Long ago, the area that was now Moldova was conquered by an astonishing variety of barbarians (Goths, Huns, Avars, Magyars, Kievan Rus’, Pechenegs, Cumans, AND Mongols). For several centuries after that it was intermittently part of the Bulgarian Empire. Finally, in 1359, it became the independent Principality of Moldavia and
enjoyed a golden age under Stephan the Great from 1457-1504. (People are decorating things with his likeness to this day!) Unfortunately in 1538 the glory days came to a halt. Since then, the territory has been: part of the Ottoman Empire, part of the Russian Empire, an Independent Republic (for two months in 1918), part of Romania, part of the USSR and FINALLY an independent state! During much of that time it was referred to as Moldavia (in case you’ve been wondering about that…), but when the present-day country gained independence from the USSR in 1991, it took the name Republic of Moldova.
(History buffs can find out a lot more details here)