History of Georgia is the history of struggling for freedom. Nearly all the largest empires in the world attempted to possess this land. But after all, we amazingly managed to survive and preserve our independence. There were times when several huge invaders at the same time struggled for having influence over Georgia. The reason of all these wars was strategic location of Georgia between Europe and Asia on the major trade artery - Silk Road. Dmanisi Hominid Dmanisi archaeological excavations prove the fact of ancient humans (hominids) living on the territory of Georgia. Human skull recently discovered here is 1.8 million years old and the most ancient on the territory of Europe. It means that Georgia is the homeland of the first European. Greek era The first signs of the state of Georgia emerged in II BC at the Black Sea coast. Wealthy Kingdom of Kolkheti ruled by legendary king Aieti was situated here. Heroes of the famous Greek myth "Argonauts" visited Georgia in this very period to grab the Golden Fleece. This story is connected to the method of gold mining in Georgia. In Mountain Rivers Georgians used sheep fleece to clean water from sludge and obtain gold. The Romans After the Romans pushed into Persia, they set their eyes on Georgia sending their famed general Pompey in 66 BC to conquer the country. Remains of the stone bridge built by Pompey still exist in Georgia. Soon all of Caucasia fell under Roman rule, but it did not last long, and by the I century BC Georgia was considered as an ally not a subject state. The Adoption of Christianity Georgia was the second country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion. Saint Nino of Cappadocia introduced Christianity to the Georgian people in 337 AD. Georgias early adoption of Christianity had huge implications on how the future would have developed for Georgians, as it permanently oriented the country to the West, to Rome, and later to Europe as a whole. Arab Domination In 645 Arab armies swept northwards through Iran and captured Tbilisi forcing country to pay tribute. By the X century Arab rule in Western Georgia had weakened and the Byzantine Empire was rapidly expanding. Byzantine Emperor Basil II was able to retake most of Georgia and unite east and west as one nation. David the Builder Despite its turbulent history Georgia managed to become the strong kingdom by the XII century. This period is linked to the name of David the Builder (1089-1125), legendary king who initiated the countrys Golden Age. After implementation of political, economic and educational reforms, in 1096 he was able to stop paying tribute to the Turks and defeated them completely in August 12, 1121 with the 50 000 army against 300 000. Human treatment of Muslims during this period set a standard for tolerance that was unique in those times and was a hallmark of his enlightened rule. King Tamar Georgia reached its zenith during the rule of Queen Tamar (she was referred as King because of her incredible power). She was the grand-daughter of David the Builder, and during her reign Georgians enjoyed a cultural renaissance, evidenced by building churches and monasteries as well as developing art of frescos and ornamental design. In this period also arose literary tradition. Genius Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli dedicated his epic poem The Knight in the Panther Skin to the Queen Tamar. Mongols Georgia was the first European country to be conquered by Mongols. Under the leadership of great warlord Tamerlane, Mongol army invaded Georgia eight times during 1386-1403 years. Mongol invasion seriously damaged the Georgian state and the further development of the nation. Persian and Ottoman Invasions In XVI century Georgia found itself trapped between two expanding empires, the Ottoman Turks from the West and the Persians from the East. Both of them struggled to invade Georgia. The fall of Constantinople and the corresponding change in trade routes greatly weakened Georgia and endangered its future. The Shah of Persia invaded Georgia four times, conquered Tbilisi and captured numerous people. Eventually the kingdom was divided into two spheres of influence of both empires. The Russian Empire It took Georgia a lot of time to recover and only in the XVIII century country was able to become independent again. Though shortly afterwards due to the new threat coming from Iran and Ottoman empires in 1783 Georgia had to sign a treaty with Russia making Georgia a protectorate of the Russian Empire. Existence as a part of Russia ended up in a declaration of independency of Georgia in 1918. Georgia existed for 3 years as an independent state before in 1921 it was annexed by the Red Army of the Soviet Union. Despite numerous historical obstacles and wars, exhausted country managed to survive and in May 26th, 1991 eventually gained its independence. This day is the major national holiday of the country. This small country managed to stand through all the difficulties that befell on it for thousands of years. Unanimity, faith and struggle brought results and today Georgia is an independent sovereign state. We are proud of our history, of every day, spent on this blessed land since we are one of the most ancient nations the nation who loved, loves and will always love freedom!
Georgia History Photos