Today in European history: the Battle of Vaslui (1475)

It’s a confusing feature of modern Europe that the historical principality of “Moldavia” is more a precursor to modern Romania than modern Moldova, even though Moldova goes back to the former Soviet Republic of Moldavia. It’s a fact that more of historical Moldavia is now in Romania than in Moldova. For example, the Moldova River runs entirely through modern Romania, not once touching (nor coming particularly close to) the territory of the country named for it. Ethnically there’s no major distinction between the Moldovans and Romanians. Moldvans speak Romanian, though during the Soviet period they called it “Moldavian” and it’s still referred to as “Moldovan” in some quarters. It’s messy and I have no interest in hashing out Eastern European ethnic and border issues here, but I mention this only to explain why Stephen III of Moldavia (d. 1504) is today known as a national hero in Romania, and why the battle we’re talking about today, pitting Stephen’s Moldavians against the Ottomans, took place in an area that’s in Romania today.

Source: Today in European history: the Battle of Vaslui (1475)

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