Georgia (country)
   HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

Georgia (, ; ) is a transcontinental country at the intersection of
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is a subregion of the Europe, European continent. As a largely ambiguous term, it has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic connotations. The vast majority of the region is covered by Russ ...
and
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions. It is almost entirely a part of the Middle East, and includes Anat ...
. It is part of the
Caucasus The Caucasus () or Caucasia (), is a region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, mainly comprising Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. The Caucasus Mountains, including the Greater Caucasus range ...
region, bounded by the
Black Sea The Black Sea is a marginal sea, marginal Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Europe and Asia, east of the Balkans, south of the East European Plain, west of the Caucasus, and north of An ...
to the west, by
Russia Russia (, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning Eastern Europe and North Asia, Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, largest country in the ...
to the north and northeast, by
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Türkiye ( tr, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, links=no ), is a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolia, Anatolian Peninsula in Western Asia, with a East Thrace, small portion on th ...
to the southwest, by
Armenia Armenia (), , group=pron officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country in the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.The UNbr>classification of world regions places Armenia in Western Asia; the CIA World Factbook , , and '' ...
to the south, and by
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (, ; az, Azərbaycan ), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan, , also sometimes officially called the Azerbaijan Republic is a transcontinental country, transcontinental country located at the boundary of Eastern Europe and Wester ...
to the southeast. The country covers an area of , and has a population of 3.7 million people.
Tbilisi Tbilisi ( ; ka, თბილისი ), in some languages still known by its pre-1936 name Tiflis ( ), is the Capital city, capital and the List of cities and towns in Georgia (country), largest city of Georgia (country), Georgia, lying on the ...
is its capital as well as its largest city, home to roughly a third of the Georgian population. During the classical era, several independent kingdoms became established in what is now Georgia, such as
Colchis In Greco-Roman geography, Colchis (; ) was an exonym for the Georgian polity of Egrisi ( ka, ეგრისი) located on the coast of the Black Sea, centered in present-day western Georgia (country), Georgia. Its population, the Colchians a ...
and
Iberia The Iberian Peninsula (), ** * Aragonese language, Aragonese and Occitan language, Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl, Península Eibérica * eu, Iberiar penintsula also known as Iberia, is a pe ...
. In the early 4th century, ethnic Georgians officially adopted Christianity, which contributed to the spiritual and political unification of the early Georgian states. In the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the Post-classical, post-classical period of World history (field), global history. It began with t ...
, the unified
Kingdom of Georgia The Kingdom of Georgia ( ka, საქართველოს სამეფო, tr), also known as the Georgian Empire, was a medieval Eurasian monarchy that was founded in circa 1008 Anno Domini, AD. It reached Georgian Golden Age, its Golde ...
emerged and reached its Golden Age during the reign of King David IV and Queen Tamar in the 12th and early 13th centuries. Thereafter, the kingdom declined and eventually disintegrated under the hegemony of various regional powers, including the
Mongols The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , , ; ; russian: Монголы) are an East Asian people, East Asian ethnic group indigenous peoples, native to Mongolia, Inner Mongolia in China and the Buryatia, Buryatia Republic of the Russia, Russ ...
, the Turks, and various dynasties of
Persia Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
. In 1783, one of the Georgian kingdoms entered into an alliance with the
Russian Empire The Russian Empire was an empire and the final period of the List of Russian monarchs, Russian monarchy from 1721 to 1917, ruling across large parts of Eurasia. It succeeded the Tsardom of Russia following the Treaty of Nystad, which ended th ...
, which proceeded to annex the territory of modern Georgia in a piecemeal fashion throughout the 19th century. After the
Russian Revolution The Russian Revolution was a period of Political revolution (Trotskyism), political and social revolution that took place in the former Russian Empire which began during the First World War. This period saw Russia abolish its monarchy and ad ...
in 1917, Georgia emerged as an independent republic under German protection. Following
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
, Georgia was invaded and annexed by the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, ...
in 1922, becoming one of its constituent republics. By the 1980s, an independence movement emerged and grew quickly, leading to Georgia's secession from the Soviet Union in April 1991. For most of the subsequent decade, post-Soviet Georgia suffered from economic crisis, political instability, ethnic conflict, and secessionist wars in
Abkhazia Abkhazia, ka, აფხაზეთი, tr, , xmf, აბჟუა, abzhua, or ( or ), officially the Republic of Abkhazia, is a partially recognised State (polity), state in the South Caucasus, International recognition of Abkhazia and ...
and
South Ossetia South Ossetia, ka, სამხრეთი ოსეთი, ( , ), officially the Republic of South Ossetia – the State of Alania, is a international recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, partially recognised Landlocked country, ...
. Following the bloodless Rose Revolution in 2003, Georgia strongly pursued a pro- Western foreign policy; it introduced a series of democratic and economic reforms aimed at integration into the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
and
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 30 Member sta ...
. The country's Western orientation soon led to worsening relations with Russia, which culminated in the
Russo-Georgian War The 2008 Russo-Georgian WarThe war is known by a variety of other names, including Five-Day War, August War and Russian invasion of Georgia. was a war between Georgia (country), Georgia, on one side, and Russia and the Russian-backed self-proclaim ...
of 2008; Russia has since been occupying a portion of Georgia. Georgia is a
representative democracy Representative democracy, also known as indirect democracy, is a types of democracy, type of democracy where elected people Representation (politics), represent a group of people, in contrast to direct democracy. Nearly all modern liberal democr ...
governed as a unitary
parliamentary republic A parliamentary republic is a republic that operates under a parliamentary system of government where the Executive (government), executive branch (the government) derives its legitimacy from and is accountable to the legislature (the parliame ...
. It is a
developing country A developing country is a sovereign state with a lesser developed industrial base and a lower Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, this definition is not universally agreed upon. There is also no clear agre ...
with a very high
Human Development Index The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy, Education Index, education (mean years of schooling completed and expected years of schooling upon entering the Educational system, education system), ...
. Economic reforms since independence have led to higher levels of
economic freedom Economic freedom, or economic liberty, is the ability of people of a society to take economic actions. This is a term used in economic and policy debates as well as in the philosophy of economics. One approach to economic freedom comes from the Ec ...
, as well as reductions in corruption indicators,
poverty Poverty is the state of having few material possessions or little income. Poverty can have diverse social, economic, and political causes and effects. When evaluating poverty in ...
, and
unemployment Unemployment, according to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), is people above a specified age (usually 15) not being in paid employment or self-employment but currently available for Work (human activity), w ...
. It was one of the first countries in the world to legalize cannabis, becoming the only former-socialist state to do so. The country is a member of international organizations, such as the
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation founded in the wake of World War II to uphold European Convention on Human Rights, human rights, democracy and the Law in Europe, rule of law in Europe. ...
, the OSCE, Eurocontrol, the EBRD, the BSEC, the
GUAM Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an Unincorporated territories of the United States, organized, unincorporated territory of the United States in the Micronesia subregion of the western Pacific Ocean. It is the List of extreme points of the United Stat ...
, the ADB, the WTO, and the Energy Community.


Etymology

The first mention of the name spelled as ''Georgia'' is in Italian on the of Pietro Vesconte dated AD 1320. At the early stage of its appearance in the Latin world, it was not always written in the same transliteration, and the first consonant was being spelt with ''J'' as ''Jorgia''. ''Georgia'' probably stems from the Persian designation of the Georgians – , in the 11th and 12th centuries adapted via Syriac / and
Arabic Arabic (, ' ; , ' or ) is a Semitic languages, Semitic language spoken primarily across the Arab world.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C ...
/. Lore-based theories were given by the traveller Jacques de Vitry, who explained the name's origin by the popularity of St. George amongst Georgians, while traveller Jean Chardin thought that ''Georgia'' came from Greek ('tiller of the land'). Alexander Mikaberidze wrote that these century-old explanations for the word ''Georgia''/''Georgians'' are rejected by the scholarly community, who point to the Persian word / (, '
wolf The wolf (''Canis lupus''; plural, : wolves), also known as the gray wolf or grey wolf, is a large Canis, canine native to Eurasia and North America. More than thirty subspecies of Canis lupus, subspecies of ''Canis lupus'' have been reco ...
') as the root of the word. Starting with the Persian word /, the word was later adopted in numerous other languages, including Slavic and West European languages. This term itself might have been established through the ancient Iranian appellation of the near- Caspian region, which was referred to as '' Gorgan'' ("land of the wolves"). The native name is (; 'land of Kartvelians'), derived from the core central Georgian region of
Kartli Kartli ( ka, ქართლი ) is a historical region in central-to-eastern Georgia (country), Georgia traversed by the river Mtkvari (Kura), on which Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, is situated. Known to the Classical antiquity, Classical authors ...
, recorded from the 9th century, and in extended usage referring to the entire medieval
Kingdom of Georgia The Kingdom of Georgia ( ka, საქართველოს სამეფო, tr), also known as the Georgian Empire, was a medieval Eurasian monarchy that was founded in circa 1008 Anno Domini, AD. It reached Georgian Golden Age, its Golde ...
by the 13th century. The self-designation used by ethnic Georgians is (, i.e. 'Kartvelians'), first attested in the '' Umm Leisun inscription'' found in the Old City of Jerusalem. The medieval ''
Georgian Chronicles ''The Georgian Chronicles'' is a conventional English language, English name for the principal compendium of medieval Georgia (country), Georgian historical texts, natively known as ''Kartlis Tskhovreba'' ( ka, ქართლის ცხოვ ...
'' present an eponymous ancestor of the Kartvelians, Kartlos, a great-grandson of
Japheth Japheth ( he, יֶפֶת ''Yép̄eṯ'', in pausa ''Yā́p̄eṯ''; el, Ἰάφεθ '; la, Iafeth, Iapheth, Iaphethus, Iapetus) is one of the three sons of Noah in the Book of Genesis, in which he plays a role in the story of Noah's drunkenn ...
. However, scholars agree that the word is derived from the ''Karts'', the latter being one of the proto-Georgian tribes that emerged as a dominant group in ancient times. The name () consists of two parts. Its root, (), specifies an inhabitant of the core central-eastern Georgian region of
Kartli Kartli ( ka, ქართლი ) is a historical region in central-to-eastern Georgia (country), Georgia traversed by the river Mtkvari (Kura), on which Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, is situated. Known to the Classical antiquity, Classical authors ...
, or Iberia as it is known in sources of the
Eastern Roman Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn R ...
.
Ancient Greeks Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, classical antiquity ( AD 600), th ...
(
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus) was a term employed by the Romans for anyone whose eyes were distorted or deformed. The father of Pompey was called "Pompeius Strabo". A native of Sicily so clear-sighted that he could see ...
,
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, , }; BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided in ...
,
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; – after AD 119) was a Greek people, Greek Middle Platonism, Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, Biography, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo (D ...
,
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') (born ) was a Greek poet who is credited as the author of the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'', two epic poems that are foundational works of ancient Greek literature. Homer is considered one of the ...
, etc.) and Romans ( Titus Livius,
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus, known simply as Tacitus ( , ; – ), was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historiography, Roman historians by modern scholars. The surviving portions of his t ...
, etc.) referred to early western Georgians as Colchians and eastern Georgians as
Iberians The Iberians ( la, Hibērī, from el, Ἴβηρες, ''Iberes'') were an ancient people settled in the eastern and southern coasts of the Iberian peninsula, at least from the 6th century BC. They are described in Ancient Greece, Greek and anci ...
(, in some Greek sources). The Georgian
circumfix A circumfix (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) (also confix or ambifix) is an affix which has two parts, one placed at the start of a word, and the other at the end. Circumfixes contrast with Prefix (linguistics), prefixes, attached ...
-X- is a standard geographic construction designating 'the area where X dwell', where X is an
ethnonym An ethnonym () is a name applied to a given ethnic group. Ethnonyms can be divided into two categories: exonyms (whose name of the ethnic group has been created by another group of people) and autonyms, or endonyms (whose name is created and used ...
.Rapp, Stephen H. (2003), ''Studies in Medieval Georgian Historiography: Early Texts And Eurasian Contexts'', pp. 419–423. Peeters Publishers, Today the official name of the country is ''Georgia'', as specified in the Georgian constitution which reads "Georgia is the name of the state of Georgia." Before the 1995 constitution came into force, the country's official name was the Republic of Georgia (, ) and it is still sometimes referred by that name.


