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Moldavia (Moldova in Romanian) was a principality of Romania, originally created in the Middle Ages. It was situated between the Carpathian Mountains and the Dniester River. The more easterly extension now forming the ethnically Romanian independent state of Moldova, itself historically known as Bessarabia (after a certain Romanian noble family).

Map showing Romania without Moldavia in blue and Moldavia (parts inside and outside Romania) in yellow
Map showing Romania without Moldavia in blue and Moldavia (parts inside and outside Romania) in yellow

A union between Moldavia and Romania was confirmed by the Treaty of Paris (1920), but this was not recognised by the Soviet Union. After World War II, parts of Moldavia were made into the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldavia, and the most eastern parts were handed over to Ukraine. In 1991, the Moldavian SSR declared independence under the name "Moldova."


The original name of the region was Bogdania, named after Bogdan I , founder of Moldavia. The names "Moldavia" and "Moldova" are derived from the name of the Moldova river, however the etymology is not known and there are several variants:

  • Daco-Romanian "Molte-dava" ("Many cities"), however this does not follow the sound changes that would make the intervowel "v" to disappear
  • the old German "Molde", meaning "open-pit mine"
  • a Slavic etymology ("-ova" is a quite common Slavic suffix), the meaning of which is unknown.


The partition of Moldavia within Romania's borders has a population of 4,681,555 (2002), while the partition making up the country of Moldova has a population of 4,431,570 (2002). Data for the population of the partitions within the Ukraine is unreliable, however it is estimated to be between 1,500,000 and 2,000,000 people. The estimated total for all partitions is over 10,500,000 people.

See also:

Romanian historical regions:
Dobrogea : Cadrilater

Moldavia : Bessarabia | Bugeac | Bukovina

Transylvania : Banat | Crişana | Maramureş

Wallachia : Muntenia | Oltenia

Last updated: 02-05-2005 22:06:37
Last updated: 02-26-2005 13:00:46