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History of Moldova

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Prehistorical Age

Paleolith


The earliest traces of human habitation were found on the territory of the contemporary Moldova. These signs indicate that they belong to the early Palaeolithic period and it was 200 - 70 thousands years ago. From this period of time we can identify the remains of Acheulian culture - Vyhvatintsy, grottoes, Old Duruitori. Remains of Mousterian culture, belonging to the middle Paleolithic age (70 - 40 thousand years ago) have been found in the villages of Trinca, Buzduzhany and Budeshty. And in the late Paleolithic period (40-10 thousand years ago) we can see the traces of modern human being, known as Cro-Magnon (grottos in Chutuleshty I, Brinzeni I, Rascov VII).

История Молдавии

Mesolithic, the Middle Stone Age

On the territory of Moldova Republic in the villages Frumushika and Sarateni were exposed remains of Mesolithic Epoch (VIII - V BC.).

Neolithic, the latest period of the Stone Age

Ancient culture that is related with this period of time in Moldova is known as the Bugo - Dniester civilization. Researches discovered and determined it by a group of small settlements that lived near Soroca. At the end of this period (V millennium BC) – on the territory between two rivers Dniester and Prut penetrated some tribes as well as they brought with themselves – culture, customs and traditions of Linear Pottery.

Copper - Stone Century

At the end of V and the beginning of IV centuries BC - on the Dniester- Carpathian territory as a result of merging and interactions of Bug-Dniester and the Linear Pottery cultures, in addition the powerful influence of the Lower Danube culture named Bojan originated Tripoli culture of Aeneolithic or Copper - Stone Age. This culture was developing during two thousand years. The most prominent monuments of this period belong to the city like Floreshty, villages Vyhvatintsy, Soloncheny, Karbuna, Jura and Brinzeni. In the south region of Moldova during the Aeneolithic period also lived tribes of Gumelnits culture. They are close to Tripoli civilization. Monuments confirming this phenomenon and factual evidence can be found in Lopatsika village and town of Vulkaneshty.

The Bronze Age

In the early period of this century (the end of III - and the beginning of the II millennium BC) dominated the nomadic tribes of cattle- breeders, inhabiting the territory of Moldova at that time. In the middle and late periods of the Bronze Age population gets settled, engaged in farming and cattle- breeding.

At the end of this period, the territory of Moldova is divided into two zones: step and forest - step. In the step zone lived Cimmerians and the tribes of the Noua culture inhabited forest – step zone. Monuments of the Early and the Middle Periods of the Bronze Age are presented mostly by burial mounds that are scattered throughout our country.

The Iron Age

In the first half of the first millennium BC Thracian tribes moved into the forest - steppe zone of two rivers Dniester and Prut. They are the bearers of Hallstatt culture. Cimmerians still dwell in steppe zone.

The Thracian culture of Hallstatt developed in Moldova can be divided into three stages:

1) the early period (X-IX centuries  BC, Chisinau, villages of Mindresti and Lukashevka),

2) the evolution from the Late Bronze Age to the early Iron Age – it is the Middle Period of this Age (VIII-VI centuries BC, villages of Sholdaneshty and Seliste) – people apply iron tools,

3) the late period (V century BC) - the evolution to the Getae culture from the Thracian Hallstatt (villages of Pyrzholteny, Dancheni).

Getae IV-I century BC

During the IV – III centuries BC one of the groups of the north Thracian tribes settled on the territory in between of two rivers the Dniester - Prut (Getae - Dacians).

Getae being in the phase of military democracy united into tribes. Their original settlements were excavated (villages Saharna and Butucheny). Getae maintained trading and supported business relations with the Greek Black Sea colonies. Coins from Tyra – is the name of the town at that time (modern Belgorod - Dniester city) and Greek clay amphora give evidence of this.

Then at the end of III century and the beginning of II centuries BC the pomeranian tribes (Russian settlers and traders on the coasts of the White Sea and the Barents Sea) invaded the territory of Getae, these tribes in most written sources are usually identified with the Galatians or Bastarnians. As a result of this merge and the formation of  a larger population that set off the evolution of a new material culture - Lukaszewski,  inherited lots of Getae civilization elements.