History


Prehistory

The territory of modern-day Georgia was inhabited by ''
Homo erectus ''Homo erectus'' (; meaning ":wikt:erectus, upright man") is an extinct species of archaic human from the Pleistocene, with its earliest occurrence about 2 million years ago. Several human species, such as ''H. heidelbergensis'' and ''H. ...
'' since the
Paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age (from Greek: παλαιός ''wikt:παλαιός, palaios'', "old" and λίθος ''wikt:λίθος, lithos'', "stone"), is a period in human prehistory that is distinguished by ...
Era. The proto-Georgian tribes first appear in written history in the 12th century BC.Phoenix: The Peoples of the Hills: Ancient Ararat and Caucasus by Charles Burney, David Marshall Lang, Phoenix Press; New edition (31 December 2001) The earliest evidence of
wine Wine is an alcoholic drink typically made from Fermentation in winemaking, fermented grapes. Yeast in winemaking, Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol and carbon dioxide, releasing heat in the process. Different ...
to date has been found in Georgia, where 8,000-year old wine jars were uncovered. Archaeological finds and references in ancient sources also reveal elements of early political and state formations characterized by advanced
metallurgy Metallurgy is a domain of Materials science, materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic Chemical element, elements, their Inter-metallic alloy, inter-metallic compounds, and their mixtures, which ...
and goldsmith techniques that date back to the 7th century BC and beyond. In fact, early metallurgy started in Georgia during the 6th millennium BC, associated with the Shulaveri-Shomu culture.Thomas Stöllner, Irina Gambaschidze (2014
The Gold Mine of Sakdrisi and Earliest Mining and Metallurgy in the Transcausus and the Kura-Valley System


Antiquity

Archaeological evidence indicates that Georgia has been the site of wine production since at least 6,000 BC, which over time played a role in forming Georgia's culture and national identity. The classical period saw the rise of a number of early Georgian states, the principal of which were
Colchis In Greco-Roman geography, Colchis (; ) was an exonym for the Georgian polity of Egrisi ( ka, ეგრისი) located on the coast of the Black Sea, centered in present-day western Georgia (country), Georgia. Its population, the Colchians a ...
in the west and
Iberia The Iberian Peninsula (), ** * Aragonese language, Aragonese and Occitan language, Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl, Península Eibérica * eu, Iberiar penintsula also known as Iberia, is a pe ...
in the east. In
Greek mythology A major branch of classical mythology, Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical co ...
, Colchis was the location of the
Golden Fleece In Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece ( el, Χρυσόμαλλον δέρας, ''Chrysómallon déras'') is the wool, fleece of the golden-woolled,, ''Khrusómallos''. winged Sheep, ram, Chrysomallos, that rescued Phrixus and brought him to Colc ...
sought by
Jason Jason ( ; ) was an ancient Greece, ancient Greek Greek mythology, mythological hero and leader of the Argonauts, whose quest for the Golden Fleece featured in Greek literature. He was the son of Aeson, the rightful king of Iolcos. He was marri ...
and the
Argonauts The Argonauts (; Ancient Greek: ) were a band of heroes in Greek mythology, who in the years before the Trojan War (around 1300 BC) accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. Their name comes from their ship, ''Argo'', n ...
in Apollonius Rhodius' epic tale ''
Argonautica The ''Argonautica'' ( el, Ἀργοναυτικά , translit=Argonautika) is a Greek literature, Greek epic poem written by Apollonius of Rhodes, Apollonius Rhodius in the 3rd century BC. The only surviving Hellenistic civilization, Hellenistic ...
''. The incorporation of the Golden Fleece into the myth may have derived from the local practice of using fleeces to sift gold dust from rivers."Christianity and the Georgian Empire" (early history) Library of Congress, March 1994, webpag
LCweb2-ge0015
.
In the 4th century BC, a kingdom of Iberia – an early example of advanced state organization under one king and an aristocratic hierarchy – was established. After the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Res publica Romana ) was a form of government of Rome and the era of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization when it was run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman peo ...
completed its brief conquest of what is now Georgia in 66 BC, the area became a primary objective of what would eventually turn out to be over 700 years of protracted Irano-Roman geo-political rivalry and warfare. Ronald Grigor Suny. ''Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia'' – "Christianity and the Georgian Empire". DIANE Publishing, 1 April 1996, p. 158 From the first centuries AD, the cult of
Mithra Mithra ( ae, ''Miθra'', peo, 𐎷𐎰𐎼 ''Miça'') commonly known as Mehr, is the Iranian deity of wikt:covenant, covenant, light, oath, justice and the sun. In addition to being the divinity of contracts, Mithra is also a judicial figure, ...
s,
pagan Paganism (from classical Latin ''pāgānus'' "rural", "rustic", later "civilian") is a term first used in the fourth century by early Christianity, early Christians for people in the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism, or ethnic religions ot ...
beliefs, and
Zoroastrianism Zoroastrianism is an Iranian religions, Iranian religion and one of the world's History of religion, oldest organized faiths, based on the teachings of the Iranian peoples, Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster. It has a Dualism in cosmology, du ...
were commonly practised in Georgia. In 337 AD King Mirian III declared Christianity as the
state religion A state religion (also called religious state or official religion) is a religion or creed officially endorsed by a sovereign state. A state with an official religion (also known as confessional state), while not secular state, secular, is not n ...
, giving a great stimulus to the development of literature, arts, and ultimately playing a key role in the formation of the unified Georgian nation, The acceptance led to the slow but sure decline of Zoroastrianism, which until the 5th century AD, appeared to have become something like a second established religion in
Iberia The Iberian Peninsula (), ** * Aragonese language, Aragonese and Occitan language, Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl, Península Eibérica * eu, Iberiar penintsula also known as Iberia, is a pe ...
(eastern Georgia), and was widely practised there.


Middle Ages up to early modern period

Located on the crossroads of protracted
Roman–Persian wars The Roman–Persian Wars, also known as the Roman–Iranian Wars, were a series of conflicts between states of the Greco-Roman world and two successive History of Iran, Iranian empires: the Parthian and the Sasanian. Battles between the Parthian ...
, the early Georgian kingdoms disintegrated into various feudal regions by the early
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the Post-classical, post-classical period of World history (field), global history. It began with t ...
. This made it easy for the remaining Georgian realms to fall victim to the
early Muslim conquests The early Muslim conquests or early Islamic conquests ( ar, الْفُتُوحَاتُ الإسْلَامِيَّة, ), also referred to as the Arab conquests, were initiated in the 7th century by Muhammad, the Muhammad in Islam, main Islamic ...
in the 7th century.


Bagratid Iberia

The extinction of the Iberian royal dynasties, such as Guaramids and the Chosroids, and also the
Abbasid The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ; ar, الْخِلَافَةُ الْعَبَّاسِيَّة, ') was the third caliphate to succeed the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It was founded by a dynasty descended from Muhammad's uncle, Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttalib ...
preoccupation with their own civil wars and conflict with the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...
, led to the Bagrationi family's growth in prominence. The head of the Bagrationi dynasty
Ashot I of Iberia Ashot I the Great ( ka, აშოტ I დიდი ) (died 826/830) was a principate of Iberia, presiding prince of Principality of Iberia, Iberia (modern Georgia (country), Georgia), first of the Bagrationi dynasty, Bagratid family to have attain ...
(r. 813–826), who had migrated to the former southwestern territories of Iberia, came to rule over Tao-Klarjeti and restored the Principate of Iberia in 813. The sons and grandsons of Ashot I established three separate branches, frequently struggling with each other and with neighbouring rulers. The Kartli line prevailed; in 888 Adarnase IV of Iberia (r. 888–923) restored the indigenous royal authority dormant since 580. Despite the revitalization of the Iberian monarchy, remaining Georgian lands were divided among rival authorities, with Tbilisi remaining in Arab hands.


Kingdom of Abkhazia

An Arab incursion into western Georgia led by
Marwan II Marwan ibn Muhammad ibn Marwan ibn al-Hakam ( ar, مروان بن محمد بن مروان بن الحكم, Marwān ibn Muḥammad ibn Marwān ibn al-Ḥakam; – 6 August 750), commonly known as Marwan II, was the fourteenth and last caliph of ...
, was repelled by Leon I (r. 720–740) jointly with his Lazic and Iberian allies in 736. Leon I then married Mirian's daughter, and a successor, Leon II exploited this dynastic union to acquire
Lazica Lazica ( ka, ეგრისი, ; lzz, ლაზიკა, ; grc-gre, Λαζική, ; fa, لازستان, ; hy, Եգեր, ) was the Latin name given to the territory of Colchis during the Georgia in the Roman era, Roman/Byzantine period, ...
in the 770s. The successful defence against the Arabs, and new territorial gains, gave the Abkhazian princes enough power to claim more autonomy from the Byzantine Empire. Towards 778, Leon II (r. 780–828) won his full independence with the help of the
Khazars The Khazars ; he, כּוּזָרִים, Kūzārīm; la, Gazari, or ; zh, 突厥曷薩 ; 突厥可薩 ''Tūjué Kěsà'', () were a semi- nomadic Turkic people that in the late 6th-century CE established a major commercial empire cover ...
and was crowned as the king of Abkhazia. After obtaining independence for the state, the matter of church independence became the main problem. In the early 9th century the Abkhazian Church broke away from
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse), Tsargrad (Slavs, Slavic), Qustantiniya (Arabic), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopo ...
and recognized the authority of the Catholicate of Mtskheta; the Georgian language replaced Greek as the language of literacy and culture. The most prosperous period of the Abkhazian kingdom was between 850 and 950. A bitter
civil war A civil war or intrastate war is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region, or to change go ...
and feudal revolts which began under Demetrius III (r. 967–975) led the kingdom into complete anarchy under the unfortunate king Theodosius III the Blind (r. 975–978). A period of unrest ensued, which ended as Abkhazia and eastern Georgian states were unified under a single Georgian monarchy, ruled by King Bagrat III of Georgia (r. 975–1014), due largely to the diplomacy and conquests of his energetic foster-father David III of Tao (r. 966–1001).


United Georgian monarchy

The stage of
feudalism Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, cultural and political customs that flourished in medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries. Broadly defined, it was a way of structu ...
's development and struggle against common invaders as much as common belief of various Georgian states had an enormous importance for spiritual and political unification of Georgia feudal monarchy under the Bagrationi dynasty in the 11th century. The
Kingdom of Georgia The Kingdom of Georgia ( ka, საქართველოს სამეფო, tr), also known as the Georgian Empire, was a medieval Eurasian monarchy that was founded in circa 1008 Anno Domini, AD. It reached Georgian Golden Age, its Golde ...
reached its zenith in the 12th to early 13th centuries. This period during the reigns of David IV (r. 1089–1125) and his great-granddaughter Tamar (r. 1184–1213) has been widely termed as Georgia's Golden Age or the Georgian Renaissance. This early Georgian renaissance, which preceded its Western European analogue, was characterized by impressive military victories, territorial expansion, and a cultural renaissance in architecture, literature, philosophy and the sciences. The Golden age of Georgia left a legacy of great cathedrals, romantic poetry and literature, and the epic poem ''
The Knight in the Panther's Skin ''The Knight in the Panther's Skin'' ( ka, ვეფხისტყაოსანი, tr literally "the one with the skin of a tiger") is a Georgian medieval In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted appro ...
'', the latter which is considered a
national epic A national epic is an epic poetry, epic poem or a literary work of epic scope which seeks or is believed to capture and express the essence or spirit of a particular nation—not necessarily a nation state, but at least an ethnic or linguistic ...
. David suppressed dissent of feudal lords and centralized the power in his hands to effectively deal with foreign threats. In 1121, he decisively defeated much larger Turkish armies during the Battle of Didgori and liberated Tbilisi. The 29-year reign of Tamar, the first female ruler of Georgia, is considered the most successful in Georgian history. Tamar was given the title "king of kings" ('' mepe mepeta''). She succeeded in neutralizing opposition and embarked on an energetic foreign policy aided by the downfall of the rival powers of the Seljuks and Byzantium. Supported by a powerful military élite, Tamar was able to build on the successes of her predecessors to consolidate an empire which dominated the Caucasus, and extended over large parts of present-day Azerbaijan, Armenia, and eastern Turkey as well as parts of northern Iran, until its collapse under the Mongol attacks within two decades after Tamar's death in 1213. The revival of the Kingdom of Georgia was set back after Tbilisi was captured and destroyed by the Khwarezmian leader Jalal ad-Din in 1226. The Mongols were expelled by
George V of Georgia George V the Brilliant ( ka, გიორგი V ბრწყინვალე, ''Giorgi V Brtskinvale''; also translated as the ''Illustrious'', or ''Magnificent''; 1286/1289–1346) was List of the Kings of Georgia, King of Georgia (country), ...
(r. 1299–1302), son of Demetrius II of Georgia (r. 1270–1289), who was named "Brilliant" for his role in restoring the country's previous strength and Christian culture. George V was the last great king of the unified Georgian state. After his death, local rulers fought for their independence from central Georgian rule, until the total disintegration of the Kingdom in the 15th century. Georgia was further weakened by several disastrous invasions by
Tamerlane Timur ; chg, ''Aqsaq Temür'', 'Timur the Lame') or as ''Sahib-i-Qiran'' ( 'Lord of the Auspicious Conjunction'), his epithet. ( chg, ''Temür'', 'Iron'; 9 April 133617–19 February 1405), later Timūr Gurkānī ( chg, ''Temür Kür ...
. Invasions continued, giving the kingdom no time for restoration, with both
Black Black is a color which results from the absence or complete Absorption (electromagnetic radiation), absorption of visible spectrum, visible light. It is an achromatic color, without hue, like white and grey. It is often used symbolically or fi ...
and
White White is the lightest color Color (American English) or colour (British English) is the visual perception, visual perceptual Physical property, property deriving from the spectrum of light interacting with the photoreceptor cells of th ...
sheep Turkomans constantly raiding its southern provinces.


