Georgia's History

Georgian history stretches right back to the beginning of history itself! By the 12th Century BC Georgia was the site of two kingdoms, the Iberian in the East and Colchis in the West. Rome conquered the region in 66BC maintaining the separate kingdoms as client states that became early converts to Christianity in 319AD. Byzantium took over Rome’s mantel and Georgia marked the dividing line between the Persian and Byzantine Empires, changing hands often. In the 7th Century Muslim Arabs swept both powers aside. In the 11th Century Georgia regained its freedom under the Bagrationi family whose influence lasted for almost 1000 years. Persians and Turks continued to dominate Georgian affairs to varying degrees until the incorporation of Georgia into Russia in 1801. In 1918 Georgia tasted independence again following Russia’s collapse but it ended when the Red Army marched in, in 1921. In 1991 Georgian independence was restored.

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Georgia’s first post-Communist president Zviad Gamsakhurdia was deposed in a coup d’état in 1992 and in 1995 Eduard Shevardnadze, former Soviet Foreign Minister became president. Georgia was beset with problems, both economic and political. With Russian support, Georgia’s Abkhazia region and South Ossetia declared independence and in 2008 both received some international recognition. Georgia describes both regions as ‘Russian occupied territory’. Ethnic Georgians fled both areas. In 2008 Georgian attempts at forcibly re-incorporating South Ossetia led to a brief war which Georgia lost. Peace now reigns and despite all this Georgia is a tourist friendly and interesting country to enjoy.

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