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European Kingdoms

Eastern Europe

 

 

 

Moldavia & Bessarabia

There is no archaeological evidence of a Scandinavian origin for the Przeworsk culture, but there is some evidence of an undetermined connection between north-western Europe (Jutland, Holstein, Mecklenburg) and Central Poland, western Ukraine, and Moldova at the crossover from Early Pre-Roman Iron Age into the late period, during the second half of the third century BC. The nature of this connection is still the subject of study by a good many scholars from many northern and eastern European countries, but it would seem to offer tentative support to a migration of early Germanic tribes from Jutland and surrounding environs.

Much of Moldavia was occupied by the Germanic Bastarnae in the first century BC, but parts of this tribe were subjugated by Rome and resettled on the south bank of the Danube, while the rest came to be dominated by the Goths. Subsequently, the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia were the first Vlach (Romance-language) states to form north of the Danube. They appeared once the incursions by nomadic Steppe peoples such as the Huns and Mongols had ceased. They were never subject to the Byzantine emperors in Constantinople, and they occupied territories that had only been partially occupied and then swiftly abandoned by the Roman empire in the third century.

As with Wallachia, during the fourteenth century, the principality of Moldavia gained a degree of self-rule which ended with the Turkish occupation and rule of the Balkans.

(Additional information by Jes Martens and Edward Dawson.)

? - 1365

Bogdan the Founder

1365 - 1374

Latcu

1374 - 1391

Petru Mursat

1391 - 1394

Roman I

1394 - 1399

Stephen I

1400 - 1432

Alexander the Good

1418? - 1456

Petru Aaron

1457 - 1504

Stephen II the Great

1517 - 1527

Stefanita

1527 - 1538

Petru Rares

1538

Moldavia is conquered by the Ottomans. Ottoman rule is not direct, and local princes are allowed to govern the principality.

Map of the Tartar Khanates AD 1500
The Mongol empire created by Chingiz Khan gradually broke up over the course of three hundred years until, by around AD 1500, it had fragmented into several more-or-less stable khanates that each vied with the others for power and influence, while having to fend off the growing power of the Ottoman empire to the south and Moscow Sate (Muscovy) to the north - in the end it was an unwinnable fight (click on map to show full sized)

1556

Alexandru Lapusneaunu

1561 - 1563

Iacob Eraclid

1572 - 1574

John the Terrible

1574 - ?

Peter the Lame

c.1595

Stefan Razvan

1600 - 1601

Michael the Brave of Transylvania briefly unites the three principalities that later form Rumania - Moldavia, Transylvania, and Wallachia.

? - 1606

Ieremia Movila

1606 - 1607

Simeon Movila

1626 - 1629

Miron Barnovschi Movila

1633

Miron Barnovschi Movila

1634 - 1653

Vasie Lupu

1685 - 1693

Constantine Cantemir

Phanaroits (Tax Farmer Princes) in Moldavia
AD 1711 - 1821

In occupied Wallachia and Moldavia, the Ottomans began the destructive practice of appointing Greek tax farmers, known as the Phanariots (from the Phanar section of Istanbul), as princes. They were placed in power simply to get as much money out of the land as possible.

(Additional information from Security Dynamics in the Former Soviet Bloc, Graeme P Herd & Jennifer D P Moroney (2003), Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe, Jan Zielonka (2001), Russia - Continuity and Change, Gerald Hinteregger & Hans-Georg Heinrich (Eds), European Yearbook 2000, Francis Rosenstiel, Edith Lejard, Jean Boutsavath & Jacques Martz, De Facto States: The Quest for Sovereignty, Barry Bartmann, T Bahcheli (2004), and from External Link: BBC Country Profiles.)

1711 - 1714

Nicholas Mavrocordat

Tax Farmer of Wallachia (1716-1717, 1719-1730).

1714 - 1716

Stephen Cantacuzino

1717 - ?

Michael Racovita

Tax Farmer of Wallachia (1741-1744).

1726 - 1733

Gregoy Ghica

1741 - 1743

Constantine Mavrocordat

Tax Farmer of Wallachia (1735-1741, 1744-1748).

? - 1763

Constantine Mavrocordat

1774

The Russian right of intervention is established at the Treaty of Kuchuk Karinarji.

