From 5500 to 2750 BC the area of present day Moldova was inhabited by a large civilization known as the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture.
They created agriculture and animal husbandry techniques; built large settlements, and in the end the Trypillian culture became one of the most culturally advanced of its time across Europe.
However, towards the end of the Neolithic period advancements waned, and the region of Moldova became a mecca for outsiders now moving into Europe.
Between the 1st and 7th centuries AD, the Romans ruled, followed by the Byzantines. Then, because of the desirable location, numerous invasions continued on through the 1500's, including those by the Goths, Huns, Avars, Bulgarians, Magyars, Pechenegs, Cumans, Mongols and Tatars.
Finally in 1538, the Principality of Moldavia, as it was then known, was snatched up by the (Turkish) Ottoman Empire, and remained under their control for the next few hundred years.
Although the region was able to hold onto some of its autonomy, the Treaty of Bucharest of 1812 had the Ottoman's surrendering the eastern half of the Principality of Moldavia (as well as Khotyn and old Bessarabia) to the Russian Empire, and the region became known as "Oblast of Moldavia and Bessarabia."
For clarification purpose, Bessarabia was an historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west. In short a most of modern-day Moldova.
When World War I began in the early 1900's across Europe, an estimated 300,000 Bessarabians were drafted into the Russian Army. This fueled Bessarabia to announce their independence from Russia in 1918.
Subsequently, Bressarabia was put under Romanian rule along with the rest of Moldavia, and remained so for the next 22 years.
The Russian's refused to let go so easily, and in 1939, along with Nazi Germany, they signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact which held a secret protocol recognizing Bessarabia as part of the Soviet sphere of influence.
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