Tripartite division

The Kingdom of Georgia collapsed into anarchy by 1466 and fragmented into three independent kingdoms and five semi-independent principalities. Neighboring large empires subsequently exploited the internal division of the weakened country, and beginning in the 16th century up to the late 18th century,
Safavid Iran Safavid Iran or Safavid Persia (), also referred to as the Safavid Empire, '. was one of the greatest Iranian empires after the 7th-century Muslim conquest of Persia, which was ruled from 1501 to 1736 by the Safavid dynasty. It is often conside ...
(and successive Iranian Afsharid and Qajar dynasties) and
Ottoman Turkey The Ottoman Empire, * ; is an archaic version. The definite article forms and were synonymous * and el, Оθωμανική Αυτοκρατορία, Othōmanikē Avtokratoria, label=none * info page on book at Martin Luther University) ...
subjugated the eastern and western regions of Georgia, respectively. The rulers of regions that remained partly autonomous organized rebellions on various occasions. However, subsequent Iranian and Ottoman invasions further weakened local kingdoms and regions. As a result of incessant Ottoman–Persian Wars and deportations, the population of Georgia dwindled to 784,700 inhabitants at the end of the 18th century. Eastern Georgia (
Safavid Georgia The province of Georgia () was a ''velayat'' (province) of the Safavid Empire located in the area of present-day Georgia (country), Georgia. The territory of the province was principally made up of the two subordinate eastern Georgian kingdoms o ...
), composed of the regions of
Kartli Kartli ( ka, ქართლი ) is a historical region in central-to-eastern Georgia (country), Georgia traversed by the river Mtkvari (Kura), on which Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, is situated. Known to the Classical antiquity, Classical authors ...
and
Kakheti Kakheti ( ka, კახეთი ''K’akheti''; ) is a region (mkhare) formed in the 1990s in eastern Georgia (country), Georgia from the historical province of Kakheti and the small, mountainous province of Tusheti. Telavi is its capital. The re ...
, had been under Iranian
suzerainty Suzerainty () is the rights and obligations of a person, state or other polity who controls the foreign policy and relations of a tributary state, while allowing the tributary state to have internal autonomy. While the subordinate party is ca ...
since 1555 following the
Peace of Amasya The Peace of Amasya ( fa, پیمان آماسیه ("Peymān-e Amasiyeh"); tr, Amasya Antlaşması) was a treaty agreed to on May 29, 1555, between Shah Tahmasp of Safavid Iran and Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire at the cit ...
signed with neighbouring rivalling Ottoman Turkey. With the death of
Nader Shah Nader Shah Afshar ( fa, نادر شاه افشار; also known as ''Nader Qoli Beyg'' or ''Tahmāsp Qoli Khan'' ) (August 1688 – 19 June 1747) was the founder of the Afsharid dynasty of Iran and one of the most powerful rulers in History o ...
in 1747, both kingdoms broke free of Iranian control and were reunified through a personal union under the energetic king Heraclius II in 1762. Heraclius, who had risen to prominence through the Iranian ranks, was awarded the crown of
Kakheti Kakheti ( ka, კახეთი ''K’akheti''; ) is a region (mkhare) formed in the 1990s in eastern Georgia (country), Georgia from the historical province of Kakheti and the small, mountainous province of Tusheti. Telavi is its capital. The re ...
by Nader himself in 1744 for his loyal service to him. Heraclius nevertheless stabilized Eastern Georgia to a degree in the ensuing period and was able to guarantee its autonomy throughout the Iranian Zand period. In 1783, Russia and the eastern Georgian Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti signed the Treaty of Georgievsk, by which Georgia abjured any dependence on
Persia Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
or another power, and made the kingdom a protectorate of Russia, which guaranteed Georgia's territorial integrity and the continuation of its reigning Bagrationi dynasty in return for prerogatives in the conduct of Georgian foreign affairs. However, despite this commitment to defend Georgia, Russia rendered no assistance when the Iranians invaded in 1795, capturing and sacking Tbilisi while massacring its inhabitants, as the new heir to the throne sought to reassert Iranian hegemony over Georgia. Despite a punitive campaign subsequently launched against Qajar Iran in 1796, this period culminated in the 1801 Russian violation of the Treaty of Georgievsk and annexation of eastern Georgia, followed by the abolition of the royal Bagrationi dynasty, as well as the
autocephaly Autocephaly (; from el, αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the status of a hierarchy, hierarchical Christian church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. The term is primarily used in ...
of the
Georgian Orthodox Church The Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Georgia ( ka, საქართველოს სამოციქულო ავტოკეფალური მართლმადიდებელი ეკლესია, tr), commonly ...
.
Pyotr Bagration Prince Pyotr Ivanovich Bagration (10 July 1765 – 24 September 1812) was a Georgians, Georgian general and prince serving in the Russian Empire, prominent during the Napoleonic Wars. Bagration, a member of the Bagrationi dynasty, was born in T ...
, one of the descendants of the abolished house of Bagrationi, would later join the Russian army and rise to be a prominent general in the Napoleonic wars.


Within the Russian Empire

On 22 December 1800,
Tsar Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a title used by East Slavs, East and South Slavs, South Slavic monarchs. The term is derived from the Latin word ''Caesar (title), caesar'', which was intended to mean "emperor" i ...
Paul I of Russia Paul I (russian: Па́вел I Петро́вич ; – ) was Emperor of Russia from 1796 until his assassination. Officially, he was the only son of Peter III of Russia, Peter III and Catherine the Great, although Catherine hinted that he w ...
, at the alleged request of the Georgian King George XII, signed the proclamation on the incorporation of Georgia (Kartli-Kakheti) within the Russian Empire, which was finalized by a decree on 8 January 1801, and confirmed by Tsar Alexander I on 12 September 1801. The Bagrationi royal family was deported from the kingdom. The Georgian envoy in
Saint Petersburg Saint Petersburg ( rus, links=no, Санкт-Петербург, a=Ru-Sankt Peterburg Leningrad Petrograd Piter.ogg, r=Sankt-Peterburg, p=ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk), formerly known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and later Leningrad (1924–1991), i ...
reacted with a note of protest that was presented to the Russian vice-chancellor Prince Kurakin. In May 1801, under the oversight of General Carl Heinrich von Knorring, Imperial Russia transferred power in eastern Georgia to the government headed by General Ivan Petrovich Lazarev. The Georgian nobility did not accept the decree until 12 April 1802, when Knorring assembled the nobility at the Sioni Cathedral and forced them to take an oath on the Imperial Crown of Russia. Those who disagreed were temporarily arrested. In the summer of 1805, Russian troops on the Askerani River near Zagam defeated the Iranian army during the 1804–13 Russo-Persian War and saved Tbilisi from reconquest now that it was officially part of the Imperial territories. Russian suzerainty over eastern Georgia was officially finalized with Iran in 1813 following the
Treaty of Gulistan The Treaty of Gulistan (russian: Гюлистанский договор; fa, عهدنامه گلستان) was a peace treaty A peace treaty is an treaty, agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or governments, which ...
. Following the annexation of eastern Georgia, the western Georgian
kingdom of Imereti The Kingdom of Imereti ( ka, იმერეთის სამეფო, tr) was a Georgian monarchy established in 1455 by a member of the house of Bagrationi when the Kingdom of Georgia was Triarchy and collapse of the Kingdom of Georgia, diss ...
was annexed by Tsar Alexander I. The last Imeretian king and the last Georgian Bagrationi ruler, Solomon II, died in exile in 1815, after attempts to rally people against Russia and to enlist foreign support against the latter, had been in vain. From 1803 to 1878, as a result of numerous Russian wars now against
Ottoman Turkey The Ottoman Empire, * ; is an archaic version. The definite article forms and were synonymous * and el, Оθωμανική Αυτοκρατορία, Othōmanikē Avtokratoria, label=none * info page on book at Martin Luther University) ...
, several of Georgia's previously lost territories – such as
Adjara Adjara ( ka, აჭარა ''Ach’ara'' ) or Achara, officially known as the Autonomous Republic of Adjara ( ka, აჭარის ავტონომიური რესპუბლიკა ''Ach’aris Avt’onomiuri Resp’ublik’a'' ...
– were recovered, and also incorporated into the empire. The principality of
Guria Guria ( ka, გურია) is a region (''mkhare'') in Georgia (country), Georgia, in the western part of the country, bordered by the eastern end of the Black Sea. The region has a population of 113,000 (2016), with Ozurgeti as the regional c ...
was abolished and incorporated into the Empire in 1829, while
Svaneti Svaneti or Svanetia (Suania in ancient sources; ka, სვანეთი ) is a historic province in the northwestern part of Georgia (country), Georgia. It is inhabited by the Svans, an ethnic subgroup of Georgians. Geography Situated o ...
was gradually annexed in 1858. Mingrelia, although a Russian protectorate since 1803, was not absorbed until 1867. Russian rule offered the Georgians security from external threats, but it was also often heavy-handed and insensitive. By the late 19th century, discontent with the Russian authorities grew into a national revival movement led by Ilia Chavchavadze. This period also brought social and economic change to Georgia, with new social classes emerging: the emancipation of the serfs freed many peasants but did little to alleviate their poverty; the growth of
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, price system, pr ...
created an urban working class in Georgia. Both peasants and workers found expression for their discontent through revolts and strikes, culminating in the Revolution of 1905. Their cause was championed by the
socialist Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ...
Mensheviks, who became the dominant political force in Georgia in the final years of Russian rule.


Declaration of independence

After the
Russian Revolution The Russian Revolution was a period of Political revolution (Trotskyism), political and social revolution that took place in the former Russian Empire which began during the First World War. This period saw Russia abolish its monarchy and ad ...
of 1917, the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic was established with Nikolay Chkheidze acting as its president. The federation consisted of three nations: Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. As the Ottomans advanced into the Caucasian territories of the crumbling Russian Empire, Georgia declared independence on 26 May 1918. The Menshevik Social Democratic Party of Georgia won the parliamentary election and its leader,
Noe Zhordania Noe Zhordania ( ka, ნოე ჟორდანია /nɔɛ ʒɔrdɑniɑ/; russian: Ной Никола́евич Жорда́ния; born (or ) — January 11, 1953) was a Georgia (country), Georgian journalist and Social Democratic Labour Par ...
, became prime minister. Despite the Soviet takeover, Zhordania was recognized as the legitimate head of the Georgian Government by France, UK, Belgium, and Poland through the 1930s. The 1918 Georgian–Armenian War, which erupted over parts of disputed provinces between Armenia and Georgia populated mostly by Armenians, ended because of British intervention. In 1918–1919, Georgian general
Giorgi Mazniashvili Giorgi Mazniashvili ( ka, გიორგი მაზნიაშვილი) (6 April 1870 – 16 December 1937) was a Georgia (country), Georgian general and one of the most prominent military figures in the Democratic Republic of Georgia (1 ...
led an attack against the
White Army The White Army (russian: Белая армия, Belaya armiya) or White Guard (russian: Бѣлая гвардія/Белая гвардия, Belaya gvardiya, label=none), also referred to as the Whites or White Guardsmen (russian: Бѣлогв ...
led by Moiseev and Denikin in order to claim the
Black Sea The Black Sea is a marginal sea, marginal Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Europe and Asia, east of the Balkans, south of the East European Plain, west of the Caucasus, and north of An ...
coastline from Tuapse to Sochi and Adler for the independent Georgia. In 1920 Soviet Russia recognized Georgia's independence with the Treaty of Moscow. But the recognition proved to be of little value, as the
Red Army The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army (Russian language, Russian: Рабо́че-крестья́нская Кра́сная армия),) often shortened to the Red Army, was the army and air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist R ...
led by
Joseph Stalin Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (born Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili; – 5 March 1953) was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former ...
invaded Georgia in 1921 and formally annexed it into the Soviet Union in 1922.