In the IV - III centuries BC settled tribes inhabited the step part of the coast of the Dniester estuary. Researchers usually treat these tribes as Hellenic Scythians descendants of Herodotus.   As well as this during other incursions and military campaigns the nomadic Scythians penetrated into the Dniester - Carpathian lands.

Roman influence I-III century AC

In the Ist century AD Roman expansion began to get stronger within the Lower Danube region. Romans created the province Lower Moesia, now it is the territory of the Romanian Dobrogea and that of northern Bulgaria. The Roman garrison entered Tyre in 57 AD. Thanks to the floor tiles with the stamps of the 1st Italic and the 5th Macedonian legions, found on the left bank of the Danube river and its mouth, it can be supposed that these legions were on the south of the Dniester -Prut interfluves , where now it is situated the village of Orlovka in Odessa region  Some scientists consider that the southern Trojans bank that crosses rivers from the west to the east, it was built by the Roman emperor Trojan in order to conquer some encroaching nomads upon this territory. However, this data now seems to have been overturned thanks to the excavation evidence.

Thanks to Roman expansion acceleration and  the development of early political formations among the Geto –Dacian population were formed. There exist certain kinds of information that in the I`st century AD Geto- Dacian tribes were united under the wise guidance of Burebista, but this union appears to have quickly broken up. In the I century BC the Carpathian region became the place and the centre of Geto -Dacian political formations. Thus the very new and early forms of the state were born.

As a result of two violent wars the Roman Emperor Trojan defeated the part of the Geto - Dacian territory and formed a new province of Dacia. The Roman and the Romanised colonists occupied and populated this area. The Authorities implemented an into life policy of Getae -Dacian Romanisation.

However, the territory of contemporary Moldova was not involved into this process, and therefore Romanisation as such was not performed here. In spite of this, the population of this area was thought to be under some Roman influence.

История Молдавии

Barbarians in the III - V centuries

In 271 the pressure of barbarians forced the Romans to leave the province of Dacia and come back to the right bank of the Danube River. Romanised part of the population were evacuated and the rest people remained in the villages and cities, mostly in the foothill areas. Later on these settlements influenced the ethnic cultural heritage of Vlachs, who are the ancestors of East Latins. They afterwards settled on the territory of Moldova.

As a result of "the this Great Migration" on the territory of Moldova penetrated various barbarian tribes like: Heruli, veneda, Gepids , Sarmatians, Goths and the others.

In the III – IV centuries on the Dniester -Prut interfluves developed Cherniahovska Culture (settlements in the villages of Sobaru and Budeshti) carried by the Sarmatians, Thracians, Goths and Wends etc.

At the end of the IV century these lands were devastated by Huns. They destroyed the tribes of Cherniahovska Culture, later the remained tribes were assimilated by the Slavs.

Slavs in the V - XI centuries

At the end of V - VI centuries early Slavs widely penetrated into the Dniester - Carpathian lands. They settled on the territory between the Dniester and the Carpathians, where they met those remaining tribes of Cherniahovska Culture and assimilate altogether. Valley of the Dniester as well as Prut and Siret rivers were comfortable, this way paved the road for the Slavs to the Danube River and the Balkan Peninsula. Union of the Slavs with the remaining tribes confirms such type of Cherniahovska Culture ceramics, which is characteristic and is often met on the territory of early Slavic settlements.

The Slavs that populated Dniester - Carpathian lands were part of the two major tribal alliances - sklavinsky and antsky. According to the Gothic historian Jordanes, the border between these unions was mainly along the Dniester line, however onto the south side the boundary of Antsky tribal alliance extends to the Lower Danube. Documentary sources mention about the leaders of the northern coast of the Lower Danube as Musoke, Pirogast, Ardagast. From the undated part of the "Tales of Bygone Years" you can find out that the ethnic group of Tiver is one of the extreme south-western population of Antsky tribes occupied the area along the banks of the Dniester River and stretched to the Danube and the Black Sea. It was a fortified settlement in IX - XI centuries, and their remains have been found in village Ekimautsy (Ekimautsky settlement).

