in expulsion rather than extermination. That portion of the Jewish population of Bessarabia and Bukovina which did not flee before the retreat of the Soviet troops (147,000) was initially gathered into ghettos or concentration camps, and then deported during 1941-1942 in death march
Death march
A death march is a forced march of prisoners of war or other captives or deportees. Those marching must walk over long distances for an extremely long period of time and are not supplied with food or water...

es into Romanian-occupied Transnistria
Transnistria (World War II)
Transnistria Governorate was a Romanian administered territory, conquered by the Axis Powers from the Soviet Union during Operation Barbarossa, and occupied from 19 August 1941 to 29 January 1944...

, where the "Final Solution
Final Solution
The Final Solution was Nazi Germany's plan and execution of the systematic genocide of European Jews during World War II, resulting in the most deadly phase of the Holocaust...

" was applied.

After three years of relative peace, the German-Soviet front returned in 1944 to the land border on the Dniester
Dniester
The Dniester is a river in Eastern Europe. It runs through Ukraine and Moldova and separates most of Moldova's territory from the breakaway de facto state of Transnistria.-Names:...

. On August 20, 1944, a ca. 3,400,000-strong Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 began a major summer offensive codenamed Jassy-Kishinev Operation. The Soviet armies overran Bessarabia in a two-pronged offensive within five days. In pocket battles at Chişinău
Chisinau
Chișinău is the capital and largest municipality of Moldova. It is also its main industrial and commercial centre and is located in the middle of the country, on the river Bîc...

 and Sărata
Sarata
Sarata is a town in the Odessa Oblast of south-western Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Sarata Raion , and is part of the Bessarabian historic district of Budjak....

the German 6th Army of ca. 650,000 men, newly reformed after the Battle of Stalingrad
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia. The battle took place between 23 August 1942 and 2 February 1943...

, was obliterated. Simultaneously with the success of the Russian attack, Romania broke the military alliance with the Axis and changed sides. On August 23, 1944, Marshal Ion Antonescu was arrested by King Michael
Michael I of Romania
Michael was the last King of Romania. He reigned from 20 July 1927 to 8 June 1930, and again from 6 September 1940 until 30 December 1947 when he was forced, by the Communist Party of Romania , to abdicate to the Soviet armies of occupation...

, and later handed over to the Soviets.

Part of the Soviet Union




The Soviet Union regained the region in 1944, and the Red Army occupied Romania. By 1947, the Soviets had imposed a communist government
Communist Romania
Communist Romania was the period in Romanian history when that country was a Soviet-aligned communist state in the Eastern Bloc, with the dominant role of Romanian Communist Party enshrined in its successive constitutions...

 in Bucharest, which was friendly and obedient towards Moscow. The Soviet occupation of Romania
Soviet occupation of Romania
The Soviet occupation of Romania refers to the period from 1944 to August 1958, during which the Soviet Union maintained a significant military presence in Romania...

 lasted until 1958. The Romanian communist regime did not openly raise the matter of Bessarabia or Northern Bukovina in its diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.

Between 1969 and 1971, a clandestine National Patriotic Front was established by several young intellectuals in Chişinău, totaling over 100 members, vowing to fight for the establishment of a Moldavian Democratic Republic, its secession from the Soviet Union and union with Romania.

In December 1971, following an informative note from Ion Stănescu, the President of the Council of State Security of the Romanian Socialist Republic, to Yuri Andropov
Yuri Andropov
Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was a Soviet politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 12 November 1982 until his death fifteen months later.-Early life:...

, the chief of KGB, three of the leaders of the National Patriotic Front
National Patriotic Front
The National Patriotic Front was a clandestine political party in the Moldovan SSR.- Activity :Between 1969 and 1971, the National Patriotic Front of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina was established by several young intellectuals in Chişinău, totalling over 100 members, vowing to fight for the...

, Alexandru Usatiuc-Bulgar
Alexandru Usatiuc-Bulgăr
Alexandru Usatiuc-Bulgăr was a Moldovan activist and a political prisoner in the former Soviet Union.- Biography :Between 1969 and 1971, he was a founder of a clandestine National Patriotic Front of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, established by several young intellectuals in Chişinău, totaling...

, Gheorghe Ghimpu
Gheorghe Ghimpu
Gheorghe Ghimpu was a Moldovan politician and a political prisoner in the former Soviet Union.- Early life :...

 and Valeriu Graur
Valeriu Graur
Valeriu Graur was a Moldovan activist and a political prisoner in the former Soviet Union.- Biography :Between 1969 and 1971, he was a founder of a clandestine National Patriotic Front of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, established by several young intellectuals in Chişinău, totaling over 100...

