Bessarabia (Romanian: Basarabia; Russian: Бессарабия Bessarabiya, Ukrainian: Бессарабія Bessarabiya) is a historical region in Europe bounded by the Dniester river on the east and the Prut river on the west.
In the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish War, 1806-1812, the eastern half of the Principality of Moldavia was annexed by Imperial Russia. The acquired territory was organised as the Governorate of Bessarabia, adopting a name previously used for the southern plains of the Dniester-Prut interfluve. Following the Crimean War, in 1856, the southern areas of Bessarabia were returned to Moldavian rule; nevertheless, Russian rule was restored over the whole of the region in 1878, when Romania, which had emerged from Moldavia's union with Wallachia, was pressured into exchanging those territories for Dobruja.
Nowadays the bulk of the region is part of Moldova, while the northern and southern areas are part of Ukraine.