14TH CENTURY. The principality of Moldavia is founded by the Vlachs, inhabitants of the Carpathian Mountains and other parts of the Balkan Peninsula.
15TH CENTURY. The Ottoman Empire absorbs Moldavia and develops a feudal agricultural society.
1812. Russia annexes the eastern portion of Moldavia, historically known as Bessarabia.
1856. European powers grant Moldavia and Bessarabia independence from the Ottoman Empire and Russia, respectively, and they are united with independent Walachia in 1859, assuming the newly-minted name of Romania.
1878. Russia regains Bessarabia.
1918. After the 1917 Russian revolution, Russian Bessarabia decides in favor of unification with Romania. Western powers recognize the incorporation at the Paris Peace Conference of 1920.
1924. The Soviets establish the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR) east of the Nistru (Dniester) River within Ukraine.
1939. A German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact forces Romania to cede Bessarabia to the USSR.
1940. The Soviet government proclaims the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR), including the territory of the former Moldavian ASSR (Transnistria), with a capital in Chişina˘u.
1941. Romania, an ally of Nazi Germany, declares war on the USSR and invades Bessarabia with German assistance during World War II.
1944. The USSR reestablishes the Moldavian SSR toward the end of World War II. Over the next 50 years its economy is integrated into the Soviet system with collective and state farms on expropriated farmland. The country remains rural, although new industries appear in urban areas, and Russians become the majority in the cities.
1985. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduces political and economic reforms in the USSR.
1989. The Popular Front of Moldova (PFM), the first opposition group, is formed.
1990. A local referendum approves autonomy for the predominantly Slavic Transnistria region, giving rise to a lasting controversy over the status of the region.
1991. The Moldavian SSR changes its name to the Republic of Moldova and declares its independence from the USSR.
1992. Moldova joins the International Monetary Fund.
1994. First multi-party elections; the first post-Soviet constitution is adopted.
2001. Moldova joins the World Trade Organization.