This wiki's URL has been migrated to the primary domain.Read more here



Bogdan I the Founder (Romanian: Bogdan Întemeietorul) was the third or fourth voivode of Moldavia (c. 1363 – c. 1367).[1][2] He and his successors established the independence of Moldavia, freeing the territory east of the Carpathian Mountains of Hungarian and Tatar domination.[2]

His contribution to the constitution of the autonomous Moldavian state, ignored by the Slavo-Romanian chronicles, is reflected by the name of Kara-Boğdan attributed by the Turks to Moldavia.[3][4]

Voivode in Maramureş

Towards the end of the reign of King Charles I of Hungary (1308–1342), Bogdan become voivode of Maramureş.[3] At that time, the Romanian voivodes were chosen by the cneazes (the chiefs of villages) among their number.[5] In Maramureş, Bogdan’s residence was at Cuhea, on the Iza valley.[3] Archaeological excavations at Cuhea revealed the remains of a noble's residence and of a stone church with Gothic architectural elements.[3] In the church, dedicated to King St Stephen of Hungary, there is a sacristy which may suggest either that Bogdan and his family adopted Catholicism or that the building was adopted to the needs of a Romanian Orthodox noble family.[6]

Some historians argue Bogdan of Cuhea might be identical to a voivode Bogdan, son of Mykula, who, together with his people, was settled in the Kingdom of Hungary in 1334-5.[note 1][5] But the identification of the two Bogdans based on the similitude of their names is sharply debated, since the situation of Bogdan of Cuhea and his family within socio-political relations in Maramureş seems to exclude that he came from other regions.[3]

Shortly after Charles I’s son, King Louis I of Hungary (1342–1382) was crowned king, a bitter conflict arose between Bogdan and the young king of Hungary.[3] In a document issued on 21 October 1343, Bogdan is qualified as "former voivode of Maramureş" and "faithless" to his sovereign.[note 2][3] The document does not give the reason of their misunderstanding.[3]

In spite of the acute conflict with the king, Bogdan did not seek refuge in Moldavia, but remained on his estate.[3] A document issued on 15 September 1349 shows that Ştefan, Iuga’s son and Bogdan’s nephew, joined his uncle and burned the houses of Giula of Giuleşti (another Romanian landowner in Maramureş) and his six sons and chased them from their estates.[3] The reason given is that Giula and his sons had refused to join Bogdan.[3] In the document, Bogdan is now called "former voivode and an inveterate faithless subject" of the king.[note 3][3]

The last mention of the presence of Bogdan in Maramureş is a document issued on 14 May 1353 which fixed the estates of Ştefan and Ioan, the sons of Iuga, showing that their estates were marginal to the lands of Bogdan (their uncle).[3]

Voivode of Moldavia

The immediate cause of Bogdan's crossing the Carpathian Mountains into Moldavia is difficult to define.[3] According to Vlad Georgescu, the local boyars, disgruntled perhaps by the presence of Hungarians and Catholics, rose up against the Romanian voivodes appointed by the king of Hungary.[7] Tudor Sălăgean suggests that Bogdan, having failed to get rid of the Hungarian hegemony in Maramureş, left the province with his supporters and crossed the mountain into Moldavia where he started a rebellion against the Hungarian Kingdom.[8]

In his history, the chronicler of King Louis I, John of Küküllő states:[3]

Bogdan, the voivode of the Romanians of Maramureş, gathering the Romanians from this district, secretly passed into Moldavia, which was subject to the Hungarian Crown, but had been abandoned by its inhabitants because of the vicinity of the Tatars.
—John of Küküllő: King Louis’s Chronicle

Bogdan may have gone to Moldavia immediately after the death of Sas[3] (the successor of Dragoş who is traditionally considered as the first prince of Moldavia).[2] The brunt of the fighting was born by Balc, the son of Sas.[3] Balc, who fought valiantly at the head of his men against Bogdan, was severely wounded and lost several members of his family and retinue.[3] Bogdan seized Balc’s throne and declared himself independent ruler of Moldavia.[7]

None of the military campaigns undertaken by King Louis I – and John of Küküllő's chronicle says that "he made war (…) against the Moldavians almost every year" – could force Bogdan's allegiance.[7] Nevertheless, the domains around Cuhea belonging to Bogdan and his sons in Maramureş were confiscated by the king and given to Balc and his brothers.[3]

John of Küküllő sustains that the king's suzerainty was restored in Moldavia and Bogdan was obliged to pay homage to the king as a vassal.[3] But, according to Victor Spinei, the obvious prejudice of Louis I's biographer inspires little evidence; the formal recognition of vassalage probably occurred only under Laţcu, after Louis I became king of Poland in 1370.[3]

Bogdan was buried in the church founded by him at Rădăuţi.[3]