, as well as a fourth person, Alexandru Soltoianu
Alexandru Şoltoianu
Alexandru Șoltoianu was a Moldovan activist and a political prisoner in the former Soviet Union.- Biography :He graduated at Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1965 and became a lecturer in Oriental studies at the Moldova State University in Chișinău.In the 1960s and early 1970s...

, the leader of a similar clandestine movement in northern Bukovina
Bukovina
Bukovina is a historical region on the northern slopes of the northeastern Carpathian Mountains and the adjoining plains.-Name:The name Bukovina came into official use in 1775 with the region's annexation from the Principality of Moldavia to the possessions of the Habsburg Monarchy, which became...

 (Bucovina), were arrested and later sentenced to long prison terms.

Rise of independent Moldova


With the weakening of the Soviet Union, in February 1988, the first non-sanctioned demonstrations were held in Chişinău
Chisinau
Chișinău is the capital and largest municipality of Moldova. It is also its main industrial and commercial centre and is located in the middle of the country, on the river Bîc...

. At first pro-Perestroika
Perestroika
Perestroika was a political movement within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during 1980s, widely associated with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev...

, they soon turned anti-government and demanded official status for the Romanian (Moldavian) language instead of the Russian language.

On August 31, 1989, following a 600,000-strong demonstration in Chişinău four days earlier, Romanian (Moldavian) became the official language of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic. However, this was not implemented for many years.

In 1990, the first free elections were held for Parliament, with the opposition Popular Front
Popular Front of Moldova
The Popular Front of Moldova was a political movement in the Moldavian SSR, one of the 15 union republics of the former Soviet Union, and in the newly-independent Republic of Moldova. Formally, the Front existed from 1989 to 1992...

 winning them. A government led by Mircea Druc
Mircea Druc
Mircea Druc is a Moldovan and Romanian politician who served as Prime Minister of Moldova between 26 May 1990 and 22 May 1991....

, one of the leaders of the Popular Front, was formed. The Moldavian SSR became SSR Moldova, and later the Republic of Moldova.

The Republic of Moldova
Moldova
Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

 became independent on December 25, 1991; a day before the final dissolution of the Soviet Union. Its boundaries (those established on August 2, 1940) remained unchanged.

Population


The population before World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 consisted of Romanians
Romanians
The Romanians are an ethnic group native to Romania, who speak Romanian; they are the majority inhabitants of Romania....

 (including Moldovans
Moldovans
Moldovans or Moldavians are the largest population group of Moldova...

), Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

 (including Ruthenians
Ruthenians
The name Ruthenian |Rus']]) is a culturally loaded term and has different meanings according to the context in which it is used. Initially, it was the ethnonym used for the East Slavic peoples who lived in Rus'. Later it was used predominantly for Ukrainians...

), Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

, Bulgarians
Bulgarians
The Bulgarians are a South Slavic nation and ethnic group native to Bulgaria and neighbouring regions. Emigration has resulted in immigrant communities in a number of other countries.-History and ethnogenesis:...

, Gagauz
Gagauz people
The Gagauz people are Turkic speaking group living mostly in southern Moldova , southwestern Ukraine , south-eastern Romania and northeastern Bulgaria. Unlike most other Turkic speaking people, the Gagauz are predominantly Orthodox Christians...

, Germans, and Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

. According to the census data of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

, during the 19th century the ethnic Romanians decreased from 86% (1817) to 47.6% (1897).

Russian Census, 1817 (Total: 96,526 families, 482,630 inhabitants):
  • 83,848 Romanian families (86%)
  • 6,000 Ruthenian families (6.5%)
  • 3,826 Jewish families (1.5%)
  • 1,200 Lipovan families (1.5%)
  • 640 Greek families (0.7%)
  • 530 Armenian families (0.6%)
  • 482 Bulgarian and Gagauz families (0.5%)


Russian Census, 1856 (Total: 990,274 inhabitants)
  • 736,000 Romanians (74%)
  • 119,000 Ukrainians (12%)
  • 79,000 Jews (8%)
  • 47,000 Bulgarians and Gagauz (5%)
  • 24,000 Germans (2.4%)
  • 11,000 Romani (1.1%)
  • 6,000 Russians (0.6%)


Russian data, 1889 (Total: 1,628,867 inhabitants)

Russian Census, 1897 (Total 1,935,412 inhabitants). By language:
  • 920,919 Moldavians and Romanians (47.6%)
  • 379,698 Ukrainians (19.6%)
  • 228,168 Jews (11.8%)
  • 155,774 Russians (8%)
  • 103,225 Bulgarians (5.3%)
  • 60,026 Germans (3.1%)
  • 55,790 Turks (Gagauzes) (2.9%)

Some scholars, however, believed in regard to the 1897 census that "[...] the census enumerator generally has instructions to count everyone who understands the state language as being of that nationality, no matter what his everyday speech may be.", thus a number of Moldavians (Romanians) might have been registered as Russians.

