The Flag of Moldova: History, Meaning, and Symbolism

Written by Nixza Gonzalez
Updated: January 10, 2023
© iStock.com/Burak Ceyhan
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Moldova is a small country in Europe with a fascinating and long history. The flag of Moldova is simple and has hardly changed in the last few decades. However, there is a lot to explore and know about these flags. Keep reading to discover the history, meaning, symbolism, and other fun facts about the flag of Moldova. We are going to keep the history brief, as Moldova has a long and enriching history.

Where is Moldova?

Moldova is located in Eastern Europe. The country has a surface area of 13,068 mi². It is landlocked, but close to the Black Sea. It borders Romania and Ukraine. Moldova has beautiful geography and landmarks. There are many thick green forests and rocky hills. Moldova also has lots of vibrant vineyards. The highest point in Moldova, Mount Bălănești, is 1,407 feet.

Moldova on map between Romania and Ukraine
Moldova is a small country in Eastern Europe that borders Romania and Ukraine.

©ogichobanov/Shutterstock.com

The History of Moldova

Early humans were present in Moldova about 800,000–1.2 million years ago. There were multiple cultures that flourished in the land including the Linear Pottery culture (ca. 5500–4500 BC), the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture (ca. 5500–2750 BC), and the Yamna culture (ca. 3600–2300 BC). These cultures created many technological advances including weaving, agriculture, and pottery. While they were flourishing, the region did not socially flourish because it was invaded and attacked by invaders from the east moving into Europe.

The Medieval Principality of Moldavia (1359-1774)

While many groups of people lived in the region known as Moldova, it wasn’t named or established until 1359 as the medieval principality of Moldavia. The principality stretched far and included 8 of the 41 counties of Romania. Moldova and Poland had a strong political connection. A well-known price during this time was Prince Stephen the Great. During his rule, he successfully fought the Hungarian Kingdom, the Polish Kingdom, and the Ottoman Empire. In 1538 Moldavia became a vassal of the Ottoman Empire. This lasted until 1774 when Russia won a war against the Ottomans and occupied Christian Moldavia.

Russian Rule and Autonomy (1774-1918)

Russia occupied Moldova in 1774, but they didn’t annex the country until 1812. Interestingly, Russia occupied Moldavia five times between 1711 and 1812. While Moldova was part of the Russian empire, the region was called Bessarabia. This occurred after the Russo-Turkish War where the latter annexed the eastern half of the Principality of Moldavia. They were autonomous for a short time until 1828. Russia also lost access to the Danube river. In 1869, a zemstvo system gave the region some local autonomy. During the same time, Russification was established. The government forbid mass and education to be held in Romanian as opposed to Russian. This backfired though and led to an illiterate population.

Union With Romania (1918-1940)

On December 15, 1917, the council formed Moldova’s government, but it was still considered part of the Russian Republic. After the Council declared the independence of the Moldavian Democratic Republic, Sfatul Țării agreed to a conditional Union of Bessarabia with Romania. While Moldova was granted some autonomy, officials like the zemstvos were appointed by royal decree instead of an election. The soviet union did not recognize the union, but Britain, France, and Italy did.

The Soviet Era (1944-1991)

The union with Romania did not last forever. The soviet union occupied Bessarabia in 1944. Its name was changed to the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic after World War 2. During this time, private ownership of land was abolished and distributed. Many people were caught because of secret police officers that infiltrated nationalist groups. Ethnic Romanians living in the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic were minimal, only making up about 14% of all Moldavian political leaders. They were kicked out of their homes and killed by groups of Soviet Union leaders.

The Independence of Moldova (1991-now)

Independence did not come overnight in Moldova. It began in 1988 when national sentiment escalated in the Moldavian SSR. For instance, in 1989, the Popular Front of Moldova was formed. They organized large protests and demonstrations leading to the designation of Moldovan as the official language. In the first democratic elections to the Moldavian SSR’s Supreme Soviet, the Popular Front won a large part of the vote. In May 1991, the name of the country changed to the Republic of Moldova. During the 1991 Soviet coup d’état attempt was almost declared a state of emergency, but this was overruled by the Moldovan government. Only a short time later on 27 August 1991, Moldova declared its independence from the Soviet Union. Now the official language in Moldova is Romanian, but 9.4% of the population speaks Russian as their native language.

Chisinau, the capital city of the Republic of Moldova.
After decades of Soviet Union occupation, Moldova declared its independence in 1991.

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History of the Moldova’s Flag

Moldova’s flag has changed multiple times in history, but the changes have been minimal. Listed below are a few major flags and their timelines.

Early Flags

The first known flag was created when the region was called Moldavia. It features a large golden bull in the center of a bright red flag. On the left of the bull is a simple flower, while on the right there is a crescent moon. Above the bull’s head is a five-pointed gold star. This flag remained until the 17th century.

Another notable historic flag was used between 1917-1918. The flag of Sfatul Țării has blue, red, and yellow horizontal stripes. In the center of the flag is the coat of arms, specifically on top of the red and yellow stripes. Above the coat of arms written in yellow is the name ‘Sfatul Țării’. Soon after, the state flag of the Moldavian ASSR was primarily used. Its background is red. On the top left corner of the flag are the letters ‘P.A.C.C.M’. Underneath golden or yellow letters is a symbol with yellow wheat, corn, and two bright green letters.

Recent Flags

Between 1937-1940, two different flags were used, but they had little differences. The red background and symbol stays the same, but the letters inside of the flag are different. One starts with ‘YPCP RSSU’, while the other boldly states ‘YPCP PCCY’. Between 1952-1990, the state flag of the Moldavian SSR had two large red strips and a thinner green stripe in the center. On the top left side is the soviet union symbol, which is a hammer and sickle crossing over each other.

The most recent flag of the Republic of Moldova was adopted in 1990. It is a vertical triband of blue, yellow, and red. In the very center sits the coat of arms of Moldova, which has an eagle holding a shield with the face of a bull. There is a lot of symbolism and meaning behind Moldova’s flag.

Meaning and Symbolism of Moldova’s Flag

Moldova’s flag might look simple at first glance, but there are a lot of layers. For example, each color has its own meaning. Not only are the colors of the flag important, but so is the coat of arms. Keep reading to discover the meaning and symbolism of Moldova’s flag.

Flag of Moldova waving in wind
The flag of Moldova has a dark golden eagle with a cross in its beak which refers to the country’s relationship with Orthodox Christianity.

©Tatohra/Shutterstock.com

The Colors

Are you wondering why Moldova’s flag is blue, yellow, and red? These horizontal stripes were chosen and inspired by the flag of Romania. Since Romania and Moldova have long histories together and a cultural connection, it makes sense they would share similar designs.

The Coat of Arms

Interestingly, Romania has a coat of arms like Moldova’s, which has a dark golden eagle. This refers to the country’s relationship with Orthodox Christianity, especially since the eagle holds a cross in its beak. The eagle holds an olive branch, which symbolizes peace. In his other talon is a scepter. The eagle’s chest is red and blue, which are traditional colors of Moldova. In the shield is an aurochs’ head with a yellow star above its head. On each side are golden diamonds, flowers, and the crescent moon.

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Flag Of Moldova
Flag Of Moldova
© iStock.com/Burak Ceyhan

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About the Author

I have been a professional content writer for 6 years now, with a large focus on nature, gardening, food, and animals. I graduated from college with an A.A, but I am still pursuing a Bachelors of Marketing degree. When I am not writing, you can find me in front of my TV with a blanket, snacks, and my fur babies.

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Sources
  1. Britannica, Available here: https://www.britannica.com/topic/flag-of-Moldova