Moldavia - Demographic History

Population Figures

Population in 1837 (without Lower Bessarabia) estimated at 500,000 inhabitants (Brockhaus 1837)
Population in 1850 (without Lower Bessarabia) 1,254,447 inhabitants (Anskjaer 1858)
Population in 1854 (without Lower Bessarabia) 1,470,000 inhabitants (Herder 1854)
Population in 1856 (including Lower Bessarabia 1,420,000 - 1,430,000 inhabitants (Anskjaer 1858)
Population in 1856 (including Lower Bessarabia) 1,600,000 inhabitants (Pierer 1857).
Population in 1899 (without Lower Bessarabia) 1,832,106 inhabitants (Meyer 1905)

Prior to 1850 estimates, which in the case of the one given by Brockhaus 1837 proved to be too low by the first accurate count held in 1850, reported by Anskjaer. Notable the discrepancy between the figures given by Herder 1854 and the adjusted figure given by Anskjaer for 1856. The fact that Moldavia in 1856 acquired, and in 1878 again lost Lower Bessarabia, for which Anskjaer gives a population of 170,000 (1858), does complicate comparisons of the aforelisted figures. From 1850 on, strong and sustained population growth can be observed.

Ethnic Composition

Pierer 1857 : Vlachs (i.e. Moldavians, Romanians), Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Gypsies and Franks
Anskjaer 1858 : Moldavians (Romanians), further Bulgarians, Armenians, Russians, Greeks, Catholic Hungarians, Jews, Gypsies.

"Franks" probably to be interpreted as a common description of residents of Moldavia who were Catholics or Protestans and of Austrian, Hungarian, French, German etc. nationality; since the time of the crusades, in thge Muslim world, christian Europeans were referred to as "the Franks".
Anskjaer 1858 gives the gypsy population as 120,000

Composition by Religion

Romanian Orthodox Christians (Moldavians/Romanians/Vlachs), Greek, Armenian, Bulgarian, Russian Orthodox Christians, Catholics (mainly Hungarians), Jews

Urban Population

Jassy (Iasi) : Brockhaus 1834 : population c.30,000; in 1831 as low as 12,000. Pierer 1857 : population 70-80,000, of whom about 30,000 Jews, many Greeks, Armenians, Germans, c. 3,000 Germans. Anskjaer 1858 : population 70,000, of whom 30,000 were Jews. The line of data given by Jan Lahmeyer goes back to 1867, for which he gives 90,000 inhabitants for Jassy.
Galatz (Galati) : Pierer 1857 : 30,000 inhabitants, Anskjaer 1858 : population 30,000. Lahmeyer, for 1867, 36.100 inhabitants.

Population data only available from the 1830es onward. The main trading center of Galati and capital Iasi were the most important urban centers and experienced strong population growth.

Wars fought on Moldavian soil

1710-1711 Russo-Ottoman War
1806-1812 Russo-Ottoman War
1821 Phanariot Rebellion against Ottoman Rule
1828-1829 Russo-Ottoman War
1848 Moldavian Revolt

In the 18th and 19th century, Moldavia often was the battleground where Russo-Ottoman wars were fought. Exceptionally destructive was the Russo-Ottoman war of 1828-1829. Brockhaus 1834 describes Jassy as, by war, plague, cholera and hunger in 1826-1831 almost deserted, its population reduced to 12,000.

DOCUMENTS Article Jassy, from Brockhaus Damen Conversations Lexikon 1834-1838, in German, posted by Zeno
Articles Pierer 1857, Jassy, Moldau, from Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, in German, posted by Zeno
Articles Galatz, Jassy, Moldau, from Stefan Anskjaer, Geografisk-Statistik Haandbog 1858-1863, in Danish, posted by Project Runeberg
Romania. historical demographical data of the urban centers, Historical demographic data of administrative divisions prior to 1948, from Population Statistics by Jan Lahmeyer

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on March 7th 2009

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