According to N. Durnovo, the population of Bessarabia in 1900 was (Total: 1,935,000 inhabitants):
County Romanians
Romanians
The Romanians are an ethnic group native to Romania, who speak Romanian; they are the majority inhabitants of Romania....

Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...


and Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

Jews
Bessarabian Jews
-Early history:Jews are mentioned from very early in the Principality of Moldavia, but they did not represent a significant number. Their main activity in Moldavia was commerce, but they could not compete with Greeks and Armenians, who had the knowledge of the Levantine commerce and relationships...

Bulgarians
Bessarabian Bulgarians
The Bessarabian Bulgarians are a Bulgarian minority group of the historical region of Bessarabia, inhabiting parts of present-day Ukraine and Moldova.- Location and number :-Modern Ukraine:...


and Gagauz
Gagauz people
The Gagauz people are Turkic speaking group living mostly in southern Moldova , southwestern Ukraine , south-eastern Romania and northeastern Bulgaria. Unlike most other Turkic speaking people, the Gagauz are predominantly Orthodox Christians...

Germans, Greeks,
Armenians, others
Total inhabitants
Hotin County
Hotin County
Hotin County was a county in the Principality of Moldavia , the Governorate of Bessarabia , the Moldavian Democratic Republic , and the Kingdom of Romania ....

 
89,000 161,000 54,000 3,000 307,000
Soroca County
Soroca County
Soroca was a county of Moldova. The seat was Soroca....

 
156,000 28,000 31,000 4,000 219,000
Bălţi County
Bălţi County
Bălți was a county of Moldova from 1998 to 2003. Its population in 2003 was 500,900. Its capital was Bălți.-External links:* , Statoids.com...

 
154,000 27,000 17,000 14,000 212,000
Orhei County
Orhei County
Orhei was a county of Moldova from 1998 to 2003. Its population in 2003 was 300,400. Its capital was Orhei.-External links:* , Statoids.com...

 
176,000 10,000 26,000 1,000 213,000
Lăpuşna County
Lapusna County
Lăpuşna was an administrative region of Moldova until February 2003. Major cities of the region included Troita, Batar, Cara-Biber, and Hînceşti....

 
198,000 19,000 53,000 10,000 280,000
Tighina County
Tighina County
Tighina County was, until February 2003, a major subdivision of Moldova with its capital at Căuşeni. It bordered Ukraine, Transnistria, Lăpuşna County and Chişinău County....

 
103,000 32,000 16,000 36,000 8,000 195,000
Cahul
Cahul County
Cahul County was a county of Bessarabia. In the Middle Ages, its territory belonged to the Fălciu County, but after the annexation of Bessarabia by the Russian Empire in 1812 it became a county by itself.- History :...

 and Ismail1
109,000 53,000 11,000 27,000 44,000 244,000
Cetatea Albă County
Cetatea Alba County
Cetatea-Albă was a county of Romania, in Bessarabia, with the capital city at Cetatea-Albă.-Neighbours:The county neighboured Odessa Oblast of USSR to the east, the Black Sea to the south-east, the counties of Tighina to the north, Ismail to the south and Cahul to the west.-Administration:The...

 
106,000 48,000 11,000 52,500 47,500 265,000
Total 1,092,000 378,000 219,000 247,000 1,935,000
% 56.5% 19.5% 11.5% 12.5% 100%


Notes: 1 The two counties were merged.

Romanian Census, 1930 (Total: 2,864,662 inhabitants)
County Romanians
Romanians
The Romanians are an ethnic group native to Romania, who speak Romanian; they are the majority inhabitants of Romania....

Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

 
Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

1
Jews
Bessarabian Jews
-Early history:Jews are mentioned from very early in the Principality of Moldavia, but they did not represent a significant number. Their main activity in Moldavia was commerce, but they could not compete with Greeks and Armenians, who had the knowledge of the Levantine commerce and relationships...

