Georgia History and Politics
The oldest finds of hominini, the ancestors of modern humans, outside of Africa, were found in Georgia. The location is Dmanisi in the southeast of the country. The finds probably come from Homo erectus. Their age is 1.85 million years.
In the 8th millennium BC The transition from the Paleolithic to the New Stone Age took place: hunters and gatherers became sedentary farmers. Bronze and Iron Ages followed.
Colchis and Iberia
In the 6th century BC The kingdom of Colchis arose in the west, and the kingdom of Iberia further east. It was also called Kartlien. The Lichi Mountains formed a natural border between the two kingdoms.
There was a brisk slave trade in Colchis. From the 2nd century BC Colchis came under the influence of the kingdom of Pontus on the south coast of the Black Sea. Iberia was able to free itself from Pontus. The Parnawasid dynasty ruled here for centuries.
Romans, Persians and Arabs conquered the territory of Georgia over the next centuries. The Romans subjugated in 66 BC BC Pontos and also took Colchis and Iberia. Colchis disintegrated and Lasika became the successor state. In 337, Christianity became the state religion.
Colchis and Iberia then came between the great powers East and Persia and were repeatedly under Persian rule. In the 7th century the area was gradually conquered by the Arabs. Attempts to introduce Islam failed, however. Four smaller principalities emerged: Egrisi-Abkhazia, Kartli, Kakheti and Heretia.
Georgia’s Golden Age: Kingdom of Georgia
Bagrat III. became king of Abkhazia in 978, and in 1008 he inherited Kartli from his father. He conquered Kakheti and Heretia and now united the small principalities into a kingdom of Georgia. Georgia’s “golden age” began.
Between the 11th and 13th centuries, Georgia became the most powerful power in Transkauskasia. King David the Builder and Queen Tamar did particularly well. They expanded the rule and modernized the state.
In the 16th century, however, Georgia split up into three kingdoms (Imereti, Kartlien and Kakheti) and five principalities (Abkhazia, Guria, Mingrelia, Samtskhe, Svaneti), which came under Ottoman or Persian rule.
Georgia in the Russian Empire
From the end of the 18th century, the empires came more and more under Russian rule. In 1783, Kartlien and Kakheti (East Georgia) placed themselves under Russian protection in order to be armed against the Ottomans and Persians. In 1801 both were annexed after the Georgian King Giorgi XII. had actually only sought protection from the Persians. The royal family was dethroned.
In 1810 Imereti came under Russian control. Svaneti and Abkhazia were added over the next few decades. Georgia was part of the Russian Empire. Many Georgians were dissatisfied with this.
History of Georgia from 1918 to the present day
In 1917, the February Revolution ended Russian tsarist rule. In the period of upheaval that followed, Georgia joined forces with Armenia and Azerbaijan. But while the Russians withdrew, the Turks advanced. In order to protect itself from a Turkish conquest, Georgia made contact with Germany. Germany sent soldiers and in return secured access to Georgian raw materials such as manganese.
On May 26, 1918, the country declared itself independent as the Democratic Republic of Georgia. After the German Reich lost the First World War, Great Britain took on the role of protecting power. In Abkhazia, and especially in South Ossetia, there were riots between 1918 and 1920 with many deaths because these areas did not want to belong to Georgia. Soviet Russia renounced Georgia in 1918 and recognized it in 1920. The Social Democrats had a large majority in Georgia’s parliament.
Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic – part of the Soviet Union (1921-1991)
In February 1921, the Red Army from Russia invaded Georgia and occupied the country. Georgia’s parliament had to flee. Georgia was declared a Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic and was thus part of the Soviet Union. Georgia became a major backbone of the economy and a popular vacation destination. Tropical fruits and tea were produced.
As a country located in Asia according to payhelpcenter, Georgia was also Russified by giving the Russian language and culture a higher priority than Georgian. By contrast, resistance and nationalism flared up from the 1970s.
Independence 1991 and breakaway regions
As the end of the Soviet Union approached, Georgia declared itself independent again on April 9, 1991. The Georgian SSR was one of the first union republics to break away.
For their part, South Ossetia and Abkhazia broke away from Georgia, which in 1990 led to armed fighting in South Ossetia. Fighting broke out in Abkhazia in 1992/93 (Georgian-Abkhazian War), which Georgia finally lost. All Georgians were subsequently driven from Abkhazia. Russia provided military support to the regions facing it, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Ajaria. A secession of Ajaria was prevented and in 2004 the region returned to the Georgian confederation as an autonomous republic.
Sviad Gamsakhurdia became the first President of Georgia. He confronted Russia, ruled authoritarian, had political opponents arrested and cracked down on the Abkhaz and Ossetian minorities. He was removed from office in a military coup in January 1992.
Eduard Shevardnadze (1992-2003)
Eduard Shevardnadze became President of the State Council in 1992 and the second President of Georgia in 1995. The Georgian had been foreign minister in the Soviet Union and, together with Gorbachev, had initiated a turning point in the Soviet Union. He had previously held several political offices in the Georgian SSR.
Under Shevardnadze, Georgia grew closer to the USA, while friction with Russia continued to arise. The economy stalled, and corruption increased enormously. Georgia was one of the poorest countries in the world.
Rose Revolution 2003 and President Saakashvili
In 2003 there was a political upheaval. Many people demonstrated against politics and the obviously fraudulent elections in November. On November 22nd, supporters of the opposition, led by Mikheil Saakashvili, stormed parliament with roses in their hands. Finally Eduard Shevardnadze resigned.
In 2004 Saakashvili was elected the new president. He stayed in this office until 2013. The economy took off during this period and corruption was fought. In 2007 and 2011, however, there were demonstrations against Saakashvili, who were accused of failing to fight poverty and corruption.
In 2013, Saakashvili was no longer allowed to run for election after two terms in office. His successor was Giorgi Margwelaschwili. In 2018 Salome Zurabishvili won the election and became the first female president of Georgia. She announced that Georgia would continue to seek membership in the EU.
Caucasus War 2008
In 2008 the Caucasus War broke out in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia supported South Ossetia when it was attacked by Georgia, and after the victory recognized it as a separate country, as did Abkhazia. The independence of the two countries is still not recognized internationally. The government in Georgia no longer has any power over these areas.