Soviet Socialist Republic

In February 1921, during the
Russian Civil War , date = October Revolution, 7 November 1917 – Yakut revolt, 16 June 1923{{Efn, The main phase ended on 25 October 1922. Revolt against the Bolsheviks continued Basmachi movement, in Central Asia and Tungus Republic, the Far East th ...
, the Red Army advanced into Georgia and brought the local Bolsheviks to power. The Georgian army was defeated and the Social Democratic government fled the country. On 25 February 1921, the Red Army entered Tbilisi and established a government of workers' and peasants'
soviets Soviet people ( rus, сове́тский наро́д, r=sovyétsky naród), or citizens of the USSR ( rus, гра́ждане СССР, grázhdanye SSSR), was an umbrella demonym for the population of the Soviet Union The Soviet Unio ...
with
Filipp Makharadze Filipp Yeseyevich Makharadze ( ka, ფილიპე მახარაძე, russian: Филипп Махарадзе; 9 March 1868 – 10 December 1941) was a Georgian Bolsheviks, Bolshevik revolutionary and government official. Life Born i ...
as acting head of state. Georgia was incorporated into the
Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic , conventional_long_name = Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic , common_name = Transcaucasian SFSR , p1 = Armenian Soviet Socialist RepublicArmenian SSR , flag_p1 = Flag of SSRA ...
, alongside
Armenia Armenia (), , group=pron officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country in the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.The UNbr>classification of world regions places Armenia in Western Asia; the CIA World Factbook , , and '' ...
and
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (, ; az, Azərbaycan ), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan, , also sometimes officially called the Azerbaijan Republic is a transcontinental country, transcontinental country located at the boundary of Eastern Europe and Wester ...
, in 1921 which in 1922 would become a founding member of the Soviet Union. Soviet rule was firmly established only after the insurrection was swiftly defeated. Georgia would remain an unindustrialized periphery of the USSR until the
first five-year plan The first five-year plan (russian: I пятилетний план, ) of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was a list of economic goals, created by Communist Party General Secretary Joseph Stalin, based on his policy of socialis ...
when it became a major centre for textile goods. Later, in 1936, the TSFSR was dissolved and Georgia emerged as a union republic: the
Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic The Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic (Georgian SSR; ka, საქართველოს საბჭოთა სოციალისტური რესპუბლიკა, tr; russian: Грузинская Советская Соц ...
.
Joseph Stalin Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (born Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili; – 5 March 1953) was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former ...
, an ethnic Georgian born Iosif Vissarionovich Jugashvili (იოსებ ბესარიონის ძე ჯუღაშვილი) in Gori, was prominent among the Bolsheviks. Stalin was to rise to the highest position, leading the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death on 5 March 1953. In June 1941,
Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populous country in Europe after Russia, and the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is situated between ...
invaded the Soviet Union on an immediate course towards Caucasian oil fields and munitions factories. They never reached Georgia, however, and almost 700,000 Georgians fought in the Red Army to repel the invaders and advance towards Berlin. Of them, an estimated 350,000 were killed. The Georgian uprising on Texel against the Germans was the last battle of the Second World War in Europe. After Stalin's death,
Nikita Khrushchev Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (– 11 September 1971) was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964 and Premier of the Soviet Union, chairm ...
became the leader of the Soviet Union and implemented a policy of
de-Stalinization De-Stalinization (russian: десталинизация, translit=destalinizatsiya) comprised a series of political reforms in the Soviet Union after Death and state funeral of Joseph Stalin, the death of long-time leader Joseph Stalin in 1953, ...
. This was nowhere else more publicly and violently opposed than in Georgia, where in 1956 riots broke out upon the release of Khrushchev's public denunciation of Stalin, which had to be dispersed by military force. Throughout the remainder of the Soviet period, Georgia's economy continued to grow and experience significant improvement, though it increasingly exhibited blatant corruption and alienation of the government from the people. With the beginning of
perestroika ''Perestroika'' (; russian: links=no, перестройка, p=pʲɪrʲɪˈstrojkə, a=ru-perestroika.ogg) was a political movement for reform within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) during the late 1980s widely associated wit ...
in 1986, the Georgian Soviet leadership proved so incapable of handling the changes that most Georgians, including rank and file communists, concluded that the only way forward was a break from the existing Soviet system.


After restoration of independence

On 9 April 1991, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Supreme Council of Georgia declared independence after a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct vote by the Constituency, electorate on a proposal, law, or political issue. This is in contrast to an issue being voted on by a Representative democr ...
held on 31 March. Georgia was the first non- Baltic republic of the Soviet Union to officially declare independence. In August 1991,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country located at the crossroads of Central Europe, Central, Eastern Europe, Eastern, and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It borders Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, S ...
became the first country to recognize Georgia. On 26 May,
Zviad Gamsakhurdia Zviad Konstantines dze Gamsakhurdia ( ka, ზვიად გამსახურდია, tr; russian: Звиа́д Константи́нович Гамсаху́рдия, Zviad Konstantinovich Gamsakhurdiya; 31 March 1939 – 31 December 1 ...
was elected as the first President of independent Georgia. Gamsakhurdia stoked Georgian nationalism and vowed to assert Tbilisi's authority over regions such as Abkhazia and South Ossetia that had been classified as autonomous within the Georgian SSR. He was soon deposed in a bloody ''coup d'état'', from 22 December 1991 to 6 January 1992. The coup was instigated by part of the National Guards and a paramilitary organization called " Mkhedrioni" ("horsemen"). The country then became embroiled in a bitter
civil war A civil war or intrastate war is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region, or to change go ...
, which lasted until nearly 1994. Simmering disputes within two regions of Georgia;
Abkhazia Abkhazia, ka, აფხაზეთი, tr, , xmf, აბჟუა, abzhua, or ( or ), officially the Republic of Abkhazia, is a partially recognised State (polity), state in the South Caucasus, International recognition of Abkhazia and ...
and
South Ossetia South Ossetia, ka, სამხრეთი ოსეთი, ( , ), officially the Republic of South Ossetia – the State of Alania, is a international recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, partially recognised Landlocked country, ...
, between local separatists and the majority Georgian populations, erupted into widespread inter-ethnic violence and wars. Supported by Russia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia achieved ''de facto'' independence from Georgia, with Georgia retaining control only in small areas of the disputed territories.
Eduard Shevardnadze Eduard Ambrosis dze Shevardnadze ( ka, ედუარდ ამბროსის ძე შევარდნაძე}, romanization of Georgian, romanized: ; 25 January 1928 – 7 July 2014) was a Soviet and Georgians, Georgian politician a ...
(Soviet
Minister of Foreign Affairs A foreign affairs minister or minister of foreign affairs (less commonly minister for foreign affairs) is generally a Cabinet (government), cabinet Minister (government), minister in charge of a sovereign state, state's foreign policy and foreign ...
from 1985 to 1991) returned to Georgia in 1992. During the War in Abkhazia (1992–1993), roughly 230,000 to 250,000 Georgians were expelled from Abkhazia by Abkhaz separatists and North Caucasian volunteers (including Chechens). Around 23,000 Georgians fled South Ossetia as well. In 2003, Shevardnadze (who won re-election in 2000) was deposed by the Rose Revolution, after Georgian opposition and international monitors asserted that 2 November parliamentary elections were marred by fraud. The revolution was led by Mikheil Saakashvili, Zurab Zhvania and Nino Burjanadze, former members and leaders of Shevardnadze's ruling party. Mikheil Saakashvili was elected as President of Georgia in 2004. Following the Rose Revolution, a series of reforms were launched to strengthen the country's military and economic capabilities, as well as to reorient its foreign policy westwards. The new government's efforts to reassert Georgian authority in the southwestern autonomous republic of
Adjara Adjara ( ka, აჭარა ''Ach’ara'' ) or Achara, officially known as the Autonomous Republic of Adjara ( ka, აჭარის ავტონომიური რესპუბლიკა ''Ach’aris Avt’onomiuri Resp’ublik’a'' ...
led to a major crisis in 2004. The country's newly pro-Western stance, along with accusations of Georgian involvement in the
Second Chechen War The Second Chechen War (russian: Втора́я чече́нская война́, ) took place in Chechnya and the border regions of the North Caucasus between the Russia, Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, from Augus ...
, resulted in a severe deterioration of relations with Russia, fuelled also by Russia's open assistance and support to the two secessionist areas. Despite these increasingly difficult relations, in May 2005 Georgia and Russia reached a bilateral agreement by which Russian military bases (dating back to the Soviet era) in
Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the List of cities and towns in Georgia (country), second largest city of Georgia (country), Georgia and the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, located on the coast of the Black Sea in Georgia's ...
and Akhalkalaki were withdrawn. Russia withdrew all personnel and equipment from these sites by December 2007 while failing to withdraw from the Gudauta base in Abkhazia, which it was required to vacate after the adoption of the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty during the 1999 Istanbul summit.


Russo-Georgian War and since

Tensions between Georgia and Russia began escalating in April 2008. A bomb explosion on 1 August 2008 targeted a car transporting Georgian peacekeepers. South Ossetians were responsible for instigating this incident, which marked the opening of hostilities and injured five Georgian servicemen. In response, several South Ossetian militiamen were killed by snipers. South Ossetian separatists began shelling Georgian villages on 1 August. These artillery attacks immediately caused Georgian servicemen to return fire periodically. On 7 August 2008, Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili announced a unilateral ceasefire and called for peace talks. However, escalating assaults against Georgian villages (located in the South Ossetian conflict zone) were soon matched with gunfire from Georgian troops, who then proceeded to move in the direction of the capital of the self-proclaimed Republic of South Ossetia ( Tskhinvali) on the night of 8 August, reaching its centre in the morning of 8 August. According to Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer, the Ossetian provocation was aimed at triggering the Georgian response, which was needed as a pretext for premeditated Russian military invasion. According to Georgian intelligence, and several Russian media reports, parts of the regular (non-peacekeeping) Russian Army had already moved to South Ossetian territory through the Roki Tunnel before the Georgian military action. Russia accused Georgia of "aggression against South Ossetia", and launched a large-scale land, air and sea invasion of Georgia with the pretext of " peace enforcement" operation on 8 August 2008. Abkhaz forces opened a second front on 9 August by attacking the Kodori Gorge held by Georgia. Tskhinvali was seized by the Russian military by 10 August. Russian forces occupied Georgian cities beyond the disputed territories. During the conflict, there was a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Georgians in South Ossetia, including destruction of Georgian settlements after the war had ended. The war displaced 192,000 people, and while many were able to return to their homes after the war, a year later around 30,000 ethnic Georgians remained displaced. In an interview published in ''Kommersant'', South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity said he would not allow Georgians to return.
President of France The president of France, officially the president of the French Republic (french: Président de la République française), is the executive head of state of France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country prim ...
Nicolas Sarkozy negotiated a ceasefire agreement on 12 August 2008. Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as separate republics on 26 August. In response to Russia's recognition, the Georgian government severed diplomatic relations with Russia. Russian forces left the buffer areas bordering
Abkhazia Abkhazia, ka, აფხაზეთი, tr, , xmf, აბჟუა, abzhua, or ( or ), officially the Republic of Abkhazia, is a partially recognised State (polity), state in the South Caucasus, International recognition of Abkhazia and ...
and South Ossetia on 8 October, and the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia was dispatched to the buffer areas. Since the war, Georgia has maintained that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are occupied Georgian territories. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Georgia has topped the list of countries which Russian exiles departed to after the war began; Russians are allowed to stay in Georgia for at least one year without a visa, though many Georgians view the presence of more Russian citizens in Georgia as a security risk.


Government and politics

Georgia is a representative democratic
parliamentary A parliamentary system, or parliamentarian democracy, is a system of democracy, democratic government, governance of a sovereign state, state (or subordinate entity) where the Executive (government), executive derives its democratic legitimacy ...
republic A republic () is a "sovereign state, state in which Power (social and political), power rests with the people or their Representative democracy, representatives; specifically a state without a monarchy" and also a "government, or system of gov ...
, with the
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese ful ...
as the largely ceremonial head of state, and Prime Minister as the head of government. The executive branch of power is made up of the
Cabinet of Georgia The Government of Georgia ( ka, საქართველოს მთავრობა, tr) is the supreme body of Executive (government), executive power in Georgia (country), Georgia that implements the domestic and foreign policies of the co ...
. The Cabinet is composed of ministers, headed by the
Prime Minister A prime minister, premier or chief of cabinet is the head of the Cabinet (government), cabinet and the leader of the Minister (government), ministers in the Executive (government), executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary syst ...
, and appointed by the Parliament. Salome Zurabishvili is the current President of Georgia after winning 59.52% of the vote in the 2018 Georgian presidential election. Since February 2021, Irakli Gharibashvili has been the Prime Minister of Georgia.
Legislative A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
authority is vested in the
Parliament of Georgia The Parliament of Georgia ( ka, საქართველოს პარლამენტი, tr) is the supreme national legislature of Georgia (country), Georgia. It is a unicameral parliament, currently consisting of 150 members; of these, ...
. It is unicameral and has 150 members, known as deputies, of whom 30 are elected by plurality to represent single-member districts, and 120 are chosen to represent parties by proportional representation. Members of parliament are elected for four-year terms. On 26 May 2012, Saakashvili inaugurated a new Parliament building in the western city of
Kutaisi Kutaisi (, ka, ქუთაისი ) is one of the List of oldest continuously inhabited cities, oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the List of cities and towns in Georgia (country), third-most populous city in Georgia (coun ...
, in an effort to decentralize power and shift some political control closer to Abkhazia. Saakashvili's rivals, who came to power later in 2012, never truly accepted the move to Kutaisi and six years later Parliament returned to its old location in Tbilisi after adapting the constitutional clause. Different opinions exist regarding the degree of political freedom in Georgia. Saakashvili believed in 2008 that the country is "on the road to becoming a European democracy."
Freedom House Freedom House is a non-profit, majority U.S. government funded organization in Washington, D.C., that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, Freedom (political), political freedom, and human rights. Freedom House was founded in October 19 ...
lists Georgia as a partly free country (2008), recognizing a trajectory of democratic improvement surrounding the 2012–13 transfer of power, yet observing a gradual backslide in later years.