Bulgarians
Bessarabian Bulgarians
The Bessarabian Bulgarians are a Bulgarian minority group of the historical region of Bessarabia, inhabiting parts of present-day Ukraine and Moldova.- Location and number :-Modern Ukraine:...

Gagauz
Gagauz people
The Gagauz people are Turkic speaking group living mostly in southern Moldova , southwestern Ukraine , south-eastern Romania and northeastern Bulgaria. Unlike most other Turkic speaking people, the Gagauz are predominantly Orthodox Christians...

Germans others2 Total inhabitants
Hotin County
Hotin County
Hotin County was a county in the Principality of Moldavia , the Governorate of Bessarabia , the Moldavian Democratic Republic , and the Kingdom of Romania ....

 
137,348 163,267 53,453 35,985 26 2 323 2,026 392,430
Soroca County
Soroca County
Soroca was a county of Moldova. The seat was Soroca....

 
232,720 26,039 25,736 29,191 69 13 417 2,183 316,368
Bălţi County
Bălţi County
Bălți was a county of Moldova from 1998 to 2003. Its population in 2003 was 500,900. Its capital was Bălți.-External links:* , Statoids.com...

 
270,942 29,288 46,569 31,695 66 8 1,623 6,530 386,721
Orhei County
Orhei County
Orhei was a county of Moldova from 1998 to 2003. Its population in 2003 was 300,400. Its capital was Orhei.-External links:* , Statoids.com...

 
243,936 2,469 10,746 18,999 87 1 154 2,890 279,282
Lăpuşna County
Lapusna County
Lăpuşna was an administrative region of Moldova until February 2003. Major cities of the region included Troita, Batar, Cara-Biber, and Hînceşti....

 
326,455 2,732 29,770 50,013 712 37 2,823 7,079 419,621
Tighina County
Tighina County
Tighina County was, until February 2003, a major subdivision of Moldova with its capital at Căuşeni. It bordered Ukraine, Transnistria, Lăpuşna County and Chişinău County....

 
163,673 9,047 44,989 16,845 19,599 39,345 10,524 2,570 306,592
Cahul County
Cahul County
Cahul County was a county of Bessarabia. In the Middle Ages, its territory belonged to the Fălciu County, but after the annexation of Bessarabia by the Russian Empire in 1812 it became a county by itself.- History :...

 
100,714 619 14,740 4,434 28,565 35,299 8,644 3,948 196,963
Ismail County  72,020 10,655 66,987 6,306 43,375 15,591 983 9,592 225,509
Cetatea Albă County
Cetatea Alba County
Cetatea-Albă was a county of Romania, in Bessarabia, with the capital city at Cetatea-Albă.-Neighbours:The county neighboured Odessa Oblast of USSR to the east, the Black Sea to the south-east, the counties of Tighina to the north, Ismail to the south and Cahul to the west.-Administration:The...

 
62,949 70,095 58,922 11,390 71,227 7,876 55,598 3,119 341,176
Total 1,610,757 314,211 351,912 204,858 163,726 98,172 81,089 39,937 2,864,662
% 56.23% 10.97% 12.28% 7.15% 5.72% 3.43% 2.83% 1.39% 100%


Notes: 1 Includes Lipovans
Lipovans
Lipovans or Lippovans are the Old Believers, mostly of Russian ethnic origin, who settled in the Moldavian Principality, in Dobruja and Eastern Muntenia...

. 2 Poles, Armenians, Albanians, Greeks, Gypsies, etc. and non-declared


When?: Total: 2,995,821
  • Romanians 1,735,000
  • Ukrainians 315,000
  • Russians 352,000
  • Jews 210,000
  • Bulgarians 164,000
  • Gagauz 99,000
  • Germans 82,000
  • others ?


Data of the Romanian census 1939 was not completely processed before the Soviet occupation. Estimates of the total population at 3.2 million.

Soviet census, 1979: 69% of Moldavian SSR's population were Moldovan, and 98% of them declared Moldovan language
Moldovan language
Moldovan is one of the names of the Romanian language as spoken in the Republic of Moldova, where it is official. The spoken language of Moldova is closer to the dialects of Romanian spoken in northeastern Romania, and the two countries share the same literary standard...

 (Romanian language
Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

) as their native language.

