Principality of Moldova

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The Principality of Moldova ( Romanian Principatul Moldovei ; alt.slaw. Землѧ Молдавскаѧ Zemlya Moldavskaya ) was a state in southeastern Europe , whose territory is now Romania , the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine . Both Romania and the Republic of Moldova see themselves as the successor state of this principality .

The territorial expansion of the Danube Principalities of Moldova and Wallachia in the late Middle Ages (both states shown as sovereign, Moldova, however, from 1387 vassal state of the Kingdom of Poland within the borders of the 14th / 15th centuries)


The Principality of Moldova within the boundaries of the years 1484–1538, excluding Budschak (Bessarabia) on the Black Sea
The Principality of Moldova within the boundaries of the years 1538–1711. The zone of influence of Prince Mihai Viteazul in 1600 (an area enclosed by a red line)
The Principality of Moldova within the boundaries of the years 1776–1812
The Principality of Moldova within the boundaries of the years 1856-1859, from 1859 part of the "United Principality of Wallachia and Moldova", which was renamed the Principality of Romania in 1861

Around 1354 settlers from Maramures (according to tradition "Prince Dragoș and his people") founded the Principality of Moldova, initially as a vassal state of the Kingdom of Hungary . In 1359 the country became independent from Hungary under Prince Bogdan I , but from 1387 came under the nominal supremacy of the Kingdom of Poland for more than a century .

Most of the time after that, the borders extended to the Dniester . During the reign of Stephen the Great (ruled 1457–1503) the principality experienced a cultural and political climax. Stephan succeeded in asserting himself against the Hungarian, Polish and Ottoman expansions. Nevertheless, in 1484 he lost the south of his country (a narrow strip of territory between the fortresses Kilija and Akkerman ) to the Ottomans , who later organized the area administratively as Sanjak Budschak . As a result, the Principality of Moldova lost land connections to the Black Sea and became a landlocked country . Towards the end of his reign, Stephan got into a conflict with the Kingdom of Poland and defeated a Polish army in the Battle of Codrul Cosminului (Polish Bitwa pod Koźminem ) in 1497. Even after this defeat, the Polish rulers continued to claim suzerainty over the Principality of Moldova.

From 1512, the Moldovan princes were obliged to remain vassal (including military service and tribute ) to the Sublime Porte while maintaining their internal autonomy . After the supposed founder of the principality, the Turkish administration named the principality, which was subject to their suzerainty, Boğdan . Under Stephen successors as rulers came despite nominal submission to the supremacy of the Sultan to Constantinople Opel 1538 Tighina (Bender) with surrounding areas to the Ottoman Empire lost and has been integrated into the Sanjak Budschak. In 1711 the fortress Hotin (Khotin, Cochim) followed , which from then on was also under direct Ottoman rule.

From the second half of the 18th century, the territory of the principality came into the spheres of interest of Russia and Austria . In 1774/1775 the suzerain of the principality, the Ottoman Sultan, ceded northern parts of the Principality of Moldova ( Bukovina with Chernivtsi and Suceava ) to Austria.

In 1812 the Ottoman Sultan ceded the eastern half of the Principality of Moldova together with the Budschak, who had been under direct Ottoman administration from 1484 onwards. The area was named Bessarabia by the Russian administration and was organized as a governorate . About two thirds of this area belong to today's Republic of Moldova. In the years 1856–1878 the Principality of Moldova or Romania, due to Russia's defeat in the Crimean War , temporarily got back the Cahul, Bolgrad and Ismail areas in southern Budschak.

In 1859 the Principality of Moldova and the Principality of Wallachia became the "United Principality of Wallachia and Moldova" (Romanian Principatele Unite ale Țării Româneşti și Moldovei ), whose capital was Jassy until 1861 . On December 24, 1861, Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza officially proclaimed the Principality of Romania . From 1862 Bucharest became the capital of the Principality of Romania . After almost four centuries of Ottoman " protectorate ", Romania achieved the recognition of its state sovereignty by the Ottoman Empire through the Berlin Congress in 1878 .


The principality, named after the Moldova river , was bordered in the west by the Eastern Carpathians of Transylvania . In the south it bordered along the rivers Milcov and Sereth to Wallachia , along the Danube to the Norddobrudscha and the Black Sea. In the north-west the principality bordered on Galicia , in the north and east on the Dniester .

