Moldova - Early History I


The territory of today's Moldova just like the neighbor Romania with which Moldova is closely connected both ethnically and historically was inhabited since at least 513 BC by the Getae or Dacians, a Thracian tribe.


Under the leadership of Burebista (70-44 BC) the Dacians became a powerful tribal union which threatened the regional interests of growing Roman Empire. Julius Caesar intended to start a campaign against the Dacians, but was assassinated in 44 BC. A few months later, Burebista shared the same fate, assassinated by his own noblemen. As a result of his death, the Dacian Union split apart and was re-unified again only in 95, under the reign of Decebalus who created the first Dacian state that included the territory of present-day Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and southern Moldova. In 106 AD, after a series of conflicts with the expanding Rome, Dacia was finally conquered by Roman Emperor Trajan.


Moldova's Latin origins can be traced to the period of Roman occupation ca. A.D. 106-270, when a culture was formed from the intermingling of Roman colonists and the local Thracian population.



In the second half of the 3d century, the Roman Empire and its influence in the area waned, and in 271 the Roman administration and troops left the area faced by successive invasions of the Goths and Carpi. Since that time, a number of groups passed through the area, often violently: Huns, Ostrogoths, and Antes (who were Slavs). The Bulgarian Empire, the Magyars, the Pechenegs (Patzinaks), and the Golden Horde (Mongols) also held sway temporarily.



In the thirteenth century, Hungary expanded into the area to establish a defense line for the Kingdom of Hungary against the Tatars near the Siretul River (in present-day Romania) and beyond. The region came under Hungarian suzerainty until an independent Moldovan principality was established by Prince Bogdan in 1349.


Originally called Bogdania, the principality stretched from the Carpathian Mountains in the west to the Nistru (Dniester) River in the east with its nucleus in the north-western part, the Ţara de Sus ("Upper Land"), which later became known as Bukovina. The town of Suceava (in present-day southern Bukovina) was the capital of the principality from 1359-1565. In 1565 the capital moved Yasi, and the principality was renamed Moldova, after the Moldova River in present-day Romania. Between 1359 and 1387 the rulers of Moldova were manipulating between Hungary, Galician Rus, Lithuania and Poland being occasionally vassals of all of the above countries.




During the second half of the fifteenth century, all of southeastern Europe came under increasing pressure from the Ottoman Empire, and despite significant military victories by Stephen the Great (Stefan cel Mare, 1457-1504), Moldova succumbed to Ottoman power in 1512 and was a tributary state of the empire for the next 300 years.


(Click on the below map for better resolution)



In addition to paying tribute to the Ottoman Empire and later acceding to the selection of local rulers by Ottoman authorities, Moldova suffered repeated invasions by Turks, Crimean Tatars, and Russians. 


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