Georgia is a country in eastern Europe and southwestern Asia. Locally, it is referred to as Sak'art'velo. The country covers an area of 69,700 square kilometers (26,900 sq mi) and has a population of 4,935,518 people, per The World Factbook 2022 estimate. Tbilisi is its capital, with over a million residents. The currency is the lari, and the primary language is Georgian.
Russia currently occupies about 18 percent of Georgia. Popular and government support for integration with the West is high in Georgia. Joining the EU and NATO are among the country's top foreign policy goals.
The government of Georgia is a semi-presidential republic with a unicameral parliament. The president is Salome Zourabichvili, and the prime minister is Irakli Garibashvili. The 2017 constitutional amendments made the 2018 election the last where the president was directly elected. Future presidents will be elected by a 300-member College of Electors.
The country's industries also include manganese, copper, gold, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, metals, machinery, and chemicals in small-scale industries. The country imports nearly all of its needed supplies of natural gas and oil products. It has a sizeable hydropower capacity that now provides most of its electricity needs.
Georgia is located in southwestern Asia in an area called Transcaucasia, or Russian Zakavkazye, which is a small but densely populated region to the south of the Caucasus Mountains. Georgia is bound on the north and northeast by Russia, on the east and southeast by Azerbaijan, on the south by Armenia and Turkey, and on the west by the Black Sea, with 310 km of coastline, and has a sliver of land north of the Caucasus extending into Europe. Georgia controls much of the Caucasus Mountains and the routes through them. Georgia views itself as part of Europe; however, geopolitically, it can be classified as falling within Europe, the Middle East, or both.
Russia occupies approximately 12,560 sq km, or about 18 percent, of Georgia's land. The occupied territories include all of Abkhazia and the breakaway region of South Ossetia, which consists of the northern part of Shida Kartli, eastern slivers of the Imereti region and Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, and part of western Mtskheta-Mtianeti.
The region of present-day Georgia contained the ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Kartli-Iberia. The area came under Roman influence in the first centuries A.D., and Christianity became the state religion in the 330s. Domination by Persians, Arabs, and Turks was followed by a Georgian golden age (eleventh through thirteenth centuries) that was cut short by the Mongol invasion of 1236. For many years after the invasion, the Ottoman and Persian empires competed for influence in the region.
After a long period of Turkish and Persian domination, Georgia was annexed by the Russian Empire in the nineteenth century. Georgia became independent for three years, from 1918 to 1921, following the Russian Revolution but was forcibly incorporated into the USSR in 1921. In 1936, Georgia became a constituent (union) republic until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Georgia declared sovereignty on November 19, 1989, and independence on April 9, 1991, regaining its independence when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991.
In November 2003, the country had the non-violent Rose Revolution, consisting of twenty days of protests following disputed parliamentary elections where the protestors stormed the parliament with red roses in their hands. The protests led to new elections and the end of soviet-era leadership. In 2004, Mikheil Saakashvili became president after the new elections. In 2008, ongoing Russian support of separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia led to a five-day conflict in August between Russia and Georgia. Russia invaded those regions of Georgia and subsequentially recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russian military forces remain in those regions.
In October 2012, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili became prime minister, and his Georgian Dream coalition won the majority of parliament seats. In November 2013, Giorgi Margvelashvili became president, pushing Saakashvili out of both the presidency and the country. In October 2021, Saakashvili returned to Georgia, where he was immediately arrested on outstanding abuse of office convictions and was sentenced to serve six years in prison.
Embassy of Georgia | Embassy of Georgia to the United States of America
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