Overall in the area between the Dniester and Prut rivers were discovered more than 30 Slavic settlements relating to VI - VII centuries (Ghanaian (Khan), Hoocha), and about two hundred settlements in VIII – IX centuries (Alchedar, Lopatna, Branesti, Odaya).
In the X century the Slavic tribes that lived on the territory of modern Moldova, were dependent on the ancient Russian state, and at times were as part of its union. The southern part of the Dniester - Carpathian lands were inhabited by tribes of the Balkan - Danubian culture, mainly they were the southern Slavs who penetrates into the territory of Moldova at a time when the Bulgarian Empire extended its influence to the north of the Danube River (IX-XI century).

История Молдавии

Nomads  in the XI-XIII centuries

Pechenegs , who arose in the X century in the Northern Black Sea steps during which  time for over a century, threatened the settlements from the Dnieper to the Danube river area. In the second half of XI-XII centuries Cumans moved into the Danube - Dniester lands.
Nomads invaders unfavourably affected the numbers of the Slavic population in the Dniester - Carpathian region, which significantly decreased. It followed that between the Carpathians and the Dniester River in the northern steps region in the XII-XIII centuries lived the remainder of the Slavic settlements and Vlachs penetrating here from the foothills of the Carpathians. In XII-XIII centuries the power and control of Galician authority extended not only into the northern part of the Dniester - Carpathian lands, and with the time it was throughout the whole territory.

The so called "Gone" Slavs lived alongside the bank of the Dniester river, being near to the Galich lands. They escaped there from the acres possessed by Volyn and Galician princes and from the oppression of the boyars. On the lower Danube in the XI-XIII centuries appeared such establishments that look like a state body politic and it was called Berladskaya land. The center of this community was city Berlad on the Barlad River in Romania. Its population consisted of various runaway tribes; they escaped from feudal oppression of the Russian principalities.

Nearby the famous Galician Slavs lived another ethnic group – is brodniki, and there is no any factual information about them.
In the area of the river Milkov settled some part of Polovtsian population. On this place in the XIII century there was Kuman bishopric, Vlachs also were part of this county.

The Golden Horde in the XIII-XIV centuries

Mongol - Tatars, destroying everything in their path, in 1237 defeated 40 Russian principalities. They moved into the west direction with the goal to conquer the Dniester - Carpathian lands. In written sources said that the Mongol - Tatars ravaged Cuman bishopric and occupied land of Brodnikov. Then, during the second half of the XIII and the first half of XIV centuries certain parts of the Tatars settled in the plains near the mouth of the Danube River. Invaders included the Southeast Carpathian - Dniester territory into the Golden Horde territory. The rest areas, including those of the Carpathian foothills, which also were likely influenced by them, although they not considered as a part of the possessions of the Golden Horde.

История Молдавии

Mongol - Tatar authorities colonised the territory that was enriched with the different ethnic settlement, and later on in such a way appeared this syncretised culture of the Golden Horde. During this period appeared cities. Excavations at the villages of Trebujeni (Old Orhei region) and Kosteshty (Ialoveni district) clear the real evidence of this phenomenon. In the southeast there are two ancient trading cities - Kilia (Likostomo) and Belgrade (Moncastro). In these cities prevailed Genoese trading money.

During the XII-XIV centuries, Vlachs eventually become the core population in the Dniester - Carpathian lands. The chronicles "The Tale of Bygone Years" contains the very earliest information about these people in the north direction from the Danube River. It tells that in 898 AD the Vlachs were neighbouring with the Slavs somewhere in the Carpathian Mountains and to the west of them. Byzantine historian Nikita Choniate (1164) first mentions Vlachs living near the borders of Galichian Russia.

Eastern Districts of the Carpathian lands in XIV century were the most densely populated. They were at the very beginning of the Moldovan state foundation.  In the XVI - XVIII centuries Transnistrian region was settling by the Vlachs)

Moldavia in the XIV-XIX centuries

In the XIV century the power of the Golden Horde weakened. Moldovan territory, located west from the River Prut, for a long time have been under the yoke of the Golden Horde, and in the 40s of the same century, the Hungarians took their control over this region and turned it into their brand. The first Moldovan ruler became Dragos Voda, who came to power in 1351. By the order of his king Dragos Voda went with his army against the Mongols, who roamed between the Prut and the Dniester rivers. Mongolian troops were forced to retreat across the river Dniester, and retaken lands ceded to the Moldavian Bessarabia, significantly expanding its territory.