1774 - 1777

Gregoy Ghica

1786 - 1788

Alexander Ypsilanti

Former prince of Wallachia (1775-1782). Restored (1796).

? - 1806

Alexander Moruzi

1806 - 1812

The Russians take Wallachia and Moldavia from the Ottomans in battle and occupy the region. Upon the advance into Russia of the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, they sign a quick treaty and evacuate their troops northwards.

1812 - 1819

Scarlat Calimah

1828 - 1834

Russia re-occupies both principalities and controls the area under Governor Count Kisselev. In 1834, Moldavia and Wallachia adopt a unified basic constitution, the Reglamentul Organic, which provides for their eventual unification.

1834 - 1849

Mihai Sturdza

1848 - 1851

Russia occupies both principalities.

1853 - 1854

Russia again occupies both principalities, but is preoccupied fighting the Crimean War (1853-1856).

1854 - 1857

Russia is weakened after losing the Crimean War. Austria occupies the principalities, which are now united as one administrative region.

1859

Effectively united with Wallachia as a single principality, the country is now under autonomous rule.

1859 - 1866

Alexander John Cuza of Moldavia

Ruled both Moldavia and Wallachia. Abdicated.

1862

The personal union of the two Danubian principalities is consolidated into a new state which is called Rumania. Prince Cuza (known by the local form of his name, Alexandru Ioan Cuza) launches an ambitious policy of economic, political, military, educational and social reform, encompassing a parliament, land reform and the adoption of a civil code.

1866

Landed interests and disgruntled liberal politicians force the increasingly authoritarian Prince Cuza to abdicate. Parliament invites the Prussian Prince Karl (Charles) Eitel Frederick of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen to succeed him.

1866 - 1881

Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen

Prussian prince invited to rule both principalities.

1878

When the Ottomans are defeated in the Russo-Turkish War (1876-1878). Russia invades the area and Rumania is proclaimed independent. As in Greece and Bulgaria, a European prince heads the new monarchy. Charles / Karl of Hohenzollern is recognised by the Congress of Berlin, and Wallachia and Moldavia are officially united to form Rumania.

1881

The kingdom of Rumania is officially proclaimed, with Charles as its first monarch. Romanians in the Hungarian province of Transylvania form a National Party to campaign for their rights, but meet with repression by the Hungarian authorities.

1904 - 1914

The Second Aliyah to Palestine is triggered in 1903 by an anti-Jewish riot in the city of Kishinev (modern Chişinău), the capital of the province of Bessarabia in Moldavia, now part of the Russian empire. Something like 40,000 Jews settle in Palestine, although only half remain permanently.

1916 - 1918

The death of King Karel has ended Rumania's alliance with the First World War Central Powers. On 17 August 1916, Rumania, long courted by the Allies, is finally persuaded by promises from France and Russia that it will gain the principality of Transylvania from Hungary. Its war effort is quickly defeated when it attacks into Hungary instead of holding a front against Bulgaria, as agreed. However, when the Russian and Austrian empires collapse it gets what it wants. Furthermore, the ethnic Rumanians of the Russian provinces of Bessarabia and Moldavia declare a Moldavian People's Republic in January 1918, with the Rumanian army close at hand. In April, these regions become part of Rumania proper. The country's gains in populace amount to about a quarter of its total figure, although it has lost Southern Dobruja to Bulgaria.

Kingdom of Rumania with Bessarabia & Moldavia
AD 1918 - 1940

The state of Romania (or Rumania in older usage) came into being as a principality in 1859 under Ottoman suzerainty. It was formed out of the late-Byzantine and then Ottoman-ruled Danubian principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia. The new country gained independence from the Ottomans in 1877-1878 following the Ottoman defeat at the hands of Russia. Karl (or Karel) of the Prussian royal family of Hohenzollern had already been invited to form a new monarchy for Wallachia, and so he became the first king of Rumania in 1881 when the kingdom was officially proclaimed.

Northern Dobruja was soon added in return for Rumania's part in the 1876-1878 Russo-Turkish War and in compensation for the loss of some territory which abutted southern Bessarabia (mostly within modern Moldova). This gave the kingdom much of its Black Sea coastline to the north of the Danube.

Much more territory was added out of the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire, between 1918-1920. Romanians in the Hungarian province of Transylvania had already formed a 'National Party' to campaign for their rights, but had met with repression by the Hungarian authorities. Now they too were able to join Rumania, in 1919, beginning the 'Greater Romania' period which lasted until 1940.

