First created by Romanian knights which came from Maramures and settled around the Moldova river. It grew in a few centuries by uniting all territories inhabitted by Romanian speakers between Pocutia & the Black Sea, between the Carpathians and the Nistru river (and further). It survived the Hungarian attachs from the West, Polish from the North, Tartars from the East and Turks from the South - quite bravely for hundreds of years.
Their greatest King was Stephen III of Moldavia (or Stephen the Great), good friend of Vlad III Dracula, the ruler of the sister land Wallachia.
The downfall of Moldavia started with the Austrian occupation of the northern part (Bukovina) in 1774. The '75 Austrian census showed 90% Romanians, 5% Polish and 5% Ruthenians & Hutsuls. As part of their "divide et impera" strategy, the Austirans encouraged a high influx of immigrants from Galicia: Germans, Poles, Jews, Hungarians, but mainly Ukrainians - which in 100 years managed to outnumber the Romanians. And later on they became Stalin's argument of occupying most of Bukovina. With most of the Romanians deported by him to Siberia or forcely assimilated, today they are barely a minority in a part of Ukraine where only 200 years ago lived only Romanians.
The second dark chapter of the downfall of Moldova was the Russian occupation in 1812 of the Eastern Moldova, named Bassarabia. Upon the occupation, Romanians were the vast majority in this area also. The Russian Census 5 years later, in 1817, still showed 86% Romanians in the area - but it cannot be known how objective the census was performed by the Russians, nor how many had fled the land after their occupation. Following the same "divide et impera" policy as the Austrians, in 100 years the Romanians were reduced from 90% to less than 50% in the area, replaced by immigrants of different origins: Ukrainians 20%, Jews 10%, Russians 10%, Bulgarians 5% and few other smaller minorities. In paralel with that, Russians did something Austrians did not lowered themselves to do: they started a brainwashing propaganda, trying to convince the inhabitants of Romanian origin, that they are not actually Romanian.
Following the French Revolution, the 1848 Revolution and due to their lands being shattered in pieces, the Romanians developed a national identity during the 19th century, and a desire of uniting all Romanian lands arose. What was left of Moldavia chose to unite with Wallachia in 1859, when both lands elected the same prince - Alexandru Ioan Cuza - as king. The union of the two lands became Romania. When Austria & Russia lost control of their occupied territories after WW1, Bukovina & Bassarabia reunited with Moldova, this time under Romania (land of all Romanians). Of course the Russians & Ukrainians protested, claiming territories none of their grandparents were born in.
The third, and maybe darkest chapter in the history of Moldavia, was Stalin's occupation after the WW2 of large parts of its territory: all Bassarabia, 60% of Bukovina, the Herta region (98% Romanians upon occupation), together with some islands on the Danube and in the Black Sea. But occupation was not all. The territory was chopped in pieces, some parts being given to Ukraine, and the rest forming nowaday's Republic of Moldova. And that was still not all. One third of the population was either killed or deported (most of which dying anyway later in Siberia). An organized famine killed even more. Romanian language was forbidden. Even claiming you are Romanian was forbidden (only the term "Moldavian" was allowed). Even more Russian & Ukrainian immigrands were brought. The brainwashing propaganda and school system that followed led to the situation today: although 65% of the population are "Romanians", less then a third of them are actually aware of that. Although their language differs only in accent to the one in other parts of Romania, they still believe what their Russian leaders tell them, and what they learned from the Soviet books in school: that the different accent is enough of a proof to call "Moldavian" a different language, which makes them a different nation.
What sealed the faith of this shattered land, was the Western Betrayal: the fact that the Western countries didn't lift a finger to protect Romania against the Russian invasion (which forced them to ally with Germany, to be able to get back the lost territories), and later on didn't lift a finger when Stalin shattered Moldova in pieces and put a Communist puppet Government at Bucharest, which didn't object to Russia's claims over more than half of Moldavia.
So the story of Moldavia is sad, because while other countries - like Germany, France, Italy, United States - managed to unite (even though the difference in dialects are way bigger from one corner of the country to another) as they realized together they can be stronger, the Romanians are still not united in one big country, nor do they seem to want when it comes to those from Moldavia.
- - -
- No, Moldavian.
- What's the difference?
- We are people from the parts of Moldova taken by the Russians who, although speaking a language identical with Romanian, think we are a different nation, speaking a different language, because this is what we learn at school in the Soviet times and this is what our Communist leaders keep telling us. Which reminds me of another thing specific to us: although we are the poorest country in Europe, we still vote for the communists and reject Romania's help, because we like to suffer.