Recent political developments

In preparation for the 2012 parliamentary elections, Georgia implemented constitutional reforms to switch to a parliamentary democracy, moving executive powers from the President to the Prime Minister. The transition was set to start with the October 2012 parliamentary elections and to be completed with the 2013 presidential elections. Against the expectations of the then ruling United National Movement (UNM) of president Mikheil Saakashvili, the 6-party opposition
coalition A coalition is a group formed when two or more people or groups temporarily work together to achieve a common goal. The term is most frequently used to denote a formation of power in political or economical spaces. Formation According to ''A Gui ...
around newly found Georgian Dream won the parliamentary elections in October 2012, bringing an end to nine years of UNM rule and marking the first peaceful, electoral, transfer of power in Georgia. President Saakashvili acknowledged the defeat of his party on the following day. Georgian Dream was founded, led and financed by tycoon
Bidzina Ivanishvili Bidzina Ivanishvili ( ka, ბიძინა ივანიშვილი, also known as Boris Grigoryevich Ivanishvili ; born 18 February 1956) is a Georgia (country), Georgian politician, billionaire businessman and philanthropist, who serv ...
, the country's richest man who was subsequently elected by parliament as new Prime Minister. Due to the incomplete transition to parliamentary democracy, a year of uneasy
cohabitation Cohabitation is an arrangement where people who are not married, usually couples, live together. They are often involved in a Romance (love), romantic or Human sexuality, sexually intimate relationship on a long-term or permanent basis. Such a ...
between rivals Ivanishvili and Saakashvili followed until the October 2013 presidential elections. In October 2013, Giorgi Margvelashvili, a candidate of the Georgian Dream party, won the presidential
election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administration, public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative ...
. Margvelashvili succeeded president Mikheil Saakashvili, who had served the maximum of two terms since coming to power after the bloodless 2003 " Rose Revolution". However, the new constitution made the role of president largely ceremonial. With the completed transfer of power, Prime Minister Ivanishvili stepped aside and named one of his close business associates as next Prime Minister. Ivanishvili has since been called the informal leader of Georgia, arranging political reappointments from behind the scenes. In October 2016, the ruling party Georgian Dream won the parliamentary elections with 48.61 percent of the vote while the opposition United National Movement (UNM) gained 27.04 percent of the vote. Most of Georgian Dream's coalition parties had left the coalition and landed outside of parliament. As result of the mixed proportional-majoritarian system, with a threshold of 5% for the proportional vote and redefined majoritarian districts, only four parties entered parliament, with the Georgian Dream party gaining a constitutional majority of 77% (+36 seats). This electoral imbalance became a key issue of political and civil society strife in the following years. After international mediation to overcome the deep political crisis in the runup to the 2020 parliamentary elections an amended electoral system was adopted, specifically for the 2020 elections. Meanwhile, Salome Zurabishvili won the 2018 presidential election in two rounds, becoming the first woman in Georgia to hold the office in full capacity after Parliament Speaker Nino Burjanadze held the office as female interim President twice, in 2003 and 2007. Zurabishvili was backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party. It was the last direct election of a Georgian president, as additional constitutional reforms removed the popular vote. On 31 October 2020, the ruling Georgian Dream again led by Bidzina Ivanishvili secured over 48% of votes in the parliamentary
election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administration, public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative ...
under a different electoral system. 120 parliamentary seats were elected through proportional vote while 30 seats were elected through single mandate majoritarian constituencies. The threshold for the proportional vote was lowered to 1%, which resulted in 9 parties being represented in parliament. As largest faction, having secured 90 out of 150 seats, Georgian Dream formed the country's next government and continued to govern alone. The opposition made accusations of fraud, which the Georgian Dream denied. Thousands of people gathered outside the Central Election Commission to demand a new vote. This led to a new political crisis that was (temporarily) resolved with an EU brokered agreement, from which the Georgian Dream later withdrew. In February 2021, Irakli Garibashvili became Prime Minister of Georgia, following the resignation of Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia. Garibashvili, who had an earlier term as prime minister in 2013–15, is known as a political hardliner. On 1 October 2021, former President Mikheil Saakashvili was arrested on his return from exile. Saakashvili led the country from 2004 to 2013 but was later convicted in absentia on corruption charges and abuse of power, which he denied.


Foreign relations

Georgia maintains good relations with its direct neighbours Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, and is a member of the United Nations, the
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation founded in the wake of World War II to uphold European Convention on Human Rights, human rights, democracy and the Law in Europe, rule of law in Europe. ...
, the
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization Globalization is social change associated with increased connectivity among societies and their elements and the explosive evolution of transportation and telecommunica ...
, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Community of Democratic Choice, the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the
Asian Development Bank The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a Multilateral development bank, regional development bank established on 19 December 1966, which is headquartered in the Ortigas Center located in the city of Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines. The bank ...
. Georgia also maintains political, economic, and military relations with France, Germany,
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, ; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, ), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a country in Western Asia. It is situated ...
, Japan,
South Korea South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korea, Korean Peninsula and sharing a Korean Demilitarized Zone, land border with North Korea. Its western border is formed ...
,
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකා, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an ...
, Turkey,
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the List of European countries by area, second-largest European country after Russia, which it borders Russia–Ukraine border, to the east and northeast. Ukraine ...
, the United States, and many other countries. The explicit western orientation of Georgia, deepening political ties with the US and European Union, notably through its EU and NATO membership aspirations, the US Train and Equip military assistance programme, and the construction of the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline, have frequently strained Tbilisi's relations with
Moscow Moscow ( , US chiefly ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐskˈva, a=Москва.ogg) is the capital and largest city of Russia Russia (, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a List of transcontinental countries, transco ...
. Georgia's decision to boost its presence in the coalition forces in Iraq was an important initiative. The European Union has identified Georgia as a prospective member,
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of the Legislature, legislative bodies of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union (known as the Council and in ...

Resolution 2014/2717(RSP)
17 July 2014: "...pursuant to Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – like any other European state – have a European perspective and may apply to become members of the Union…"
and Georgia has sought membership. Georgia is currently working to become a full member of
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 30 Member sta ...
. In August 2004, the Individual Partnership Action Plan of Georgia was submitted officially to NATO. On 29 October 2004, the North Atlantic Council of NATO approved the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) of Georgia, and Georgia moved on to the second stage of Euro-Atlantic Integration. In 2005, the agreement on the appointment of Partnership for Peace (PfP) liaison officer between Georgia and NATO came into force, whereby a liaison officer for the South Caucasus was assigned to Georgia. On 2 March 2005, the agreement was signed on the provision of the host nation support to and transit of NATO forces and NATO personnel. On 6–9 March 2006, the IPAP implementation interim assessment team arrived in Tbilisi. On 13 April 2006, the discussion of the assessment report on implementation of the Individual Partnership Action Plan was held at NATO Headquarters, within 26+1 format. The majority of Georgians and politicians in Georgia support the push for NATO membership. In 2011, the North Atlantic Council designated Georgia as an "aspirant country". Since 2014, Georgia–NATO relations are guided by the Substantial NATO–Georgia Package (SNGP), which includes the NATO–Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Centre and facilitation of multi-national and regional military drills. In September 2019, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that "NATO approaching our borders is a threat to Russia." He was quoted as saying that if
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 30 Member sta ...
accepts Georgian membership with the article on collective defence covering only Tbilisi-administered territory (i.e., excluding the Georgian territories
Abkhazia Abkhazia, ka, აფხაზეთი, tr, , xmf, აბჟუა, abzhua, or ( or ), officially the Republic of Abkhazia, is a partially recognised State (polity), state in the South Caucasus, International recognition of Abkhazia and ...
and
South Ossetia South Ossetia, ka, სამხრეთი ოსეთი, ( , ), officially the Republic of South Ossetia – the State of Alania, is a international recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, partially recognised Landlocked country, ...
, both of which are currently Russian-supported unrecognized breakaway republics), "we will not start a war, but such conduct will undermine our relations with NATO and with countries who are eager to enter the alliance." George W. Bush became the first sitting US president to visit the country. The street leading to Tbilisi International Airport has since been dubbed George W. Bush Avenue. On 2 October 2006, Georgia and the European Union signed a joint statement on the agreed text of the Georgia–European Union Action Plan within the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The Action Plan was formally approved at the EU–Georgia Cooperation Council session on 14 November 2006, in
Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Bruss ...
. In June 2014, the EU and Georgia signed an Association Agreement, which entered into force on 1 July 2016. On 13 December 2016, EU and Georgia reached the agreement on visa liberalization for Georgian citizens. On 27 February 2017, the Council adopted a regulation on visa liberalization for Georgians travelling to the EU for a period of stay of 90 days in any 180-day period. Georgia applied for EU membership on 3 March 2022, soon after the beginning of the
2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine On 24 February 2022, in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War, which began in 2014. The invasion has likely resulted in tens of thousands of deaths on both sides. It has caused Europe's List of largest refugee crises, largest refug ...
.


Military

Georgia's military is organized into
land Land, also known as dry land, ground, or earth, is the solid terrestrial surface of the planet Earth that is not submerged by the ocean or other body of water, bodies of water. It makes up 29% of Earth's surface and includes the Continent, co ...
and air forces. They are collectively known as the Georgian Defense Forces (GDF). The mission and functions of the GDF are based on the Constitution of Georgia, Georgia's Law on Defense and National Military Strategy, and international agreements to which Georgia is signatory. The military budget of Georgia for 2021 is 900 ($) million. The biggest part, 72% of the military budget is allocated for maintaining defence forces readiness and potency development. After its independence from the Soviet Union, Georgia began to develop its own military industry. The first exhibition of products made by
STC Delta The State Military Scientific-Technical Center "DELTA" (SMSTC Delta) is a legal entity of public law established by the decree of the President of Georgia (country), Georgia. Its full name is ''Legal Entity of Public Law - State Military Scientifi ...
was in 1999. STC Delta now produces a variety of military equipment, including armoured vehicles, artillery systems, aviation systems, personal protection equipment, and small arms. During later periods of the
Iraq War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Iraq War , partof = the Iraq conflict (2003–present), Iraq conflict and the War on terror , image = Iraq War montage.png , image_size = 300px , caption ...
Georgia had up to 2,000 soldiers serving in the Multi-National Force. Georgia also participated in the
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 30 Member sta ...
-led
International Security Assistance Force The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was a multinational military mission in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014. It was established by United Nations Security Council United Nations Security Council Resolution 1386, Resolution 1386 pursua ...
in
Afghanistan Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,; prs, امارت اسلامی افغانستان is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia. Referred to as the Heart of Asia, it is bordere ...
; with 1,560 troops in 2013, it was at that time the largest contributor among non-
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 30 Member sta ...
countries and in
per capita ''Per capita'' is a Latin phrase literally meaning "by heads" or "for each head", and idiomatically used to mean "per person". The term is used in a wide variety of social sciences and statistical research contexts, including government statistic ...
terms. Over 11,000 Georgian soldiers have been rotated through Afghanistan. , 31 Georgian servicemen have died in Afghanistan, most during the Helmand campaign. In addition, 435 were wounded, including 35 amputees.


Law enforcement

In Georgia, law enforcement is conducted and provided for by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia. In recent years, the Patrol Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has undergone a radical transformation, with the police having now absorbed a great many duties previously performed by dedicated independent government agencies. New duties performed by the police include border security and customs functions and contracted security provision; the latter function is performed by the dedicated 'security police'. In 2005, President Mikheil Saakashvili fired the entire traffic police force (numbering around 30,000 police officers) of the Georgian National Police due to corruption. A new force was then subsequently built around new recruits. The US State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law-Enforcement Affairs has provided assistance to the training efforts and continues to act in an advisory capacity. The new ''Patruli'' force was first introduced in the summer of 2005 to replace the traffic police, a force which was accused of widespread corruption. The police introduced a 0-2-2 (currently, 1-1-2) emergency dispatch service in 2004.


Corruption

Prior to the Rose Revolution, Georgia was among the most corrupt countries in the world. However, following the reforms brought by the peaceful revolution, the level of corruption in the country abated dramatically. In 2010,
Transparency International Transparency International e.V. (TI) is a German registered association founded in 1993 by former employees of the World Bank. Based in Berlin, its nonprofit and non-governmental purpose is to take action to combat global corruption with civi ...
(TI) named Georgia "the best corruption-buster in the world." In 2012, the
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and Grant (money), grants to the governments of Least developed countries, low- and Developing country, middle-income countries for the purpose of pursuing capital pro ...
called Georgia a "unique success" of the world in fighting corruption, noting "Georgia's experience shows that the vicious cycle of endemic corruption can be broken and, with appropriate and decisive reforms, can be turned into a virtuous cycle." Although Georgia has been very successful in reducing blatant forms of corruption, other more subtle corrupt practices have been noted. For example, in its 2017 report,
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation founded in the wake of World War II to uphold European Convention on Human Rights, human rights, democracy and the Law in Europe, rule of law in Europe. ...
observed that while most day-to-day corruption has been eliminated, there are some indications of a " clientelistic system" whereby the country's leadership may allocate resources in ways that generate the loyalty and support it needs to stay in power. Since 2012 stagnation in corruption fighting efforts can be observed, according to Transparency International. Since 2016 the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index hovers around 56 out of 100 points. In comparison, that places Georgia in the top 50 out of 180 countries, among
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Society, social and cultural identity. The Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) between Catholic Church, Catholicism and Protestanti ...
an and
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
EU member states.