(Additional information from Hitler's Forgotten Ally: Ion Antonescu and his Regime, Romania, 1940-1944, Dennis Deletant, 2006, and Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopaedia Volume 1, Bernard A Cook (Ed), and from External Link: BBC Country Profiles.)

1914 - 1927

Ferdinand

King of Rumania, Bessarabia & Moldavia.

1927

Upon the death of King Ferdinand, his son Karel is prevented from succeeding him thanks to a scandalous lifestyle and a renunciation of his rights to the Rumanian throne. Instead his own son, the young Michael, is placed on the throne with Karel's brother Nicolae acting as regent. Karel spends three years in exile.

1927 - 1930

Michael / Mihai

King of Rumania, Bessarabia & Moldavia.

1927 - 1930

Nicolae

Uncle and regent.

1930

Karel changes his mind about accepting exile and returns to Rumania. With the support of the governing National Peasants' Party he proclaims himself king, effectively deposing his own son. This is despite having permanently signed away any right to rule in official documents which had been written and signed in front of his own father.

1930 - 1940

Karel / Carol II

King of Rumania, Bessarabia & Moldavia. Forced to abdicate.

1930s

As with elsewhere in Europe, this decade is an unsettled and dangerous one for Rumania, together with its eastern regions of Bessarabia and Moldavia. The country witnesses the rise of the green-shirted fascist 'Iron Guard' mass movement and weakened government after government as the country lurches towards nationalist leanings.

King Karel II of Rumania
King Karel II of Rumania, pictured next to his brother, Prince Nicholas (on the right), became increasingly dictatorial during the troubled years of the 1930s

1938

Following the country's slide towards fascism and his own somewhat mixed relationship with fascism's leaders in Rumania, Karel II establishes an absolute monarchy - effectively a dictatorship.

1940

Russia seizes Bessarabia before Rumania becomes an active ally of Germany. The seizure is made under the terms of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. The industrialised territory to the east of the Dniester, generally known as Trans-Dniester or the Dniester region, is taken from Ukraine and combined with Bessarabia to form the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic
AD 1940 - 1991

The region of Bessarabia, on the west bank of the River Dniester, had been part of the kingdom of Rumania since 1918. Soviet Russia seized it in 1940 before Rumania could become an active ally of Nazi Germany. The seizure was made under the terms of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.

The industrialised territory to the east of the Dniester was generally known as Trans-Dniester or the Dniester region. An autonomous area within Ukraine until now, it was taken by Moscow and combined with Bessarabia to form the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic.

The bulk of the Moldavian republic lay between the rivers Dniester and Prut.

Two-thirds of Moldovans were and still are of Romanian descent, the languages being virtually identical, and the two countries share a common cultural heritage. This area was inhabited mainly by Russian and Ukrainian speakers who shared no real cultural or linguistic affinity with the Bessarabians.

(Additional information from Security Dynamics in the Former Soviet Bloc, Graeme P Herd & Jennifer D P Moroney (2003), Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe, Jan Zielonka (2001), Russia - Continuity and Change, Gerald Hinteregger & Hans-Georg Heinrich (Eds), European Yearbook 2000, Francis Rosenstiel, Edith Lejard, Jean Boutsavath & Jacques Martz, De Facto States: The Quest for Sovereignty, Barry Bartmann, T Bahcheli (2004), and from External Links: BBC Country Profiles.)

1990

Increasingly alarmed at the state of the Soviet Union, the prospect of its break-up, and that of closer ties with Romania, the Trans-Dniester region of Moldavia unilaterally declares independence from Moldova. A long, narrow strip of territory on the east bank of the Dniester, its population is largely formed of Ukrainian and Russian speakers who do not share the largely Romanian heritage of the majority of Moldavians.

1991

Thanks to behind-the-scenes manoeuvring by the newly-elected president of the Russian republic, Boris Yeltsin, on Christmas Day 1991 Communist USSR President Gorbachev announces the termination of the Soviet Communist State. The Soviet Republics become independent sovereign states (if they had not already become so since 1989), including Belarus, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, North Ossetia, Poland, Romania, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Modern Moldova (with Transnistria)
AD 1991 - Present Day

Today Moldova is a parliamentary republic with its capital in the city of Chișinău (often shown in English-language publications as Chisinau, and which was known historically as Kishinev). A landlocked country, it is surrounded to the north, east, and south by Ukraine, and to the west by Romania.

