A tiny little country (about 15,000 square miles), a former member of the Soviet Union, situated to the east of Romania and bordered north, east and south by Ukraine. Its capital city is Kishinev.

It was historically part of the powerful eastern Roman province of Dacia and like its larger neighbour Romania it has retained a Latin-derived language, despite the Slavic influences of the rest of the region. Throughout history the small province was annexed by a variety of different rulers, according to the rise and fall of various empires and power struggles in eastern europe.

In the 9th to 11th centuries it was part of the Kievan empire (comprising most of modern day Ukraine and Belorus), until it was invaded by the Mongols at the height of their massive push westwards from the Chinese steppes. For a brief couple of hundred years Moldavia became a semi-independent state under a succession of increasingly harsh princes until in 1504 it became a tributary province to the Ottoman Turks. Over the next 250 years the almost continual wars between Poland, Russia, Austria, Hungary , Translyvania and the Ottoman Empire meant that Moldavia was frequently invaded by one or more of the above empires, but generally remained under Turkish rule.

In 1859 with the withdrawal of the Greeks (who had briefly taken control) Romania was created. Moldavia was its easternmost province but following the First World War Romania was broken up as part of the general reorganisation of the Balkan region of Europe, and Moldavia was annexed by the young Soviet Union, in effect becoming the first victim of Stalin' s imperialism.

Many ethnic Romanians remain in Moldavia (about 60% of the population speak Romanian rather than Russian as their first language), and since the break-up of the USSR there have been some calls for reunification with Romania.

Sources: a variety of resources both online and paper-based, based upon my discovery that the most excellent Windows email client "The Bat!" is written by a team in Moldavia.

From what I've read, this name of this country was more commonly rendered as "Moldavia" when it was a republic of the USSR and is now more commonly spelled "Moldova." Gritchka was kind enough to inform me that "Moldova is the Romanian form of the name." And Mardy points out that now, "Moldavia is an eastern province of Romania that borders Moldova (the country)."

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