Human rights

Human rights in Georgia are guaranteed by the country's constitution. There is an independent human rights ''public defender'' elected by the
Parliament of Georgia The Parliament of Georgia ( ka, საქართველოს პარლამენტი, tr) is the supreme national legislature of Georgia (country), Georgia. It is a unicameral parliament, currently consisting of 150 members; of these, ...
to ensure such rights are enforced. Georgia has ratified the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities in 2005. NGO "Tolerance", in its alternative report about its implementation, speaks of a rapid decrease in the number of Azerbaijani schools and cases of appointing headmasters to Azerbaijani schools who do not speak the Azerbaijani language. The government came under criticism for its alleged use of excessive force on 26 May 2011 when it dispersed 2011 Georgian protests, protesters led by Nino Burjanadze, among others, with tear gas and rubber bullets after they refused to clear Rustaveli Avenue for an independence day parade despite the expiration of their demonstration permit and despite being offered to choose an alternative venue. While human rights activists maintained that the protests were peaceful, the government pointed out that many protesters were masked and armed with heavy sticks and molotov cocktails. Georgian opposition leader Nino Burjanadze said the accusations of planning a coup were baseless, and that the protesters' actions were legitimate. Since independence, Georgia maintained harsh policies against drugs, handing out lengthy sentences even for marijuana use. This came under criticism from human rights activists and led to protests. In response to lawsuits from civil society organizations, in 2018 the Constitutional Court of Georgia ruled that "consumption of marijuana is an action protected by the right to free personality" and that "[Marijuana] can only harm the user's health, making that user him/herself responsible for the outcome. The responsibility for such actions does not cause dangerous consequences for the public." With this ruling, Georgia became one of the first countries in the world to legalize cannabis, although using the drug in the presence of children is still illegal and punishable by fines or imprisonment.


Administrative divisions

Georgia is Administrative divisions of Georgia (country), administratively divided into 9 regions, 1 capital region, and 2 autonomous republics. These in turn are subdivided into 67 List of municipalities in Georgia (country), districts and 5 self-governing cities. Georgia contains two official autonomous regions, of which one has declared independence. Officially autonomous within Georgia, the de facto independent region of
Abkhazia Abkhazia, ka, აფხაზეთი, tr, , xmf, აბჟუა, abzhua, or ( or ), officially the Republic of Abkhazia, is a partially recognised State (polity), state in the South Caucasus, International recognition of Abkhazia and ...
declared independence in 1999. In addition, another territory not officially autonomous has also declared independence.
South Ossetia South Ossetia, ka, სამხრეთი ოსეთი, ( , ), officially the Republic of South Ossetia – the State of Alania, is a international recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, partially recognised Landlocked country, ...
is officially known by Georgia as the Tskinvali region, as it views "South Ossetia" as implying political bonds with Russian North Ossetia. It was called South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast when Georgia was part of Soviet Union. Its autonomous status was revoked in 1990. De facto separate since Georgian independence, offers were made to give South Ossetia autonomy again, but in 2006 an unrecognized referendum in the area resulted in a vote for independence. In both Abkhazia and South Ossetia large numbers of people had been given Russian passports, some through a process of forced passportization by Russian authorities. This was used as a justification for Russian invasion of Georgia during the 2008 South Ossetia war after which Russia recognized the region's independence. Georgia considers the regions as occupied by Russia. The two self-declared republics gained International recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, limited international recognition after the 2008 Russo-Georgian War. Most countries consider the regions to be Occupied territories of Georgia, Georgian territory under Russian occupation.


Geography

Georgia is a mountainous country situated almost entirely in the South Caucasus, while Eastern Georgia, some slivers of the country are situated north of the Greater Caucasus#Watershed, Caucasus Watershed in the North Caucasus. The country lies between latitudes 41st parallel north, 41° and 44th parallel north, 44° N, and longitudes 40th meridian east, 40° and 47th meridian east, 47° E, with an area of . The Likhi Range divides the country into eastern and western halves. Historically, the western portion of Georgia was known as Colchis while the eastern plateau was called Iberia.Nana Bolashvili, Andreas Dittmann, Lorenz King, Vazha Neidze (eds.): ''National Atlas of Georgia – Nationalatlas von Georgien'', 138 pages, Steiner Verlag, 2018 The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range forms the northern border of Georgia. The main roads through the mountain range into Russian territory lead through the Roki Tunnel between Shida Kartli and North Ossetia and the Darial Gorge (in the Georgian region of Khevi). The southern portion of the country is bounded by the Lesser Caucasus Mountains. The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range is much higher in elevation than the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, with the highest peaks rising more than Above mean sea level, above sea level. The highest mountain in Georgia is Mount Shkhara at , and the second highest is Mount Janga (Dzhangi–Tau) at above sea level. Other prominent peaks include Mount Kazbek at , Shota Rustaveli , Tetnuldi , Ushba , and Ailama . Out of the abovementioned peaks, only Kazbek is of volcanic origin. The region between Kazbek and Shkhara (a distance of about along the Main Caucasus Range) is dominated by numerous glaciers. The term Lesser Caucasus Mountains is often used to describe the mountainous (highland) areas of southern Georgia that are connected to the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range by the Likhi Range. The area can be split into two separate sub-regions; the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, which run parallel to the Greater Caucasus Range, and the Southern Georgia Volcanic Highland. The overall region can be characterized as being made up of various, interconnected mountain ranges (largely of volcanic origin) and plateaus that do not exceed in elevation. Prominent features of the area include the Javakheti Volcanic Plateau, lakes, including Tabatskuri and Paravani, as well as mineral water and hot springs. Two major List of rivers of Georgia (country), rivers in Georgia are the Rioni River, Rioni and the Mtkvari River, Mtkvari.


Topography

The landscape within the nation's boundaries is quite varied. Western Georgia's landscape ranges from low-land marsh-forests, swamps, and temperate rainforests to eternal snows and glaciers, while the eastern part of the country even contains a small segment of semi-arid plains. Much of the natural habitat in the low-lying areas of western Georgia has disappeared during the past 100 years because of the agricultural development of the land and urbanization. The large majority of the forests that covered the Colchis plain are now virtually non-existent with the exception of the regions that are included in the national parks and reserves (e.g. Lake Paliastomi area). At present, the forest cover generally remains outside of the low-lying areas and is mainly located along the foothills and the mountains. Western Georgia's forests consist mainly of deciduous trees below Above mean sea level, above sea level and contain species such as oak, hornbeam, Oriental Beech, beech, elm, ash tree, ash, and Sweet Chestnut, chestnut. Evergreen species such as Buxus, box may also be found in many areas. Ca. 1000 of all 4000 higher plants of Georgia are endemic to this country. The west-central slopes of the Meskheti Range in Ajaria as well as several locations in Samegrelo and Abkhazia are covered by temperate rain forests. Between above sea level, the deciduous forest becomes mixed with both broad-leaf and coniferous species making up the plant life. The zone is made up mainly of beech, Caucasian Spruce, spruce, and Nordmann Fir, fir forests. From , the forest becomes largely coniferous. The tree line generally ends at around and the alpine zone takes over, which in most areas, extends up to an elevation of Above mean sea level, above sea level. Eastern Georgia's landscape (referring to the territory east of the Likhi Range) is considerably different from that of the west, although, much like the Colchis plain in the west, nearly all of the low-lying areas of eastern Georgia including the Mtkvari and Alazani River plains have been deforestation, deforested for agricultural purposes. The general landscape of eastern Georgia comprises numerous valleys and gorges that are separated by mountains. In contrast with western Georgia, nearly 85 per cent of the forests of the region are deciduous. Coniferous forests only dominate in the Borjomi Gorge and in the extreme western areas. Out of the deciduous species of trees, beech, oak, and hornbeam dominate. Other deciduous species include several varieties of maple, aspen, ash, and hazelnut. At higher elevations above Above mean sea level, above sea level (particularly in the Tusheti, Khevsureti, and Khevi regions), Scots Pine, pine and birch forests dominate. In general, the forests in eastern Georgia occur between above sea level, with the alpine zone extending from 2,000–2,300 to 3,000–3,500 metres (6,562–7,546 to 9,843–11,483 ft). The only remaining large, low-land forests remain in the Alazani Valley of Kakheti.


Climate

The climate of Georgia is extremely diverse, considering the nation's small size. There are two main climatic zones, roughly corresponding to the eastern and western parts of the country. The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range plays an important role in moderating Georgia's climate and protects the nation from the penetration of colder air masses from the north. The Lesser Caucasus Mountains partially protect the region from the influence of dry and hot air masses from the south. Much of western Georgia lies within the northern periphery of the humid subtropical zone with annual precipitation ranging from , reaching a maximum during the Autumn months. The climate of the region varies significantly with elevation and while much of the lowland areas of western Georgia are relatively warm throughout the year, the foothills and mountainous areas (including both the Greater and Lesser Caucasus Mountains) experience cool, wet summers and snowy winters (snow cover often exceeds in many regions). Eastern Georgia has a transitional climate from humid subtropical to continental. The region's weather patterns are influenced both by dry Caspian air masses from the east and humid Black Sea air masses from the west. The penetration of humid air masses from the Black Sea is often blocked by mountain ranges (Likhi Range, Likhi and Meskheti) that separate the eastern and western parts of the nation. The wettest periods generally occur during spring and autumn, while winter and summer months tend to be the driest. Much of eastern Georgia experiences hot summers (especially in the low-lying areas) and relatively cold winters. As in the western parts of the nation, elevation plays an important role in eastern Georgia where climatic conditions above are considerably colder than in the low-lying areas.


Biodiversity

Because of its high landscape diversity and low latitude, Georgia is home to about 5,601 species of animals, including 648 species of vertebrates (more than 1% of the species found worldwide) and many of these species are endemics. A number of large carnivores live in the forests, namely Brown bears, wolf, wolves, lynxes and Persian leopard, Caucasian Leopards. The common pheasant (also known as the Colchian Pheasant) is an endemic bird of Georgia which has been widely introduced throughout the rest of the world as an important game bird. The species number of invertebrates is considered to be very high but data is distributed across a high number of publications. The spider checklist of Georgia, for example, includes 501 species. The Rioni River may contain a breeding population of the critically endangered bastard sturgeon. Slightly more than 6,500 species of Fungus, fungi, including lichen-forming species, have been recorded from Georgia, but this number is far from complete. The true total number of fungal species occurring in Georgia, including species not yet recorded, is likely to be far higher, given the generally accepted estimate that only about seven per cent of all fungi worldwide have so far been discovered. Although the amount of available information is still very small, a first effort has been made to estimate the number of fungal species endemic to Georgia, and 2,595 species have been tentatively identified as possible endemics of the country. 1,729 species of plants have been recorded from Georgia in association with fungi. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, there are 4,300 species of vascular plants in Georgia. Georgia is home to four ecoregions: Caucasus mixed forests, Euxine-Colchic deciduous forests, Eastern Anatolian montane steppe, and Azerbaijan shrub desert and steppe. It had a 2018 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 7.79/10, ranking it 31st globally out of 172 countries.