История Молдавии

After Dragos this territory is ruled by his son Sas, and then grandson Balk. In 1359 Bogdan I quarreled with the Hungarian king, arrived here and took the throne from Balk. He proclaimed an independent principality and became the first sovereign ruler of the Moldovan state. After a long struggle in 1365 Hungarians recognized independent principality.

After the failure to turn the population of the Moldavian principality into Catholics in 1371 (according to other sources in 1373), Lacko ruler (the son of Bogdan) asked Archbishop to devote to the Principality two of his bishops. This led to a complete consolidation of the Orthodox Church in the country.

Once the throne went to Peter I Musat, the state became much stronger and actively being involved with more foreign policy. Under his ruling for example, there was the first officially Russian -Moldovan agreement signed, furthermore Moldavian Principality entered into the Polish - Lithuanian union. This union guaranteed military assistance of the neighbours from the north - Lithuania and Poland. However, as a result of this agreement in 1387 the ruler was forced to admit the Principality for dependence from Poland.

Due to Galicia – Volyn’s state’s disintegration, helped to expand Moldova to the north, because it included the former Galicia fortresses of Khmelev, Cecina, Hotin, from Poland and managed to take Pokutie as pledge for 3000 silver rubles.

История Молдавии

Under the rule of Roman I Musat, which was then being followed, the principality, as a result of reclaimed lands from the Tatars began to expand to the south. Firstly they conquered the space between the Prut, Dniester and the Black Sea in the south of Bessarabia and later on fortresses of Kilia and Cetatea, Alba - also became a part of this principality. However, despite this, Poland still had an influence within Moldavia.

In 1394 as a result of the war with Poland, the Polish protégé Stephen I Musat took over the throne. In 1395 it was recognised the Polish suzerainty. Nevertheless, the Polish government controlled power for long time, and in 1399 the Vlachs invaded the country, placing on the throne Alexander I the Good.

The principality flourished during the reign of Alexander. Well thought out the foreign policy had lead the principality nearer to Wallachia, Poland and Byzantium. Later, it was also allied with Hungary. As a result, the Turkish army advancing into Moldavia was defeated. Alexander I the Good ruled the Moldavian principality for forty years and during his reign the country became  stronger and more powerful, far more than that he since when he had inherited the country from the Polish dependence. In 1442 after the death of Alexander a war for the throne started within the country. Various Rulers took their turns. This instability led to a division into two kingdoms, being the principalities of (Upper Country) Tara de Sus and (Lower Country) Tara de Jos. They were ruled by the associated rulers. In 1457 due to the Wallachia intervention Stefan the Great became the ruler.

In 1456, the Principality of Moldavia became vassal dependence from Turkey. On the border of the 16th and 17th centuries, the state becomes the object of interest for neighbours: the Ottoman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire. During these periods of war Moldova frequently fell under the influence of other states.

In 1711, the Moldovan ruler Dimitrie Cantemir in Iasi swears allegiance to Russia. Later on Cantemir with his family and courtiers moved to Russia, and becomes one of the persons of attendance of Peter I. Taking into account that Prince Cantemir was a distinguished Orientalist, Peter I appointed him as his adviser for the East in the Persian campaign (1722-1723).

In 1774 Moldova falls under Russian protectorate. Under the terms of the Bucharest peace in 1812, part of the land between the rivers Prut and Dniester goes to Russia, and it is called Bessarabia.

• 1812-1917 Bessarabia is a part of the Russian Empire
• 1918 Foundation of the Moldavian Democratic Republic
• 1918 - 1940 Bessarabia is part of Romania
• 1924 - 1940 Moldavian ASSR
• 1940 - 1991 period of Moldavian SSR
• 1991 up to date Independent Republic

Interesting facts

- Such plant as potato appeared in Moldova only in the XVIII century. Even in XIX century it was impossible to say that potatoes were a popular garden vegetable. Yet in 1842 in the village of Kolikautsy in Khotinsky reagion was the case when farmers refused to cultivate potatoes, moreover, they threatened to beat anyone who "will deal with the accursed poison”.

- There were a lot of interesting names for the territory of the modern Moldova. In medieval foreign sources our country named "Rosovlahiya" which means Wallachia in Russia, Little Wallachia", "Moldoslaviya" etc. The Turks named it Bogdania, in the honour of the first governor Bogdan I, and even sometimes sources revealed the name of Kara – Iflac.

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