Soviet census, 1989: There were 88,419 Bessarabian Bulgarians
Bessarabian Bulgarians
The Bessarabian Bulgarians are a Bulgarian minority group of the historical region of Bessarabia, inhabiting parts of present-day Ukraine and Moldova.- Location and number :-Modern Ukraine:...

 according to official data from Republic of Moldova

Estimate, 1992: 4,305 immigrants to Israel from the Republic of Moldova constituted 7.1 percent of all the immigrants to Israel from the former U.S.S.R. in this year.

Moldovan census, 2004: There were 65,072 Bessarabian Bulgarians
Bessarabian Bulgarians
The Bessarabian Bulgarians are a Bulgarian minority group of the historical region of Bessarabia, inhabiting parts of present-day Ukraine and Moldova.- Location and number :-Modern Ukraine:...

 according to the census not including Bulgarians in Transnistria.

Economy

  • 1911: There were 165 loan societies, 117 savings banks, forty three professional savings and loan societies, and eight Zemstvo
    Zemstvo
    Zemstvo was a form of local government that was instituted during the great liberal reforms performed in Imperial Russia by Alexander II of Russia. The idea of the zemstvo was elaborated by Nikolay Milyutin, and the first zemstvo laws were put into effect in 1864...

     loan offices; all these had total assets of about 10,000,000 rubles. There were also eighty nine government savings banks, with deposits of about 9,000,000 rubles.
  • 1918: There was only 657 miles (1,057.3 km) of railway; the main lines converged on Russia and were broad gauge. Rolling stock and right of way were in bad shape. There were about 400 locomotives, with only about one hundred fit for use. There were 290 passenger coaches and thirty three more out for repair. Finally, out of 4530 freight cars and 187 tank cars, only 1389 and 103 were usable. The Romanians reduced the gauge to a standard 56.5 inches (1.4 m), so that cars could be run to the rest of Europe. Also, there were only a few inefficient boat bridges. Romanian highway engineers decided to build ten bridges: Cuzlău, Ţuţora
    Tutora
    Ţuţora is a commune in Iaşi County, Romania. It is composed of three villages: Chipereşti, Oprişeni and Ţuţora. In 2002, it had a population of 2,119. The Battle of Ţuţora took place here in 1620.-References:...

    , Lipcani
    Lipcani
    Lipcani is a town in Briceni District, Moldova. It is also a border crossing between Moldova and Romania.- Overview :Lipcani is located on the banks of the Prut river, which forms the border with Romania. The border with Ukraine is also only a few kilometers to the north. Lipcani is located in...

    , Şerpeniţa, Ştefăneşti
    Stefanesti
    Ştefăneşti may refer to several places.*in Moldova:**Ştefăneşti, a commune in Floreşti District**Ştefăneşti, Ştefan Vodă, a commune in Ştefan Vodă District**Ştefăneşti, a village in Tănătarii Noi Commune, Căuşeni District*in Romania:...

    -Brănişte
    Braniste
    Branişte may refer to:* Branişte, a village in Daneţi Commune, Dolj County, Romania* Branişte, a village in Filiaşi Town, Dolj County, Romania* Branişte, a village in Podari Commune, Dolj County, Romania...

    , Cahul
    Cahul
    -Demographics:According to the last Moldovan census from 2004 there were 35,488 people living within the city of Cahul and 1,317 people within Cotihana....

    -Oancea, Bădărăi-Moara Domnească
    Valeni, Vaslui
    Văleni is a commune in Vaslui County, Romania. It is composed of two villages, Moara Domnească and Văleni. It included Fereşti village until 2004, when it was split off to form a separate commune....

    , Sărata
    Sarata
    Sarata is a town in the Odessa Oblast of south-western Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Sarata Raion , and is part of the Bessarabian historic district of Budjak....

    , Bumbala-Leova
    Leova
    Leova is a city in Moldova, located 92 km southwest of the national capital, Chişinău. It is the administrative center of Leova District. The city is situated on the east bank of the river Prut bordering Romania.- Notable people:...

    , Badragi and Fălciu
    Falciu
    Fălciu is a commune in Vaslui County, Romania. It is composed of six villages: Bogdăneşti, Bozia, Copăceana, Fălciu, Odaia Bogdana and Rânzeşti.It is also a border crossing between Moldova and Romania....

     (Fălciu is a locality in Romania. Its correspondent in Bessarabia is Cantemir
    Cantemir, Moldova
    Cantemir is a city in Moldova. It is the administrative center of Cantemir District.-External links:**...

    .) Of these, only four were ever finished: Cuzlău, Fălciu, Lipcani and Sărata.

See also



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