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maanantai 18. tammikuuta 2016

Georgia, Cool Facts #92

<= 91. Azerbaijan                                                                                                         93. Moldova =>

1. Georgia Name

The name Georgia transformed from Persian words Gurgan or Gorgan "the place of the wolves" after the Crusaders rendered it as Georgia because of Saint George, the national saint of the Georgians. 

The Georgian flag has the ancient St. George's Cross like the English flag. The western countries call the country Georgia because it has had 13 kings, with the name George. 

In Russia the country is called Gruusia and the Georgians themselves call their country Sakartvelo, which comes from the historical area of Kartli, where the Georgian Kingdom was situated during the Golden Age.

The name Kartli was then originally from the Georgian mythical ancestor, king Kartlos.

St. George statue in Tbilisi
2. Bagrationi Dynasty 

In the year 813 king Ashot I became the king in Iberia in East Georgia, which meant the beginning of the nearly 1000-year Bagrationi family Dynasty in Georgia.

In 1027 king Bagrat III united the principalities in a single unified state and started the Georgian Golden Age, which culminated in the 1200s during the female King Tamara's reign.

In about 1490 the Bagrationi Dynasty divided the lands into three parts, Imeret, Kartli and Kakhet, which were all ruled by rivaling Bagrationi family branches.

In 1762 Kartli and Kakheti united again creating the Kingdom of Georgia.

After a few bad decision with Russia, Georgia was annexed to Russia finally in 1801 and it meant the end of the 1000-year Bagrationi rule in Georgia as the Tsar of Russia became the ruler of Georgia. There were uprisings in 1812, 1820 and 1832 to bring back the Bagrationi Dynasty, but they failed.

Bagrationi Dynasty coat of arms

3. Abkhazia and South Ossetia

Georgia suffers from internal disputes as Abkhazia and South Ossetia both have declared independence in the 1990s and are supported by Russia. The countries are de facto independent, but their independence has been recognized only by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru and Vanuatu. 

Abkhazia was founded in the 800s rebelling against the Byzantine rule. The Muslim majority region was a separate Soviet state until 1931 after which it became an autonomous part of Georgia. 

After the fall of the Soviet Union the war in Abkhazia started in 1992 and ended in 1993 in a Georgian military defeat. In 2008 the two sides fought again during the Ossetian War. The independent Abkhazia was also recognized by Russia that same year. 

The South Ossetian conflict escalated in 1991-1992 leading to the Ossetian War and again in 2004 and 2008, when Ossetian and Russian forces gained full control of the territory. All the 25.000 Georgians in South Ossetia had to leave their homes as the Russians troops attacked. 

The both disputes are still open without final resolutions. 

4. Flag of Georgia 

From the independence in 1991 until 2004 Georgia had the flag, that they had adopted during their first independence between 1918-1921.

That flag was designed by the artist Jakob Nikoladze, when Georgia became independent in 1918.

Shortly after the Rose Revolution in 2003 Georgia decided to change their flag in 2004 to the ancient flag of Queen Tamar from the 1200s Georgian Kingdom.

Flag in 1008-1490

Flag in 1918-1921 and 1991-2004
Flag since 2004

5. Krubera Cave

The Krubera Cave, also known as Voronja Cave, is the deepest known cave in Earth. It's in the Gagra district in Abkhazia. The Krubera is currently the only known cave, which is deeper than 2000 meters. The depth of the cave is 2197 meters. The current depth record was made in 2012 by an Ukrainian cave diver Gennadiy Samokhin. 

Krubera Cave


300s BC The Georgians establish a unified kingdom
300 Georgia adopts Christianity and the Georgian alphabets are created
443 Last king of Iberia, Vakhtang I "Gorgasali", established the current capital Tbilisi
502 Persian conquistadors occupy East Georgia
645 Arabs conquer East Georgia establishing the Emirate of Tbilisi
800s The Kingdom of Abkhazia is established
813 Ashot I becomes the king in Iberia in East Georgia starting the Bagrationi Dynasty, which ruled parts of Georgia the following 1000 years
1027 King Bagrat III unified the small principalities into one state, creating the Georgian Golden Age
1220 The Georgian Golden Age ends in the Mongol conquests
1386 Timur Lenk's Tatars end to Georgia causing a lot of destruction
1466 The Bagrationi Dynasty split into three branches, which ruled three principalities fighting against each other, Imeret, Kartli and Kakheti
1762 Kartli and Kakheti unite forming the Kingdom of Georgia again
1801 Russia annexes Georgia ending the thousand year Bagrationi rule
1810 Imeret and Abkhazia become under Russian rule
1812,1820 and 1832 uprising didn't succeed bringing the Bagrationi Dynasty back into power
1918 Declaration of independence and the Georgian-Armenian War
1921 Soviet Union annexes Georgia after three years of independence
1924 August Uprising against Soviet Russia and the foundation of the Transcaucasian SFSR
1936 The Transcaucasian SFSR is split into the Armenian, Azeri and Georgian Soviet states
1956 and 1978 Biggest demonstrations in Tbilisi against the Soviet system
1989 Mass demonstrations, which were suppressed violently
1991 In the referendum about the independence 98% voted for the independence, Zviad Gamsahurdia became the first president
1992 Eduard Shevardnadze overthrows Gamsahurdia as the president
1993 Civil War starts in Georgia
2003 Shevardnadze resigns after the Rose Revolution and Mihail Saakashvili becomes the president
2008 Tensions between Georgia and Russia escalate in South Ossetia in Georgia


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