The history of Moldova can be traced to the 1350s, when the Principality of Moldavia, the medieval precursor of modern Moldova and Romania, was founded. In 1812, following one of several Russian-Turkish wars, the eastern half of the principality, Bessarabia (where most of today's Moldova is located), was annexed by the Russian Empire. In 1918, Bessarabia briefly became independent as the Moldavian Democratic Republic and united with Romania. In 1940 it wasannexed by the Soviet Union, joined to the Moldavian ASSR, and became the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic until the dissolution of the USSR. In 1991 the country declared independence as the Republic of Moldova
THE HISTORY OF THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA is the history of two different regions that have been joined into one country, but not into one nation: Bessarabia and Transnistria. Bessarabia, the land between the Prut and Nistru rivers, is predominantly ethnic Romanian in population and constitutes the eastern half of a region historically known as Moldova or Moldavia (the Soviet-era Russian name). Transnistria is the Romanian-language name for the land on the east bank of the Nistru River; the majority of the population there is Slavic--ethnic Ukrainians and Russians-- although Romanians are the single largest ethnic group there.