Moldavia, Principality of

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Moldavia, Principality of

 

(Moldavia) a feudal state that existed from the 14th to the 19th century. It arose in the first half of the 14th century in the valley of the Moldova River as a vassal of Hungary. In 1359 it gained its independence after a war of liberation against the Hungarian feudal lords. The capital was initially Baia, later Suceava, and from the second half of the 16th century, Iaşi (Jassy). In the second half of the 14th century the Principality of Moldavia comprised Moldova, Bukovina, and Bessarabia. Supreme power belonged to the hospodar, who ruled with the aid of a boyar duma, called the divan. The official language between the 14th and 16th centuries was Slavonic, and from the 17th century, Moldavian. In the 16th century the rent owed to the central government and levied on the population as tribute was increased.

Feudal wars from the 1430’s to the 1450’s weakened the country, and the Turks took advantage of this, compelling Moldavia to pay tribute from 1456. Stephen III the Great waged a successful struggle against the Turks, but the principality lost its independence in the early 16th century, falling under Turkish rule for more than 300 years. From 1711 to 1821 the principality was ruled by Greek Phanariot hospodars appointed by the sultan. The Moldavian people rose up to fight for their independence many times, receiving the support of Russia and the Ukraine, for example, the uprising of 1490–92 under the leadership of Mukha, the urban uprisings, and the haiduk movement. Turkish rule in Moldavia weakened as a result of the Russo-Turkish wars of the 18th century. In 1774, Austria seized Bukovina, and in 1812 Bessarabia was incorporated into Russia. The area between the Carpathians and the Prut River remained under Turkish rule, merging with Walachia in 1859 to form a single state.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.