Economy

Archaeological research demonstrates that Georgia has been involved in commerce with many lands and empires since ancient times, largely due its location on the Black Sea and later on the historical Silk Road. Gold, silver, copper and iron ore, iron have been mined in the Caucasus Mountains. Georgian wine making is a very old tradition and a key branch of the country's economy. The country has sizeable hydropower resources. Throughout Georgia's modern history agriculture and tourism have been principal economic sectors, because of the country's climate and topography. For much of the 20th century, Georgia's economy was within the Soviet model of command economy. Since the fall of the USSR in 1991, Georgia embarked on a major structural reform designed to transition to a free market economy. As with all other post-Soviet states, Georgia faced a severe economic collapse. The civil war and military conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia aggravated the crisis. The agriculture and industry output diminished. By 1994 the gross domestic product had shrunk to a quarter of that of 1989. Since the early 21st century visible positive developments have been observed in the economy of Georgia. In 2007, Georgia's real GDP growth rate reached 12 per cent, making Georgia one of the fastest-Economic growth, growing economies in Eastern Europe. Georgia has become more Globalization, integrated into the global trading network: its 2015 imports and exports account for 50% and 21% of GDP respectively. Georgia's main imports are vehicles, ores, fossil fuels and farmaceuticals. Main exports are ores, ferro-alloys, vehicles, wines, mineral waters and fertilizers. The World Bank dubbed Georgia "the number one economic reformer in the world" because it has in one year improved from rank 112th to 18th in terms of Ease of Doing Business Index, ease of doing business, and by 2020 further improved its position to 6th in the world. As of 2021, it ranked 12th in the world for
economic freedom Economic freedom, or economic liberty, is the ability of people of a society to take economic actions. This is a term used in economic and policy debates as well as in the philosophy of economics. One approach to economic freedom comes from the Ec ...
. In 2019, Georgia ranked 61st on the
Human Development Index The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy, Education Index, education (mean years of schooling completed and expected years of schooling upon entering the Educational system, education system), ...
(HDI). Between 2000 and 2019, Georgia's HDI score improved by 17.7%. Of factors contributing to HDI, education had the most positive influence as Georgia Education Index, ranks in the top quintile in terms of education. Georgia is developing into an international transport corridor through
Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the List of cities and towns in Georgia (country), second largest city of Georgia (country), Georgia and the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, located on the coast of the Black Sea in Georgia's ...
and Poti ports, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway, Baku–Tbilisi–Kars Railway line, an oil pipeline from Baku through Tbilisi to Ceyhan, the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline (BTC) and a parallel gas pipeline, the South Caucasus Pipeline. Since coming to power the Saakashvili administration accomplished a series of reforms aimed at improving tax collection. Among other things a flat income tax was introduced in 2004. As a result, budget revenues have increased fourfold and a once large budget deficit has turned into a budget surplus, surplus. As of 2001, 54 per cent of the population lived below the national poverty line but by 2006 poverty decreased to 34 per cent and by 2015 to 10.1 per cent. In 2015, the average monthly income of a household was 1,022.3 (about US dollar, $426). 2015 calculations place Georgia's List of countries by GDP (nominal), nominal GDP at US$13.98 billion. Georgia's economy is becoming more devoted to Service economy, services (, representing 59.4 per cent of GDP), moving away from the agricultural sector (6.1 per cent). Since 2014, unemployment has been gradually decreasing each year but remained in double digits and worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. A perception of economic stagnation led to a 2019 survey of 1,500 residents finding unemployment was considered a significant problem by 73% of respondents, with 49% reporting their income had decreased over the prior year. Georgia's telecommunications infrastructure is ranked the last among its bordering neighbours in the World Economic Forum's Network Readiness Index (NRI) – an indicator for determining the development level of a country's information and communication technologies. Georgia ranked number 58 overall in the 2016 NRI ranking, up from 60 in 2015. Georgia was ranked 63rd in the Global Innovation Index in 2021, down from 48th in 2019.


Tourism

Tourism is an increasingly significant part of the Georgian economy. In 2016, 2,714,773 tourists brought approximately US$2.16 billion to the country. In 2019, the number of international arrivals reached a record high of 9.3 million people with foreign exchange income in the year's first three quarters amounting to over US$3 billion. The country plans to host 11 million visitors by 2025 with annual revenues reaching US$6.6 billion. According to the government, there are 103 resorts in different Köppen climate classification, climatic zones in Georgia. Tourist attractions include more than 2,000 Spring (hydrology), mineral springs, over 12,000 historical and cultural monuments, four of which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Bagrati Cathedral in
Kutaisi Kutaisi (, ka, ქუთაისი ) is one of the List of oldest continuously inhabited cities, oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the List of cities and towns in Georgia (country), third-most populous city in Georgia (coun ...
and Gelati Monastery, historical monuments of Mtskheta, and Upper Svaneti). Other tourist attractions are Uplistsikhe, Cave City, Ananuri Castle/Church, Sighnaghi and Mount Kazbek. In 2018, more than 1.4 million tourists from Russia visited Georgia.


Transport

Today transport in Georgia is provided by Georgian Railway, rail, road, ferry, and air. Total length of Roads in Georgia (country), roads in Georgia, excluding the Occupied territories of Georgia, occupied territories, is and railways – . Positioned in the Caucasus and on the coast of the Black Sea, Georgia is a key country through which energy imports to the European Union from neighbouring Azerbaijan pass. In recent years Georgia has invested large amounts of money in the modernization of its transport networks. The construction of new highways has been prioritized and, as such, major cities like Tbilisi have seen the quality of their roads improve dramatically; despite this however, the quality of inter-city routes remains poor and to date only one motorway-standard road has been constructed – the S1 highway (Georgia), ს 1 (S1), the main east–west highway through the country. The Georgian railways represent an important transport artery for the Caucasus, as they make up the largest proportion of a route linking the Black and Caspian Seas. In turn, this has allowed them to benefit in recent years from increased energy exports from neighbouring Azerbaijan to the European Union, Ukraine, and Turkey. Passenger services are operated by the state-owned Georgian Railway whilst freight operations are carried out by a number of licensed operators. Since 2004 the Georgian Railways have been undergoing a rolling programme of fleet-renewal and managerial restructuring which is aimed at making the service provided more efficient and comfortable for passengers. Infrastructural development has also been high on the agenda for the railways, with the key Tbilisi railway junction expected to undergo major reorganization in the near future. Additional projects also include the construction of the economically important Kars–Tbilisi–Baku railway, which was opened on 30 October 2017 and connects much of the Caucasus with Turkey by standard gauge railway. Air and maritime transport is developing in Georgia, with the former mainly used by passengers and the latter for transport of freight. Georgia currently has four international airports, the largest of which is by far Tbilisi International Airport, hub for Georgian Airways, which offers connections to many large European cities. Other airports in the country are largely underdeveloped or lack scheduled traffic, although, as of late, efforts have been made to solve both these problems. There are a number of seaports along Georgia's Black Sea coast, the largest and most busy of which is the Port of Batumi; whilst the town is itself a seaside resort, the port is a major cargo terminal in the Caucasus and is often used by neighbouring Azerbaijan as a transit point for making energy deliveries to Europe. Scheduled and chartered passenger ferry services link Georgia with Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine.


Demographics

Like most native Peoples of the Caucasus, Caucasian peoples, the Georgians do not fit into any of the main ethnic categories of Europe or Asia. The Georgian language, the most pervasive of the Kartvelian languages, is not Indo-European languages, Indo-European, Turkic languages, Turkic, or Semitic languages, Semitic. The present day Georgian or Kartvelian nation is thought to have resulted from the fusion of aboriginal, Indigenous peoples, autochthonous inhabitants with immigrants who moved into South Caucasus from the direction of Anatolia in remote antiquity. The population of Georgia totalled 3,688,647 as of 2022, a decrease from a figure of 3,713,804 of the previous census in October 2014. The population declined by 40,000 in 2021, a reversal of the trend towards stabilisation of the last decade and, for the first time since independence, the population was recorded to be below 3.7 million. According to the 2014 census, Ethnic Georgians form about 86.8 per cent of the population, while the remainder includes ethnic groups such as Abkhazians, Armenians in Georgia, Armenians, Assyrian people, Assyrians, Azerbaijanis in Georgia, Azerbaijanis, Pontic Greeks, Greeks, Georgian Jews, Jews, Kists, Ossetians, Russians, Ukrainians, Yezidis and others. The Georgian Jews are one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. According to the 1926 census there were 27,728 Jews in Georgia. Georgia was also once home to significant ethnic Germans, German communities, numbering 11,394 according to the 1926 census. Most of them Caucasus Germans#Bolnisi, Georgia, were deported during World War II. The 2014 census, carried out in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), found a population gap of approximately 700,000 compared to the 2014 data from the National Statistical Office of Georgia, Geostat, which was cumulatively built on the 2002 census. Consecutive research estimated the 2002 census to be inflated by 8 to 9 percent, which affected the annually updated population estimates in subsequent years. One explanation put forward by UNFPA is that families of emigrants continued to list them in 2002 as residents for fear of losing certain rights or benefits. Also, the population registration system from birth to death was non-functional. It was not until around 2010 that parts of the system became reliable again. With the support of the UNFPA, the demographic data for the period 1994–2014 has been retro-projected. On the basis of that back-projection, Geostat has corrected its data for these years. The 1989 census recorded 341,000 ethnic Russians in Georgia, Russians, or 6.3 per cent of the population, 52,000 Ukrainians and 100,000 Greeks in Georgia. The population of Georgia, including the breakaway regions, has declined by more than 1 million due to net emigration in the period 1990–2010.Ethnic minorities in Georgia
. Federation Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l'Homme.
Other factors in the population decline include birth-death deficits for the period 1995–2010 and the exclusion of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from the statistics. Russia received by far the most migrants from Georgia. According to United Nations data, this totalled 625,000 by 2000, declining to 450,000 by 2019. Initially the out-migration was driven by non-Georgian ethnicities but increasing numbers of Georgians emigrated as well, due to the war, the crisis-ridden 1990s, and the subsequent bad economic outlook. The 2010 Russian census recorded about 158,000 ethnic Georgians living in Russia, with approximately 40,000 living in Moscow by 2014. There were 184 thousand immigrants in Georgia in 2014 with most of them hailing from Russia (51.6%), Greece (8.3%), Ukraine (8.11%), Germany (4.3%), and Armenia (3.8%). In the early 1990s, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, violent separatism, separatist conflicts broke out in the autonomous region of Abkhazia and South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast, Tskhinvali Region. Many Ossetians living in Georgia left the country, mainly to Russia's North Ossetia. On the other hand, at least 160,000 Georgians left Abkhazia after the break-out of hostilities in 1993. Of the Meskhetian Turks who were Population transfer in the Soviet Union, forcibly relocated in 1944, only a tiny fraction returned to Georgia . The most widespread language group is the Kartvelian languages, Kartvelian family, which includes Georgian, Svan language, Svan, Mingrelian language, Mingrelian and Laz language, Laz. The official languages of Georgia are Georgian language, Georgian, with Abkhazian language, Abkhaz having official status within the autonomous region of Abkhazia. Georgian is the primary language of 87.7 per cent of the population, followed by 6.2 per cent speaking Azerbaijani language, Azerbaijani, 3.9 per cent Armenian language, Armenian, 1.2 per cent Russian language, Russian, and 1 per cent other languages. Azerbaijani once served as a ''lingua franca'' for communication among various nationalities inhabiting Eastern Caucasus.


Religion

Today 83.4 per cent of the population practices Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, with the majority of these adhering to the national
Georgian Orthodox Church The Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Georgia ( ka, საქართველოს სამოციქულო ავტოკეფალური მართლმადიდებელი ეკლესია, tr), commonly ...
. The
Georgian Orthodox Church The Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Georgia ( ka, საქართველოს სამოციქულო ავტოკეფალური მართლმადიდებელი ეკლესია, tr), commonly ...
is one of the world's most ancient Christian Churches, and claims apostolic foundation by Saint Andrew. In the first half of the 4th century, Christianity was adopted as the state religion of Iberia (present-day Kartli, or eastern Georgia), following the missionary work of Saint Nino of Cappadocia. The Church gained
autocephaly Autocephaly (; from el, αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the status of a hierarchy, hierarchical Christian church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. The term is primarily used in ...
during the early Middle Ages; it was abolished during the Russian domination of the country, restored in 1917 and fully recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1989. The special status of the Georgian Orthodox Church is officially recognized in the Constitution of Georgia and the Concordat of 2002, although religious institutions are separate from the state. Religious minorities of Georgia include Muslims (10.7 per cent), Armenian Apostolic Church, Armenian Christians (2.9 per cent) and Roman Catholics (0.5 per cent). 0.7 per cent of those recorded in the 2014 census declared themselves to be adherents of other religions, 1.2 per cent refused or did not state their religion and 0.5 per cent declared no religion at all. Islam in Georgia (country), Islam is represented by both Azerbaijani Shia Muslims (in the south-east) ethnic Georgian Sunni Muslims in Adjara, and Laz language, Laz-speaking Sunni Muslims as well as Sunni Meskhetian Turks along the border with Turkey. In
Abkhazia Abkhazia, ka, აფხაზეთი, tr, , xmf, აბჟუა, abzhua, or ( or ), officially the Republic of Abkhazia, is a partially recognised State (polity), state in the South Caucasus, International recognition of Abkhazia and ...
, a minority of the Abkhaz population is also Sunni Muslim, alongside the faithful of the revived Abkhaz neopaganism, Abkhaz pagan faith. There are also smaller communities of Greek Muslims (of Pontic Greek origin) and Armenian Muslims, both of whom are descended from Ottoman-era converts to Turkish Islam from Eastern Anatolia who settled in Georgia following the Lala Mustafa Pasha's Caucasian campaign that led to the Ottoman conquest of the country in 1578. Georgian Jews trace the history of their community to the 6th century BC; their numbers have dwindled in the last decades due to high levels of immigration to
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, ; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, ), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a country in Western Asia. It is situated ...
. Despite the long history of religious harmony in Georgia, there have been instances of religious discrimination and violence against "nontraditional faiths", such as Jehovah's Witnesses, by followers of the defrocked Orthodox priest Basil Mkalavishvili. In addition to traditional religious organizations, Georgia retains Secularism and Irreligion in Georgia, secular and irreligious segments of society (0.5 per cent), as well as a significant portion of religiously affiliated individuals who do not actively practice their faith.


