Georgia Early History

By | May 3, 2021

Georgia is rich in myths, legends and legends that are closely interwoven with the religious and cultural history of the entire region or even give an insight into the traditions of mountain and valley communities. Anyone who would like to get involved in this is well advised with the work of the Caucasologist Heinz Fähnrich; reference is also made to the AIZ library on the history of Georgia.

A frequently told and often embellished story about the origin of “Georgia” reads: “God created the earth and distributed the land to the people. Only the Georgians came too late. So God was angry, because all land was already distributed. But then he learned to know the happiness and hospitality of these people who had sent their messengers to him and God gave the Georgians the piece of land that he had reserved for himself. ”


According to aristmarketing, Georgia’s history is as diverse as the landscape and its people, despite the small size of today’s territory. Georgia has always been a transit area as well as a retreat for peoples, cultures and religions. For thousands of years, external powers had a decisive influence on an area that was on the “periphery” of their empire. In the past it was Romans and Persians, later Byzantines, Arabs, Seljuks, Ottomans, Safavids and, since the 19th century, Russia, today Europe, the USA and the Muslim world are influencing the country’s development.

Local rulers only gained strength in times of weak external influences. In the 13th century BC The kingdom of Diaochi arose from a union of different Cartwian tribes in the 6th century BC. The state of Colchis was formed in the west of today’s Georgia, in the 4th century BC. The country Iberia arose in the mountainous east in the 3rd century BC, the countries were closely connected to Parthia, Greece and the Achaemenids of Persia. 66 BC After defeating Pontus, the Roman general Pompey conquered Iberia and Colchis. They became Roman vassals. Colchis disintegrated in the 1st century. The successor state Lasika was formed. Between 189 and 284 Iberia was ruled by a sideline of the Parthian Arsacids. In 337, Georgia became one of the first countries in the world to convert to Christianity. King Mirian III from Iberia from the Chosroids dynasty introduced Christianity as the official state religion. In 395 the southwestern Colchis became part of the Eastern Roman Empire; from 591 the Eastern Roman creed was in force. Iberia became a Persian vassal state in the 3rd century and was to switch sides several times. After the Roman-Persian Wars, Iberia oriented itself towards Byzantium in terms of foreign policy.

Georgia Golden mug

Middle age

The Arabs came from 642 onwards, but attempts to Islamize were largely unsuccessful. Lasika and Iberia split up into smaller principalities, including Kartli, Kakheti, Heretia, Tao-Klardscheti, Abkhazia and Egrisi, which were controlled by an emir in Tbilisi from 755. With the collapse of the caliphate and the advance of the crusaders into the Middle East at the beginning of the 11th century, King Bagrat III succeeded. (963-1014) to unite the east and west Georgian kingdoms as well as the Abkhazian and Georgian line of the Bagratids into one Georgian kingdom. His grandson Bagrat IV ascended the throne in Tbilisi in 1039 and descendants ruled parts of Georgia until 1801. By the 13th century, despite various raids, Georgia was in bloom (“Golden Age “) at. 1089 became King David” the Builder ” (1089 to 1125) the rule, he pushed the Seljuks (Battle of Didgori) conquered Tbilisi back as its capital, reformed the united kingdom and let including the Academy of Gelati built.

Under the reign of Queen Tamara (1184-1213), state proclamations were made after consultation with the Darbasi aristocratic parliament. At the local level, it created courts whose decisions could be appealed to a Supreme Court. Economy, art and culture flourished under her reign. Tamara’s reign is also known as the “Georgian Renaissance”. Shota Rustaveli (c. 1172, Rustavi – c. 1216, Jerusalem) set her a literary monument with his work “The Recke in the Tiger Skin”. With her death, however, the “Golden Age” ended. Mongols, Ottomans and Persians should show their interest in the region very emphatically over the next few centuries. In 1243 Queen Rusudan was forced to officially recognize Mongolian sovereignty. After the death of Alexander I (1442), the last king of a united Georgia, the house of the Bagratids was divided into three lines: One ruled from Tbilisi over Kartli, the second ruled western Imereti, the third sat in eastern Georgian Kakheti. The rest of the country came under the control of partly self-appointed, partly long-established princes or princes. The largest principalities were Abkhazia, Guria, Mingrelia, Samtskhe and Svaneti. When Constantinople fell in 1453, contact with the Christian states of Europe was broken off. At the same time, a new line of conflict between the Ottoman Empire and the Safavids of Iran began to emerge in Asia Minor.

Tsarist rule

Georgia’s princes sought an ally against the foreign rulers in Russia. In the Treaty of Georgievsk of 1783, the eastern Georgian royal house of Kartli Kakheti came under Russian “patronage”which led to annexation in 1801. The regions in the west of the country remained independent of the state for a decade. It was not until 1810 that Russia conquered the Georgian Kingdom of Imereti. It took Russia another 54 years to gain complete control of western Georgia. The Guria region was abolished in 1828, Mingrelia in 1857. The Svaneti region was annexed between 1857 and 1859, the Principality of Abkhazia in 1864. Mass emigration of Muslim ethnic groups and the settlement of Christian settlers (Greeks, Germans, Armenians, Russians) were the result.

In 1832 an uprising of the nobility failed. With the introduction of the Caucasian governorship, Tbilisi rose to “Paris of the East” under Prince MS Voronzov (in office from 1844-1855). The first theater in 1845, the first public library and countless educational institutions and learned societies go back to him. The first magazine in Georgian Ziskari, the Ethnographic Museum and a branch of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society were also created during his time. Despite the selective integration of local elites and a partial modernization policy, the Georgians grew dissatisfied with an education movement in the second half of the 19th century which led to an early national political movement and was mainly supported by young nobles and intelligentsia. Ilija Tschawtschawadze and Akaki Tsereteli are the leading figures in this process. In 1905 a large-scale peasant uprising broke out. The Menshevik Social Democratic Labor Party became the leading political force. On May 26, 1918, the independence of the Democratic Republic of Georgia was proclaimed, but this only lasted until spring 1921. A documentation with historical images and articles on the development of the First Republic will be published on the website on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the First Republic. The first national anthem sounds on youtube and documentary records with historical film recordings are compiled on a special page ” Georgia’s 1028 Days of Independence “.