In Antiquity Moldova's territory was inhabited by Dacian tribes.
The inhabitants of this civilization, which lasted roughly from 5500 to 2750 BC, practiced agriculture, raised livestock, hunted, and made intricately designed pottery.
Another remarkable feature of this society was the enormous settlements that were built, some of which numbered up to 15,000 inhabitants.
At first, the Russians used the name "Oblast of Moldavia and Bessarabia", allowing a large degree of autonomy, but later (in 1828) suspended the self-administration and called it Guberniya of Bessarabia, or simply Bessarabia, starting a process of Russification. The western part of Moldavia (which is not a part of present-day Moldova) remained an autonomous principality, and in 1859, united with Wallachia to form the Kingdom of Romania.
The Tsarist policy in Bessarabia was in part aimed at ethnic assimilation of the Romanian element by forbidding after the 1860s education and religious mass in Romanian; the effect was an extremely low literacy rate (in 1897 approx. The Treaty of Paris (1856) saw three counties of Bessarabia - Cahul, Bolgrad and Ismail - returned to Moldavia, but the Treaty of Berlin (1878) saw the Kingdom of Romania returning them to the Russian Empire.
Its territory comprised the present-day territory of the Republic of Moldova, the eastern eight of the 41 counties of Romania, and the Chernivtsi oblast and Budjak region of Ukraine.