Principality of Moldavia

Țara Moldovei  (Romanian)
Flag of Moldova
Moldavia under Stephen the Great, 1483
Moldavia under Stephen the Great, 1483
CapitalBaia/Siret (1343–1388)
Suceava (1388–1564)
Iași (Jassy) (1564–1859)
Common languages
Eastern Orthodox
Princes of Moldavia (Voivodes, Hospodars) 
• 1346–1353 (first)
• 1859–1862 (last)
Alexandru Ioan Cuza
• Foundation of the Moldavian mark
• De jure union with Wallachia
5 February [O.S. 24 January] 1859 1859
ISO 3166 codeMD
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of Hungary (1301-1382).svgKingdom of Hungary (1301–1526)
Golden Horde flag 1339.svgGolden Horde
United Principalities
Duchy of Bukovina
Bessarabia Governorate
Today part of
Part of a series on the
Coat of arms of Romania
Flag of Romania.svg Romania portal
Part of a series on the
Coat of arms of Moldova
Flag of Moldova.svg Moldova portal

Moldavia (Romanian: Moldova, pronounced [molˈdova] (About this soundlisten) or Țara Moldovei (in Romanian Latin alphabet), literally The Moldavian Country; in old Romanian Cyrillic alphabet: Цара Мѡлдовєй) is a historical region and former principality in Central and Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester River. An initially independent and later autonomous state, it existed from the 14th century to 1859, when it united with Wallachia (Țara Românească) as the basis of the modern Romanian state; at various times, Moldavia included the regions of Bessarabia (with the Budjak), all of Bukovina and Hertza. The region of Pokuttya was also part of it for a period of time.

The western half of Moldavia is now part of Romania, the eastern side belongs to the Republic of Moldova, and the northern and southeastern parts are territories of Ukraine.

Name and etymology

The original and short-lived reference to the region was Bogdania, after Bogdan I, the founding figure of the principality. 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:[7][8]

  • a legend mentioned in Descriptio Moldaviae by Dimitrie Cantemir links it to an aurochs hunting trip of the Maramureș voivode Dragoș and the latter's chase of a star-marked bull. Dragoș was accompanied by his female hound called Molda; when they reached the shores of an unfamiliar river, Molda caught up with the animal and was killed by it. The dog's name would have been given to the river and extended to the country.
  • the old German Molde, meaning "open-pit mine"
  • the Gothic Mulda (Gothic: 𐌼𐌿𐌻𐌳𐌰, Runic: ᛗᚢᛚᛞᚨ) meaning "dust", "dirt" (cognate with the English mould), referring to the river.
  • a Slavic etymology (-ova is a quite common Slavic suffix), marking the end of one Slavic genitive form, denoting ownership, chiefly of feminine nouns (i.e., "that of Molda").
  • A landowner named Alexa Moldaowicz is mentioned in a 1334 document as a local boyar in service to Yuriy II of Halych; this attests to the use of the name before the foundation of the Moldavian state and could be the source for the region's name.[citation needed]

In several early references,[9] "Moldavia" is rendered under the composite form Moldo-Wallachia (in the same way Wallachia may appear as Hungro-Wallachia). Ottoman Turkish references to Moldavia included Boğdan Iflak (meaning "Bogdan's Wallachia") and Boğdan (and occasionally Kara-Boğdan – "Black Bogdania"). See also names in other languages.

The name of the region in other languages include French: Moldavie, German: Moldau, Hungarian: Moldva, Russian: Молдавия (Moldaviya), Turkish: Boğdan Prensliği, Greek: Μολδαβία.