Education

The education system of Georgia has undergone sweeping, though controversial, modernisation since 2004. Education in Georgia (country), Education in Georgia is mandatory for all children aged 6–14.Education system in Georgia
National Tempus Office Georgia. Retrieved on 2 September 2008.
The school system is divided into elementary (six years; ages 6–12), basic (three years; ages 12–15), and secondary (three years; ages 15–18), or alternatively vocational studies (two years). Access to higher education is given to students who have gained a secondary school certificate. Only those students who have passed the Unified National Examinations may enroll in a state-accredited higher education institution, based on ranking of the scores received at the exams. Most of these institutions offer three levels of study: a bachelor's programme (three to four years); a master's programme (two years), and a doctoral programme (three years). There is also a certified specialist's programme that represents a single-level higher education programme lasting from three to six years. , 75 higher education institutions are accredited by the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia. Gross enrolment ratio, Gross primary enrolment ratio was 117 per cent for the period of 2012–2014, the 2nd highest in Europe after Sweden. Tbilisi has become the main artery of the Georgian educational system, particularly since the creation of the Democratic Republic of Georgia, First Georgian Republic in 1918 permitted the establishment of modern, Georgian-language educational institutions. Tbilisi is home to several major institutions of higher education in Georgia, notably the Tbilisi State Medical University, which was founded as Tbilisi Medical Institute in 1918, and the Tbilisi State University (TSU), which was established in 1918 and remains the oldest university in the entire Caucasus region. The number of faculty and staff (collaborators) at TSU is approximately 5,000, with over 35,000 students enrolled. The following four universities are also located in Tbilisi: Georgian Technical University, which is Georgia's main and largest technical university, The University of Georgia (Tbilisi), as well as Caucasus University and Free University of Tbilisi.


Culture

Georgian culture evolved over thousands of years from its foundations in the Kingdom of Iberia (antiquity), Iberian and Colchian civilizations. Georgian culture enjoyed a Georgian Golden Age, renaissance and golden age of classical literature, arts, philosophy, architecture and science in the 11th century. Georgian culture was influenced by Classical Greece, the Roman Empire, the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...
, the various History of Iran#Classical antiquity, Iranian empires (notably the Achaemenid Empire, Achaemenid, Parthian Empire, Parthian, Sassanian Empire, Sassanian, Safavid Empire, Safavid, and Qajar Empire, Qajar empires), and later, from the 19th century, by the
Russian Empire The Russian Empire was an empire and the final period of the List of Russian monarchs, Russian monarchy from 1721 to 1917, ruling across large parts of Eurasia. It succeeded the Tsardom of Russia following the Treaty of Nystad, which ended th ...
. This history which has shaped its cultural, religious, and political evolution translated into Georgians considering themselves a European nation. The Georgian language, and the Classical Georgian literature of the poet Shota Rustaveli, were revived in the 19th century after a long period of turmoil, laying the foundations of the Romanticism, romantics and novelists of the modern era such as Grigol Orbeliani, Nikoloz Baratashvili, Ilia Chavchavadze, Akaki Tsereteli, and Vazha-Pshavela.Lang David, Georgians. The Georgian language is written in three unique Georgian scripts, scripts which, according to traditional accounts, were invented by King Pharnavaz I of Iberia in the 3rd century BC. Georgia is known for its folklore, traditional music, dances, theatre, cinema, and art. Notable painters from the 20th century include Niko Pirosmani, Lado Gudiashvili, Elene Akhvlediani; notable ballet choreographers include George Balanchine, Vakhtang Chabukiani, and Nino Ananiashvili; notable poets include Galaktion Tabidze, Lado Asatiani, and Mukhran Machavariani; and notable theatre and film directors include Robert Sturua, Tengiz Abuladze, Georgi Daneliya, Giorgi Danelia, and Otar Ioseliani.


Architecture and arts

Architecture of Georgia (country), Georgian architecture has been influenced by many civilizations. There are several architectural styles for castles, towers, fortifications and Church (building), churches. The Upper Svaneti fortifications, and the castle town of Shatili in Khevsureti, are some of the finest examples of medieval Georgian castle architecture. Other architectural features of Georgia include Rustavelis Gamziri, Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi and the Old Tbilisi, Old Town District. Georgian ecclesiastic art is one of the most notable aspects of Georgian Christian architecture, which combines the classical dome style with the original basilica style, forming what is known as the Georgian cross-dome style. Cross-dome architecture developed in Georgia during the 9th century; before that, most Georgian churches were basilicas. Other examples of Georgian ecclesiastic architecture can be found outside Georgia: Bachkovo Monastery in Bulgaria (built in 1083 by the Georgian military commander Grigorii Bakuriani), Iviron monastery in Greece (built by Georgians in the 10th century), and the Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem (built by Georgians in the 9th century). One of the most famous late 19th/early 20th century Georgian artists was primitivist painter Niko Pirosmani.


Media

Television, magazines, and newspapers in Georgia are all operated by both state-owned and for-profit corporations which depend on advertising, subscription, and other sales-related revenues. The Constitution of Georgia guarantees freedom of speech. The media environment of Georgia remains the freest and most diverse in the South Caucasus, despite the long-term politicization and polarisation affecting the sector. The political struggle for control over the public broadcaster have left it without a direction in 2014 too.
Freedom House Freedom House is a non-profit, majority U.S. government funded organization in Washington, D.C., that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, Freedom (political), political freedom, and human rights. Freedom House was founded in October 19 ...

Georgia 2015 Press Freedom report


Music

Georgia has an ancient musical tradition, which is primarily known for its early development of polyphony. Georgian polyphony is based on three vocal parts, a unique tuning system based on perfect fifths, and a harmonic structure rich in parallel fifths and dissonances. Three types of polyphony have developed in Georgia: a complex version in Svaneti, a dialogue over a bass background in the Kakheti region, and a three-part partially-improvised version in western Georgia. The Georgian folk song "Chakrulo" was one of 27 musical compositions included on the Voyager Golden Records that were sent into space on Voyager 2 on 20 August 1977.


Cuisine

Georgian cuisine and Georgian wine, wine have evolved through the centuries, adapting traditions in each era. One of the most unusual traditions of dining is Supra (feast), supra, or ''Georgian table'', which is also a way of socializing with friends and family. The head of ''supra'' is known as tamada. He also conducts the highly philosophical toasts, and makes sure that everyone is enjoying themselves. Various historical regions of Georgia are known for their particular dishes: for example, khinkali (meat dumplings), from eastern mountainous Georgia, and khachapuri, mainly from Imereti, Samegrelo and Adjara.


Wine

Georgia is History of wine, one of the oldest wine-producing countries in the world. Archaeology indicates that fertile valleys and slopes in and around Georgia have been home to grapevine cultivation and neolithic wine production ( ka, ღვინო, ''ɣvino'') for millennia. Local traditions associated with
wine Wine is an alcoholic drink typically made from Fermentation in winemaking, fermented grapes. Yeast in winemaking, Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol and carbon dioxide, releasing heat in the process. Different ...
are entwined with its national identity. In 2013, UNESCO added the ancient traditional Georgian winemaking method using the Kvevri clay jars to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. Georgia's moderate climate and moist air, influenced by the
Black Sea The Black Sea is a marginal sea, marginal Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Europe and Asia, east of the Balkans, south of the East European Plain, west of the Caucasus, and north of An ...
, provide the best conditions for vine cultivation. The soil in vineyards is so intensively cultivated that the grapevines grow up the trunks of fruit trees eventually hanging down along the fruit when they ripen. This method of cultivation is called ''maglari''. Among the best-known Georgian wine regions are
Kakheti Kakheti ( ka, კახეთი ''K’akheti''; ) is a region (mkhare) formed in the 1990s in eastern Georgia (country), Georgia from the historical province of Kakheti and the small, mountainous province of Tusheti. Telavi is its capital. The re ...
(further divided into the micro-regions of Telavi and Kvareli),
Kartli Kartli ( ka, ქართლი ) is a historical region in central-to-eastern Georgia (country), Georgia traversed by the river Mtkvari (Kura), on which Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, is situated. Known to the Classical antiquity, Classical authors ...
, Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti,
Adjara Adjara ( ka, აჭარა ''Ach’ara'' ) or Achara, officially known as the Autonomous Republic of Adjara ( ka, აჭარის ავტონომიური რესპუბლიკა ''Ach’aris Avt’onomiuri Resp’ublik’a'' ...
and
Abkhazia Abkhazia, ka, აფხაზეთი, tr, , xmf, აბჟუა, abzhua, or ( or ), officially the Republic of Abkhazia, is a partially recognised State (polity), state in the South Caucasus, International recognition of Abkhazia and ...
. Georgian wine has been a contentious issue in recent relationships with Russia. Georgia–Russia relations, Political tensions with Russia have contributed to the 2006 2006 Russian ban of Moldovan and Georgian wines, Russian embargo of Georgian wine, Russia claimed Georgia produced counterfeit wine. It was an "official" reason, but instability of economic relations with Russia is well known, as they use the economic ties for political purposes. Counterfeiting problems stem from mislabelling by foreign producers and falsified “Georgian Wine” labels on wines produced outside of Georgia and imported into Russia under the auspices of being Georgian produced. The shipment of counterfeit wine has been primarily channelled through Government of Russia, Russian managed customs checkpoints in Russian occupied Georgian territories
Abkhazia Abkhazia, ka, აფხაზეთი, tr, , xmf, აბჟუა, abzhua, or ( or ), officially the Republic of Abkhazia, is a partially recognised State (polity), state in the South Caucasus, International recognition of Abkhazia and ...
and
South Ossetia South Ossetia, ka, სამხრეთი ოსეთი, ( , ), officially the Republic of South Ossetia – the State of Alania, is a international recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, partially recognised Landlocked country, ...
, where no inspection and regulation occurs.


Sports

The most popular sports in Georgia are association football, football, basketball, rugby union, wrestling, judo, and Olympic weightlifting, weightlifting. Rugby is considered Georgia's national sport. Historically, Georgia has been famous for its physical education; the Romans were fascinated with Georgians' physical qualities after seeing the training techniques of ancient
Iberia The Iberian Peninsula (), ** * Aragonese language, Aragonese and Occitan language, Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl, Península Eibérica * eu, Iberiar penintsula also known as Iberia, is a pe ...
. Wrestling remains a historically important sport of Georgia, and some historians think that the Greco-Roman wrestling, Greco-Roman style of wrestling incorporates many Georgian elements. Within Georgia, one of the most popularized styles of wrestling is the Kakhetian style. There were a number of other styles in the past that are not as widely used today. For example, the Khevsureti region of Georgia has three styles of wrestling. Other popular sports in 19th century Georgia were polo, and Lelo burti, Lelo, a traditional Georgian game very similar to rugby football, rugby.Bath, Richard (ed.) ''The Complete Book of Rugby'' (Seven Oaks Ltd, 1997 ) p67 The first and only race circuit in the Caucasian region is located in Georgia. Rustavi International Motorpark originally built in 1978 was re-opened in 2012 after total reconstruction costing $20 million. The track satisfies the FIA Grade 2 requirements and currently hosts the Legends car racing series and Formula Alfa competitions. Basketball was always one of the notable sports in Georgia, and Georgia had a few very famous Soviet Union national basketball team, Soviet Union national team members, such as Otar Korkia, Mikheil Korkia, Zurab Sakandelidze and Levan Moseshvili. BC Dinamo Tbilisi, Dinamo Tbilisi won the prestigious Euroleague competition in 1961–62 FIBA European Champions Cup, 1962. Georgia had five players in the National Basketball Association, NBA: Vladimir Stepania, Jake Tsakalidis, Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Tornike Shengelia and current Golden State Warriors centre Zaza Pachulia. Other notable basketball players are two times Euroleague champion Giorgi Shermadini and Euroleague players Manuchar Markoishvili and Viktor Sanikidze. Sport is regaining its popularity in the country in recent years. Georgia national basketball team qualified to EuroBasket during the last three tournaments since 2011.


See also

* Index of Georgia (country)-related articles * Outline of Georgia (country)


Notes


References


Sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Government


President of Georgia

Government of Georgia

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia

Department of Tourism and Resorts

American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia



General information



at ''UCB Libraries GovPubs'' *
Georgia profile
from the BBC News * *
Association of Modern Scientific Investigation – (AMSI)


News media


Civil Georgia, daily news about Georgia
{{DEFAULTSORT:Georgia Country Georgia (country), Caucasus Countries in Europe Countries in Asia Eastern European countries Western Asian countries Member states of the Council of Europe Member states of the United Nations States and territories established in 1991 1991 establishments in Georgia (country), * 1991 establishments in Asia 1991 establishments in Europe Modern history of Georgia (country), * Republics South Caucasus Christian states Transcontinental countries