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Georgia is one of several countries on the Black Sea. It is bordered by the sea to the west, as well as by the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Turkey. Its capital city is Tbilisi. Georgia Is in the South Caucasus region, where Europe and Asia meet. Georgia is sometimes considered to be part of Europe. It has joined the Council of Europe, and has requested membership in NATO and the European Union. Georgia contains two independent regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which Georgia considers to be Georgian territories under Russian occupation.

Most of Georgia is within the Caucasus Mountains, it northern boundary being the Greater Caucasus Range, while the Lesser Caucasus Range creates a geographical barrier that is responsible for cultural differences between various regions of Georgia. Some of the mountain villages of Georgia are isolated during the winter, and landslides and earthquakes sometimes change the landscape in its mountainous regions. There are about 25,000 rivers in Georgia, many of them powering hydroelectric plants. Its largest rivers are the Kura River and the Rioni River. The country's coastline, along the Black Sea, is just short of two hundred miles.

Ethnic Georgians comprise nearly 90% of the population of Georgia. It is believed that Georgians are a mixture of aboriginal inhabitants with people who moved into the region in ancient times. The Georgian language is not related to any of the surrounding languages. The remainder of the ethnic groups in Georgia are made up of people from surrounding countries, for the most part.

More than 80% of the population adheres to Eastern Orthodoxy, largely the Georgian Orthodox Church, which is an ancient Christian Church, established in the 4th Century AD. Minority religions in Georgia include Islam, the Armenian Orthodox Church, and Roman Catholicism. Although there have been incidents of violence against Jehovah's Witnesses and other minority Christian groups, the government and people of Georgia are generally tolerant of differing religions.

The government of Georgia is a representative democracy, and a semi-presidential republic. The President is the head of state, while the Prime Minister is the head of the government. The executive branch of government is comprised of the President and the Cabinet of Georgia, with the Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister, and appointed by the President. The legislative branch is made up of the Parliament of Georgia, half of which are elected to represent single-member districts, the other half representing political parties.

The area of Georgia was inhabited since ancient times. Wine jars have been discovered in Georgia that dated to 8,000 years ago, and evidence of advanced metallurgy and gold-smithing date. Back to the 7th Century BC or earlier. Early Georgian kingdoms included Colchis and Iberia, and a unified kingdom of Georgia was established by the 4th Century BC. Georgia became the the second kingdom to adopt Christianity when its king and queen were converted in the early 4th Century AD. In the 5th Century, western Georgia became part of the Byzantine Empire, and the remainder came under the control of the Persians. In 654, the Persians were displaced by the Arabs.

Resistance to Arab control came from regional Christian powers in southwestern Georgia and northeastern Turkey. By the 11th Century, most of Georgia was once again a center of Christian culture. This ended with a Mongol invasion in the 1220s. A brief reprieve was followed by the Black Death, and then a succession of attacks from Central Asia. Georgia split into four kingdoms, parts of which were made part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, while other parts were again subject to the Persians. A new Persian conqueror installed kings who ruled two parts of Georgia as semi-autonomous states.

Beginning in the late 1700s, Russian became an influence in the region, annexing the Georgian kingdoms during the 1800s. Georgia enjoyed a brief period of independence following the Russian Revolution of 1917, but it was invaded by the Russians and made part of the USSR in 1922. Joseph Stalin, who ruled the USSR from the 1920s until his in 1953, was from Georgia, but his rule was characterized by oppression. The 1960s and 1970s were a time of stability and peace, although Georgia remained part of the Soviet Union through this period. Then, in the early 1990s, the Soviet Union disintegrated.

Georgia declared its independence in April of 1991, after which a period of civil war began. A military council took over the government, but internal conflicts increased. During this period, Abkhazia and South Ossetia separated from Georgia, after which its ethnic Georgian population were expelled, and they became Russian satellites by 2011.

Today, Georgia is administered by an elected president and parliament. In some ways, its political system is in transition.

 

 

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