History of the Jews in Bessarabia

History Of The Jews In Bessarabia

History of the Jews in Bessarabia

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The history of the Jews in Bessarabia .

Early history



Jews are mentioned from very early in the Principality of Moldavia, but they did not represent a significant number. Their main activity in Moldavia was commerce, but they could not compete with Greeks and Armenians, who had the knowledge of the Levantine commerce and relationships. Several times, when Jewish merchants created monopolies in some localities in north of Moldavia, Moldavian rulers sent them back to Galicia and Podolia. One such example was during the reign of Petru Şchiopul (1583 - 1591), who favored the English merchants led by William Harborne.Ion Nistor, Istoria Basarabiei, Cernăuţi, 1923, reprinted Chişinău, Cartea Moldovenească, 1991, p. 201-202

In the 18th century, more Jews started to settle in Moldavia. Some of them were in charge of the Dniester crossings, replacing Moldavians and Greeks, until the Captain of Soroca demanded their expulsion. Others traded with spirits (horilka), first brought in from Ukraine, afterwards building local velniţas (pre-industrial distillatories) on boyar manors. The number of Jews increased significantly during the Russo-Turkish War , when the Podolia-Moldavia border was open.

When this war ended, in 1812, Bessarabia (eastern half of the Principality of Moldavia) was annexed by the Russian Empire.

Governorate of Bessarabia (1812-1917)

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