Georgian peoples have been living in the
Caucasus for at least the millennium before our era. In
the 500s BC, the kingdom of Kolchis (Kolcheti) was
founded in what is today western Georgia. Two hundred
years later it was united with the kingdom of Iberia
east of the Surami mountain range. East Georgia was
Christianized in 331, and Christianity spread rapidly
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Georgia, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
As a result of the power struggle between Ístrom
(Byzantine) and Persian princes, the empire in the 500s
was divided into small princes. In the early 12th
century, the land was united under King David II ("David
the Builder", Davit Aghmasjenebeli). Now, what is
usually called the "golden age" in Georgian history
began. It culminated in Queen Tamar's time in power
(1184-1212) as the territory expanded and culture
The country was invaded by Mongols in 1236 and
gradually it fell into disrepute. Then followed three
centuries of Turkish and Persian domination,
respectively. In the early 18th century, a cultural
renaissance began in eastern Georgia. Trade increased
and the first Georgian dictionary was printed. The two
eastern regions of Kartli and Kachetia were united in
1762 under King Erekle II.
Faced with the threat of a Turkish invasion, the
king, hoping for protection, entered into an alliance
with Russia. Tsar Alexander I dissolved the kingdom and
in 1801 converted eastern Georgia into a province of the
Russian Empire. The Russian conquest of western Georgia
lasted until the middle of the century. Society changed
rapidly. The Russians took over political power and
Armenian merchants dominated trade and economy. Many
Georgian farmers moved to the cities to work in the
Towards the end of the 19th century, a national
liberation movement emerged in the countryside. Its
ideas were taken over by the working class under the
leadership of Georgian intellectuals. It all culminated
in a bloody uprising in 1905. In the following decade,
Georgia's revolutionaries split into a Social Democratic
phalanx, the Mensheviks, and a radical revolutionary,
the Bolsheviks. The latter was led by Georgian Josef (Ioseb)
Djugashvili, later known as Stalin.
Following the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917,
an independent Georgian state was founded under the
leadership of a Menshevik government. In 1921, the
country was invaded by the Red Army and incorporated
into the Soviet Union. In 1936, Georgia was granted the
status of its own Soviet republic.
The Soviet regime meant that the state took over
private property as companies and real estate and that
the Communist Party became the only permitted party. All
opposition was suppressed by hard methods.
In 1929, a compulsory collectivization of agriculture
began, which destroyed the old peasant society. During
threats of violence, the peasants were forced to abandon
their lands, which were merged into large properties
that would be owned and used jointly.
At the same time, extensive industrialization began.
The working class grew rapidly, and immigration to the
cities accelerated. Between 1940 and 1958, the country's
industrial production more than doubled. Literacy
increased and the level of education increased.
From 1953 to 1972, Georgia was ruled by Communist
leader Vasilij Mzjavanadze. His rule was characterized
by corruption, brother-in-law politics and a growing
black economy. His successor, Georgian former KGB boss
Eduard Shevardnadze, undertook a cleanup. He dismissed
nearly 300 people from the leadership, who were accused
of corruption, among other things.
Shevardnadze initiated economic reforms which
resulted in a significant increase in industrial and
agricultural production in the early 1980s. In addition,
he succeeded in balancing the demands of Moscow with
Georgia's growing desire for national self-government.
When Mikhail Gorbachev had become Soviet leader in 1985,
Shevardnadze was appointed Foreign Minister of the
By the mid-1980s, freedom of expression increased as
a result of Gorbachev's reform policy. Now organizations
were formed that fought for better environment and
strengthening the position of the Georgian language. The
question of language gradually grew into a conflict in
which Ossetians and Abkhazians protested against
In early 1989, a campaign for liberation from Georgia
was launched in Abkhazia. On April 9 of the same year,
the Georgians responded with a counter-demonstration in
front of the parliament building in Tbilisi demanding
that Abkhazia should remain Georgian and that Georgia
should become independent from the Soviet Union. The
Soviet Army turned down the demonstration. Twenty-two
people were killed and hundreds injured. The event
diluted the anti-Soviet moods of Georgians. At the same
time, the tension between different groups of people
increased. The opposition's pressure eventually forced
the regime to hold the first multi-party in Georgia
history in October 1990.
The election was won by an alliance, the Round Table,
which sought an independent Georgia. The new parliament
elected the well-known nationalist Zviad Gamsachurdia as
chairman. He created an authoritarian and undemocratic
regime, attacked the opposition, took control of the
security police and set up a national guard.
The country's richest man is forming a new political movement
Georgia's richest man, Bidzina Ivanishvili, announces that he has formed a
new political movement, the Georgian Dream, which will work for a change of
power. Several thousand people are reported to have joined the movement's first
public meeting. He was deprived of his Georgian citizenship, as he was at the
same time a French and Russian citizen. A preliminary investigation into money
laundering is being launched against him and the equivalent of about US $ 3
million is seized from a bank he owns.
Parliament must be moved
A constitutional amendment is expected to move Parliament from Tbilisi to the
country's second largest city, Kutaisi. The project is estimated to cost over
SEK 200 million.
Prolonged protests against the government
Several days in a row, demonstrations are ongoing in central Tbilisi against
the government. On the fifth day, two people were killed and nearly 40 injured
when police intervened with tear gas and rubber-coated bullets to disperse the
The ICJ does not take up the complaint against Russia
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague announces that it does
not address Georgia's claim against Russia for "ethnic cleansing" of Georgians
in South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2008. The Court considers that both countries
should have tried to resolve the issues on their own.