Area: 69,700 km² (World Rank 118)
Inhabitants: 4.63 Mio. (World Rank 115)
Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia
Georgia (Georgian: საქართველო, transliterated as Sakartvelo) is a Eurasian country, chiefly located in the South Caucasus, at the juncture of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Georgia borders four countries: Turkey to the southwest, Russia to the north, Armenia to the south, and Azerbaijan to the east. In addition, there is a western coastline on the Black Sea. Georgia’s population is over 4.3 million, nearly 84% of which are ethnic Georgians (2002).
Ancient Georgia was the site of the kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia. The latter, one of the first countries in the world to adopt Christianity as an official religion early in the 4th century, subsequently provided a nucleus around which the medieval Kingdom of Georgia was formed in the 11th century. After a period of political, economic and cultural flourishing, this kingdom went in decline in the 13th century and eventually fragmentized into several kingdoms and principalities in the 16th century. The three subsequent centuries of Ottoman and Persian hegemony over these entities were followed by a piecemeal absorption into the Russian Empire in the course of the 19th century. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia had a brief period of independence as a Democratic Republic (1918-1921), which was terminated by the Red Army invasion of Georgia. Georgia became part of the Soviet Union in 1922 and regained its independence in 1991. Early post-Soviet years was marked by a civil unrest and economic crisis. Georgia began to gradually stabilize in 1995, and achieved more effective functioning of state institutions following a bloodless change of power in the so-called Rose Revolution of 2003. However, Georgia continues to suffer from the unresolved secessionist conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The relations with Russia remain tense over these issues as well as Georgia’s aspiration of NATO membership.
Georgia is a representative democracy, organized as a secular, unitary, semi-presidential republic. It is currently a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the World Trade Organization, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, and GUAM. The country seeks to join NATO and, in the longer term, accession to the European Union.