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Bessarabia is a region located in Eastern Europe spread over current day Moldova and Ukraine. It is bounded by the Dniestr[?] river in the north and east, the Prut[?] in the west, the Black Sea in the south, together with the Danube river. The main cities in the region are Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, Tiraspol, Izmayil[?] and Bilhorod-Dnistrovsky[?]. The name Bessarabia is probably derived from the Wallachian family of Bassarab, once rulers over part of the area.

Greek settlers established colonies in the region in the 7th century BCE. Bessarabia was part of the Dacian kingdoms ruled by Burebista in 1st century BC and by Decebalus in the 1st century AD. After the Roman Empire conquered a part of Dacia, the Free Dacians[?] in Bessarabia. Then the region was frequently invaded: by Goths, Huns, Avars, Magyars, Cumans[?] and Mongols. Through the Middle Ages, Bessarabia was a part of the principality of Moldavia.

In 1812, the Treaty of Bucharest[?] gave the region to Russia. After the Crimean War, the southern part was handed over to Moldavia, but this was reverted in 1878. After the Russian Revolution, the area declared itself an independent republic. A union with Romania was confirmed by the Treaty of Paris (1920), but this was not recognised by the Soviet Union. In 1940, Romania had to give up the region to the the Soviet Union, where it was divided over the Moldavian SSR and the Ukrainian SSR. When these countries gained independence in 1991, the boundaries remained unchanged.

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