  1. ^ Using a document issued by King Charles I in 1335, some Hungarian historians maintain that Bogdan, Mykula's son, brought along so many people that the migration stretched over nine months (Györffy, György op. cit. p. 118.) and that the king delegated the archbishop of Kalocsa, to organize the settlement. (Györffy, György op. cit. p. 118.) Aurel Decei notes that this document was read in an inaccurate, arbitrary, and tendentious way. (Decei, op. cit. p. 292-3) In 1334-5 King Charles I occupied Severin. Some authors suggest the negotiations between Bogdan and the archbishop of Kalocsa are connected to this campaign.(Bogdan op. cit. p. 169, Holban op. cit. p. 414) Bogdan arrived in Banat from Greater Vlakhia (now in Macedonia), from the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the bishopric of Vranje (Vásáry, István op. cit. p. 159.) or from Wallachia. (Pascu op. cit. p. 511, Lukinics op. cit. p. 75, Bogdan op. cit. p. 169) Some domains from Bács county, between Danube and Tisa, might have belonged to Bogdan and his family. (Decei, op. cit. p. 310) In 1339, Bogdan and his sons visited the see of the bishopric of Vranje (Györffy, György op. cit. p. 119.). They also make an assault on the villages owned by Töttös Becsei, killed some of his servants and carried off some of his oxen (Györffy, György op. cit. p. 119.).
  2. ^ "Quondam woyvoda de Maramarosio, noster infidelis"; Spinei, Victor op. cit. p. 205.
  3. ^ ‘Quondam vayvodæ nostril infidels notorii’; Spinei, Victor op. cit. p. 205.


  1. ^ Deletant, Dennis (1986) "Moldavia between Hungary and Poland, 1347–1412" The Slavonic and East European Review 64(2): pp. 189–211, especially pages 190–191
  2. ^ a b c Treptow, Kurt W.; Popa, Marcel. Historical Dictionary of Romania. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Spinei, Victor. Moldavia in the 11th–14th Centuries. 
  4. ^ Brezianu, Andrei and Spânu, Vlad (editors) (2007) "Bogdan I (?-1365)" Historical Dictionary of Moldova (2nd ed.) Scarecrow Press, Lanham, Maryland, USA, pages 56–57, ISBN 978-0-8108-5607-3
  5. ^ a b Vásáry, István. Cumans and Tatars: Oriental Military in the Pre-Ottoman Balkans, 1185–1365. 
  6. ^ Crăciun 2005, p. 147.
  7. ^ a b c Georgescu, Vlad. The Romanians: A History. 
  8. ^ Sălăgean, Tudor. Romanian Society in the Early Middle Ages (9th–10th Centuries). 


  • Bogdan, Ioan (1968). Scrieri Alese, Editura Academiei, Bucureşti.
  • Crăciun, Maria (2005). Apud ecclesia: church burial and the development of funerary rooms in Moldavia. In: Coster, Will; Spicer, Andrew (2005); Sacred Space in Early Medieval Europe; Cambridge University Press; ISBN 978-0-521-82487-3.
  • Decei, Aurel (1939). Une opinion tendencieuse de l'historiographie hongroise: les origines de Bogdan I, fondateur de la Moldavie. In: Revue de Transylvanie V (1939), p. 289—312.
  • Georgescu, Vlad; Calinescu, Matei; Bley-Vroman, Alexandra (1991). The Romanians: A History. Ohio State University Press. ISBN 0-8142-0511-9.
  • Györffy, György (1998). Az Árpád-kori Magyarország történeti földrajza, IV: Liptó, Máramaros, Moson, Nagysziget, Nógrád, Nyitra, Pest és Pilis megye (The Historical Geography of Hungary in the Árpáds’ Age, Volume IV: Liptó, Máramaros, Moson, Nagysziget, Nógrád, Nyitra, Pest és Pilis Counties). Akadémiai Kiadó. ISBN 963-05-7504-3.
  • Holban, Maria (1965). Contacts balkaniques et réalités roumaines aux confins danubiens du Royaume de Hongrie. A propos de la publication de nouvelles sources concernant Basarab. In: Revue des études sud-est européennes III (1965), 3–4, p. 385–417.
  • Lukinics Imre, Gáldi László (1941). Documenta historiam Valachorum in Hungaria illustrantia usque ad annum 1400 p. Christum.
  • Pascu Ştefan (1986). Voievodatul Transilvaniei, Volume III.
  • Sălăgean, Tudor (2006). Romanian Society in the Early Middle Ages (9th–10th Centuries). In: Pop, Ioan-Aurel; Bolovan, Ioan (2006); History of Romania: Compendium; Romanian Cultural Institute – Center for Transylvanian Studies; ISBN 978-973-7784-12-4.
  • Spinei, Victor (1986). Moldavia in the 11th–14th Centuries. Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste Româna.
  • Treptow, Kurt W.; Popa, Marcel (1996). Historical Dictionary of Romania. The Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN 0-8108-3179-1
  • Vásáry, István (2005). Cumans and Tatars: Oriental Military in the Pre-Ottoman Balkans, 1185–1365. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-83756-1.
Preceded by
(?) Balc
Voivode of Moldavia
c. 1359/1364 - 1367
Succeeded by
Petru I


Offspring of Bogdan I of Moldavia and unknown parent
Name Birth Death Joined with
Stephen (c1325-1358)
Lațcu (c1327-1375) 1327 1375
NN (c1330-c1370)


Footnotes (including sources)