region in SE Europe, between the Dniester & Prut rivers: historically associated with Moldavia since the 14th cent.; ceded by Romania to the U.S.S.R. in 1940 & incorporated into the Moldavian S.S.R. (now Moldova)
A region of Moldova and western Ukraine. As the gateway from Russia into the Danube River valley, it was for centuries an invasion route from Asia to Europe. The region became part of Russia in 1812 but declared itself independent in 1918 and later voted for union with Romania, which was forced to cede it to the USSR in 1940.
From Romanian Basarabia (compare Ukrainian Бессарабія (Bessarabija)), after the royal House of Basarab.