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Moldavia was a principality of Romania, originally created in the Middle Ages. It was situated between the Carpathian Mountains and the Prut River. At times its authority extended farther eastward to the Dniester River. The more easterly extension now forming the ethnically Romanian independent state of Moldova, itself historically known as Bessarabia (after a certain Romanian noble family).

Map showing Romania without Moldavia in blue and Moldavia (parts inside and outside Romania) in brown.

A union between Moldavia and Romania was confirmed by the Treaty of Paris (1920), but this was not recognised by the Soviet Union. After World War II, parts of Moldavia were made into the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldavia, and the most eastern parts were handed over to Ukraine. In 1991, the Moldavian SSR declared independence under the name "Moldova." The names "Moldavia" and "Moldova" descend from the old German "Molde", meaning "open-pit mine", reflective of a strong early presence of imported German miners and a once-vital mining industry.

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