The areas on the other side of the Dniester of the former Moldovan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic , " Transnistria " during World War II or today's Transnistria did not belong to the territory of the Principality of Moldova, but were often under its influence. Many Moldovan boyars had possessions across the Dniester, and some Moldovan princes also had political and ecclesiastical power in Ukraine (see Petro Mohyla ).

The Moldovan aurochs

According to a legend passed down by Dimitrie Cantemir around 1714, the principality was founded in the mid-14th century by Dragoș, a local prince from Maramureș. During a hunt, he had chased an aurochs and in this way had come far east to an unknown stretch of land by a river. It is said that Dragoș set his dogs on the oxen. While fighting the giant animal, his favorite dog, Molda, was defeated and drowned in the river. In memory of the dog, Dragoș gave the river its name. Dragoș made the head of the aurochs the coat of arms of the country that he founded at the point where he got off his horse. The story also includes the fact that the prince found only one person and otherwise unpopulated area, with which later Romanian historians justified the claim to the new area east of the Carpathian Mountains. The dismounting (Romanian descălecarea ) from the horse became literally the epitome of the founding of the state: Descălecatul Moldovei , "The founding of Moldova". In fact, the area was not empty in the 14th century, but was inhabited by a mixture of Hungarians, Tatars , Kipchaks and Wallachians .

The aurochs ( zimbrul ) has been the coat of arms symbol of the Principality of Moldova ever since. The flag of the medieval Moldavian principality was red, in the middle was the head of an aurochs. This aurochs as a symbol for the Principality of Moldova was also adopted in the coats of arms of Bukovina and Bessarabia , which were separated from the Principality in the course of the 18th and 19th centuries. To this day, the Moldovan aurochs can be seen on the national coat of arms of Romania and the Republic of Moldova; some cities and administrative units in these two states still have the aurochs on their coat of arms. In Romania, two administrative units that are not assigned to the historical principality also bear the aurochs on their coat of arms: Maramureș (because of the above legend) and the Bistrița-Năsăud district (because the Moldovan prince Petru Rareș temporarily owned the Fortress Bistritz was).

See also


  • Hugo Weczerka : Medieval and early modern Germanness in the Principality of Moldova from its beginnings to its fall (13th – 17th centuries). Hamburg 1955, (Hamburg, University, dissertation, 1955, typewritten; printing: (= book series of the Southeast German Historical Commission. Volume 4, ISSN  0562-5270 ). Oldenbourg, Munich 1960).

Individual evidence

  1. Параска П. Ф. Внешнеполитические условия образования Молдавского феодального государства . АН МССР - Кишинев : Штиинца, 1981. - С. 60, 85, 134
  2. Молдаване: Очерк истории, этнографии, искусствоведения / Отв. ред. Я. С. Гросул ; АН МССР - Кишинев : Штиинца, 1977. - С. 26
  3. Руссев Н. Спорные вопросы начальной истории Молдавского средневекового государства // Журнал «Русин», № 2 (20), 2010
  4. Correction: The city of Brăila and the surrounding area in Wallachia (Wallachia on the map) was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1538. Sources: Sergiu Iosipescu: The Carparthian-Danubian Principalities' Military Alliances in the Seventeenth Century. In: Robert S. Rush, William W. Epley (Eds.): Multinational Operations, Alliances, and international Military Cooperation. Past and Future. Proceedings of the Fifth Workshop of the Partnership for Peace Consortium's Military History Working Group, Vienna, Austria, April 4-8, 2005. Center for Military History - United States Army, Washington DC 2006, pp. 13-19, here p. 14 ; Constantin Iordachi: From Imperial Entanglements to National Disentanglement: The "Greek Question" in Moldavia and Wallachia, 1611–1863. In: Roumen Daskalov, Tchavdar Marinov (ed.): Entangled Histories of the Balkans. Volume 1: National Ideologies and Language Policies (= Balkan Studies Library. 9). Brill, Leiden et al. 2013, ISBN 978-90-04-25075-8 , pp. 67-148, here p. 84 .
  6. ^ Charles King: The Moldovans. Romania, Russia, and the Politics of Culture (= Hoover Institution Press Publication. 472). Hoover Institution Press, Stanford CA 2000, ISBN 0-8179-9791-1 , p. 13.