Before Russian rule

In the Late Middle Ages, Bessarabia was part of the principality of Moldova. During the second half of the 15th century, the principality fought off attacks from Ottoman Turkey under the leadership of Prince Stephen the Great, who is now regarded as the father of the Moldovan nation. However, when Stephen died in 1504, Moldova became a Turkish dependency. In the 18th century it came increasingly under Russian influence. In 1812, Bessarabia was incorporated into the Russian Empire. Then in 1918, during the Russian Civil War, it was incorporated into Romania, where it remained until 1940.