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The Republic of Moldova is the official name of the small landlocked country in eastern Europe which is generally called Moldova. In its early history, it was known as Bessarabia and then the Principality of Moldavia.

At its western border is Romania, and Ukraine borders it to the north, east, and south. The Moldova River is where the country gets its name. It is situated on the route between Europe and Asia. The capital of Moldova, as well as its largest city, is Chișinău. The official language is Romanian.

After bouncing between the Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire for six centuries and being invaded by the Huns, Goths, Bulgarians, Mongols, and Tatars, among others, the Principality of Moldavia was established in 1359. The principality was invaded frequently by Crimean Tatars, and beginning in the fifteenth century, by the Turks. In 1538, the principality became an Ottoman tributary, which means they were allowed to exist only by paying tribute to the Ottoman Empire.

In 1812, under the Treaty of Bucharest, signed by the Russian and Ottoman Empires, the eastern half of the Principality of Moldavia was ceded to Russia by the Ottoman Empire. Although numerous Moldavian nobles objected, citing the sovereignty of Moldavia, the treaty was honored, and the Russians named their new province Oblast of Moldavia and Bessarabia. In the beginning, the province had quite a lot of autonomy, but it was slowly restricted, and only incrementally Russified.

The 1856 Treaty of Paris returned the southern portion of Bessarabia to Moldavia, and the autonomous principality united with Wallachia, forming Romania in 1859. The 1878 Treaty of Berlin resulted in Romania's having to cede the three counties back to the Russian Empire.

After the Bolshevik Revolution, the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was established by Soviet Russia, carved out of territory of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

In May of 1939, Germany Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin set the foundation for negotiations about proposed division of eastern Europe between Germany and the Soviet Union. Romania ended up as pat of the USSR. In August of 1939, the Soviet Union negotiated and signed a non-aggression pact with Germany. One week later, Germany invaded Poland, resulting in the United Kingdom and France declaring war on Germany. Sixteen days later, the Soviet's Red Army entered Poland, ostensibly to restore order. Stalin suggested that Germany take Lubin Province and part of Warsaw Province and that Soviet Russia keep Lithuania.

In 1940, Russia annexed Bessarabia and joined it with most of the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Social Republic, forming Moldavian As Soviet Socialist Republic.

In 1988, Moldova began looking toward independence, whether it knew it or not. In August of 1989, they adopted a language law which made the Moldovan language, in Latin script, the official language.

In Kishinev, Moldavia, November 7, 1989, with opposition to the Communist Party growing, major riots broke out. On November 10, protesters burned down the Ministry of Internal Affairs headquarters. Activists went on to execute organized actions which embarrassed leadership. The fervor caught Chişinău up in it, and riots took place there as well.

The first democratic election for Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic's Supreme Soviet, or parliament, was held in February of 1990. Runoffs were held the next month. A communist, Mircea Snegur, was elected chairman of the Supreme Soviet. In June, the new reformist government changed the name of the republic to the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova and declared it sovereign. In August, the Gagauz, the Turkic people who had settled in southern Bessarabia, declared the Gagauz Republic in the southern part of Moldova; and in September, the Slavs who lived on the east bank of the Nistru River declared the new Dnestr Moldavian Republic. The Supreme Soviet declared both of these republics null, but their refusal to recognize them were ignored. Each elected their own new presidents in December. Chairman Mircea Snegur became the first president of the Republic of Moldova, and he remained in office until 1997.

In May of 1991, the republic's name was changed again, this time to the Republic of Moldova. The name of the Supreme Soviet was changed as well to the Moldovan Parliament.

On August 27, 1991, Moldova declared independence. In October, realizing that the USSR was collapsing quickly and that they would be on their own where the defense of Moldova was concerned. They quickly organized and trained their own military. They have both land forces and an air force and the country is a member of NATO.



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