The bulk of modern Moldava lies between the rivers Dniester and Prut, and is largely made up of an area formerly known as Bessarabia. This territory was annexed by the USSR in 1940. Two-thirds of Moldovans are of Romanian descent, the languages being virtually identical, and the two countries share a common cultural heritage. The industrialised territory to the east of the Dniester, generally known as Trans-Dniester or the Dniester region, was formerly an autonomous area within Ukraine before 1940, when the Soviet Union combined it with Bessarabia to form the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic. This area is mainly inhabited by Russian and Ukrainian speakers. As people there became increasingly alarmed at the prospect of closer ties with Romania in the tumultuous twilight years of the Soviet Union, Trans-Dniester unilaterally declared independence from Moldova in 1990 as Transnistria. They remain divided from Moldava but unrecognised as a nation state in their own right.

Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe and has a large foreign debt and high unemployment. It is heavily dependent on Russia for energy supplies, and Russia has not hesitated in taking advantage of this fact as a way of exerting economic pressure on Moldova. The fact that the Moldovan economy has traditionally been heavily dependent upon the export of wine to Russia has also allowed Moscow to apply economic pressure by occasionally banning the import of Moldovan wine.

(Additional information from Security Dynamics in the Former Soviet Bloc, Graeme P Herd & Jennifer D P Moroney (2003), Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe, Jan Zielonka (2001), Russia - Continuity and Change, Gerald Hinteregger & Hans-Georg Heinrich (Eds), European Yearbook 2000, Francis Rosenstiel, Edith Lejard, Jean Boutsavath & Jacques Martz, De Facto States: The Quest for Sovereignty, Barry Bartmann, T Bahcheli (2004), and from External Links: BBC Country Profiles, and Royal funeral for Romania's uncrowned Queen Anne (BBC).)

1992

Following the official dissolution of the Soviet Union and the declaration of Moldovan sovereignty, fierce fighting takes place in the Trans-Dniester region as it tries to assert its 1990 declaration of independence in the form of a presidential republic. Between March and July 1992 hundreds die, and the violence only ends with the introduction of Russian peacekeepers. Calling itself the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR, also known as Pridnestrovie), Trans-Dniester's independence remains unrecognised and the region exists in a state of lawless and corrupt limbo. Moldova refers to it as Stînga Nistrului, meaning 'Left Bank of the Dniester'.

Modern Chișinău
Modern Chișinău bears all the hallmarks of mass Soviet-era concrete construction, although living standards in the twenty-first century are slowly improving

1994

The Moldovan parliament grants autonomous status to the Turkic-speaking Gagauz region in the country's south-west late in 1994. It has powers over its own political, economic and cultural affairs.

2006

The Trans-Dniester region (Transnistria) reasserts its demand for independence and also expresses support for a plan ultimately to join Russia in a September 2006 referendum which is unrecognised by Chișinău and the international community. It still houses a stockpile of old Soviet military equipment and a contingent of troops of the Russian 14th Army. Withdrawal had begun under international agreements in 2001 but this had been halted when the Trans-Dniester authorities blocked the dispatch of weapons. Subsequent agreements to resume the removal of weapons do not reach fruition as relations between Moscow and Chișinău cool.

2012

In November, Moscow issues an ultimatum telling Chișinău to withdraw from energy agreements with the EU or face losing discounts on Russian gas supplies from Russia.

2013 - 2014

Wine is among a broad range of Moldovan agricultural exports that are banned by Russia before and after the country's signing of an EU association agreement, along with Ukraine and Georgia. But the pro-EU government defies calls from Russia for it to delay the deal's implementation.

2016

A royal funeral takes place at Curtea de Arges in central Romania on 13 August 2016. A day of mourning is also declared both in Romania and Moldova, and flags fly at half-mast. The ceremony is for Queen Anne of Romania, after she passes away in hospital in Switzerland on 1 August, at the age of ninety-two. Romania's President Klaus Iohannis, Moldova's President Nicolae Timofti, many other statesmen, and thousands of well-wishers have already paid their respects as her coffin lay in state at Peles Castle at Sinaia and at the Royal Palace in Bucharest.