Moldavia (Ger. Moldau; Turk. Bogdaii), a country of Europe belonging to the Turkish empire, and now together with Wallaehia forming the vassal state of Roumania. It is situated between lat. 45° and 49° N., and Ion. 25° and 30° 15' E., and is bounded N., N. E., and E. by Bessarabia, from which it is separated by the Pruth, S. E. by the Black sea, S. by the Bulgarian district of Dobrudja and by Wallaehia, being separated from the former by the Danube, W. by Transylvania, and N. W. by Bukowina; area, 18,435 sq. m.; pop. about 1,460,000. It is traversed in the north and west by various offshoots of the eastern Carpathians, through which several passes lead into Bukowina and Transylvania. The principal rivers are the Danube, which during its short course on the S. boundary receives the waters of all the others, the Pruth, and the Sereth. The chief affluents of the Pruth are the Bakhlui and Shishiya; of the Sereth, the Bistritza, Moldava, Milkov, and Birlat. The largest lakes are between the mouths of the Pruth and Sereth and in the S. E. corner of the country. Moldavia is rich in pastures, and produces wheat, maize, and other grains, excellent melons, various wines, some of which rival those of Hungary, fruits, honey in great abundance, and several minerals, especially salt.
The forests contain bears, wolves, and lynxes, and yield excellent timber; the rivers abound in fish. Locusts often appear in destructive multitudes. The inhabitants consist of Moldavians proper, of the Wallach race, Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Csango-Magyars, Franks, and gypsies. The dominant religion is the orthodox Greek. The general language is the Wallachian, in which the preponderant Latin or Romanic element is largely mixed with Slavic, Turkish, and Tartar words. Agriculture, horticulture, and grazing are the principal occupations; manufactures are scarcely developed, and commerce is almost exclusively in the hands of the Greeks, Armenians, and Jews. Wine, honey, wax, cattle, hides, horses, and timber are the chief articles of export. The most important towns are Jassy, the capital, Galatz, Ismail, Fokshani, Roman, Bakeu, and Botoshan. - In ancient times this country, which at various periods extended beyond its present limits, was occupied by the Getoe. Darius Hystaspis invaded it on his expedition against the Scyths. In the latter part of the 1st century it belonged to the Dacian kingdom of Decebalus. Parts of it were attached after his defeat to the Roman province of Dacia. During the great migration of nations it was successively invaded by the Goths, Huns, Bulgarians, and Slavic tribes.
The Avars, who became dominant in the 6th century, yielded to the Bulgarians, and these, after a few centuries, to the Khazars, Petchenegs, and others. The latter tribes successfully warred with the Magyars, but dissensions distracted the country, and the introduction of Christianity in the 11th century was almost without effect. Wars with the Greeks depopulated the country, which was soon after invaded by the Cumans. These in their turn were subdued by the Mongols. In the earlier part of the 14th century a strong Wallach immigration took place from Hungary under Bogdan, who with his son Dragosh established a dynasty of waywodes known in history under the name of the Dragoshites. The country now received the name of Moldavia from the river Moldava. The Greek creed was made predominant. Hut internal conflicts combined with external to make the long reign of the Dragoshites one of the bloodiest in history. Among the warlike princes of-the period was Stephen VI., surnamed the Great, who died in 1504; but his son und successor Bogdan III. was unfortunate in his wars with the Hungarian-itnd Poles, and having also suffered an invasion of the Tartars, he submitted himself to the suzerainty of the Porte. Bogdan's son, Stephen VII., leaned toward the Christian powers; but his successor, Peter VI., allied himself closely with Sultan Solyman the Magnificent during his expedition against Vienna. Moldavia was now a vassal province of the Ottoman empire, and soon after lost its eastern division, between the Pruth and Dniester, now known as Bessarabia, which was constituted a separate Turkish province.
This part was often reannexed and again detached. The suzerainty of the Porte little if at all ameliorated the condition of the distracted country. For some time the boyars exercised the privilege of electing the waywodes; later the sultans were called upon to appoint them. During the latter part of the 17th century and in the 18th, Fanariote Greeks mostly succeeded each other under the title of hospodar or prince. The principal families from which hospodars were selected were those of Cantacuzene, Can-temir, Ducas, Rakovitza, Mavrocordato, Ghika, and Ypsilanti. Most of the Fanariote hospodars leaned toward Russia, some of them secretly conspiring with Peter the Great and his successors. In the Turko-Russian wars Moldavia was a principal object of contention. In 1737 and 1738 it was successfully invaded by the Russians under Munnich. In the first Turkish war of Catharine II. it was occupied and organized as a Russian province, but restored to Turkey by the peace of Kutchuk Kainarji (1774), which, however, secured to Russia a kind of protectorate.
Soon after, Moldavia, which meanwhile had been robbed of various important places, converted into Turkish fortresses, also lost its northern district, the Bukowina, which was annexed by Austria (1777). The same power afterward combined with Russia for a new attack on Turkey, and Moldavia again became a seat of war. Austria terminated the war by the peace of Sistova in 1791, Russia more advantageously by that of Jassy in the following year. The succeeding Turkish wars were closed by the treaties of Slobosia (1807) and Bucharest (1812), by the latter of which the czar Alexander gained Bessarabia. The Greek insurrection under Ypsilanti was a source of terrible suffering to the province. The treaty of Akerman (1826) restored the right of electing hospodars, for seven years, to a divan of boyars, the Porte retaining the right of confirmation, and Russia its protectorate. The war of 1828 again brought Moldavia, as well as Wallachia, into the hands of the Russians, who occupied it, under Kisseleff, even after the peace of Adrianople (1829), which excluded all Turks from a permanent abode in it, a new statute being elaborated by a commission of boyars.
This being confirmed by the Porte, the Russian army left the principalities, and Michael Sturdza, a native boyar, was elected hospodar of Moldavia for life. To unite the two principalities, as an independent Dacian or Rouman state, became now the chief tendency of the national party. Sturdza often gave umbrage to the representatives of Russia and a revolutionary outbreak in Wal-lachia in 1848 was again followed by a Russian occupation. A new treaty was concluded by the Porte and the czar Nicholas at Balta Li-man in 1849, in consequence of which Sturdza resigned his office, and another boyar, Gregor Ghika, was elected hospodar for seven years. The war of 1853-'6 destroyed the new basis. The Russians again occupied the principalities, but the military events on the Danube and in the Crimea compelled their troops to evacuate them, when they were occupied by the neutral armies of Austria. The peace of Paris in 1856 aggrandized Moldavia with the southernmost portion of Bessarabia, which was detached from Russia, and referred the affairs of the principalities, which were to be united, to a conference at Paris of the representatives of the great powers, the Porte, and Sardinia, which, in August, 1858, finally agreed on a new plan of organization.
Soon after Alexander Couza was elected hospodar for life in both principalities, which, being an unexpected event, as two elections were anticipated in accordance with the protocol of the conference, led to new complications. The influence of France prevailed in favor of the tendency to national union, and the election was confirmed by the Porte, and acknowledged by all other parties. In December, 1861, the permanent union of the two principalities, under the title of Roumania, was proclaimed at Bucharest and Jassy. (See Roumania).