Stefan cel Mare was born in 1433 in Borzesti, Bacau Romania. He was the prince of Moldavia between 1457 and 1504.
Biography and Career :
He was the son of Bogdan II. Stefan was named by the Pope Sixtus the fourth - "Athleta Christi".
After his father's assassination, along with his army and helped by Vlad Tepes he asked the Moldavian people, priests and boyars if they wanted him as their ruler. They all said "Yes!" and Stefan cel Mare became Moldova's ruler.
In his time, Moldavia was stretching out from the Eastern Carpatian Mountains to Nistru. His county was a rich one as Italian and Polish traders crossed Moldova bringing from East carpets, precious stones and metals, spices, and from West weapons. This explains how Stefan managed to have the resources necessary in o
rder to fight all his battles and to pay his army. He could not rely of his neighbors- the Polish and the Hungarian because they all wanted to conquer Moldavia and his biggest threat was the Ottoman Empire, ruled at that time by Mahomed II.
Stefan cel Mare makes a treaty with the king of Polonia - Cazimir that he will give Stefan back the Hotin fortress. This thing will upset very much the king of Hungary- Matei Corvin. Stefan will have to fight him at Baia and here he obtains the victory and the safety of the Western border of Moldavia.
He wanted to have as an ally Tara Romaneasca (Wallachia) but it was ruled by Radu the Beautiful- the Ottoman Empire men. So, after many battles (including with the Turks) he managed to dethrone him and to name Laiota Basarab as Tara Romaneasca ruler.
The Turks minded Stefan interfering in Tara Romaneasca so they sent a 120.000 men army to attach Moldavia. Stefan will manage to defeat the Turks at Vaslui (Podul Inalt) on January 10, 1475. This was a very big victory, praised all over Europe. But the Ottomans, with a reloaded army attacked again and defeated Stefan at Razboieni (Valea Alba) on July 26, 1476. They attacked also Suceava, Neamt and Hotin fortresses but they couldn't conquer them. With a weaken army and with Stefan new army preparing, the Turks ruled by Mahomed II decided to retreat. This was the second big and very important victory of Stefan.
He will defeat Polish king Ioan Albert's army at Codrii Cosminului in 1497.
Because of the big Ottoman threat, Stefan had to make a feudatory treaty with the Polish king- Cazimir to which he was obligated to swear faith. But he was betrayed after by the Polish king and later on by the Hungarian king. Stefan was forced to make a treaty with the Ottoman Empire. Stefan had to pay a monthly tribute in exchange of Moldavia's independence.
His last years of reign were some peaceful ones. After 47 years of reign, he died in July 2nd 1504 in Suceava and he was buried in the Monastery of Putna. He managed to build 44 monasteries and churches, after each battle.
- There are a lot of of High-Schools and Colleges in Romania that wears his name.
- Some of the monasteries built by him are now part of UNESCO's World Heritage.
- He was also known as Stefan cel Mare si Sfant, "Stephen the Great and Holy".
- He was a member of the Musatin family.