Georgians

Georgians

Overview
The Georgians are an ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

 that have originated in Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, where they constitute a majority of the population. Large Georgian communities are also present throughout Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

.

The majority of Georgians are Eastern Orthodox Christian
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and largely adhere to the national autocephalous
Autocephaly
Autocephaly , in hierarchical Christian churches and especially Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, is the status of a hierarchical church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop...

 Georgian Orthodox Church, which originated in the 4th century. There are also Georgian Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 communities in Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

 and Adjara
Adjara
Adjara , officially the Autonomous Republic of Adjara , is an autonomous republic of Georgia.Adjara is located in the southwestern corner of Georgia, bordered by Turkey to the south and the eastern end of the Black Sea...

.

The Georgian people went through a complex process of nation-formation and currently comprise a diverse set of geographic subgroups, each with its characteristic traditions, manners, dialect
Georgian dialects
Georgian is a South Caucasian, or Kartvelian, language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century AD...

 and, in the case of Mingrelians
Mingrelians
The Mingrelians are a subethnic group of Georgians that mostly live in Samegrelo region of Georgia. They also live in considerable numbers in Abkhazia and Tbilisi...

 and Svans
Svans
The Svans are a group of Georgians that mostly live in Svaneti, a region of Georgia speaking the Svan language. The self designated Svan is Mushüan, known to the ancient authors as Misimian.-History:...

, language.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Georgians'
Start a new discussion about 'Georgians'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia
The Georgians are an ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

 that have originated in Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, where they constitute a majority of the population. Large Georgian communities are also present throughout Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

.

The majority of Georgians are Eastern Orthodox Christian
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and largely adhere to the national autocephalous
Autocephaly
Autocephaly , in hierarchical Christian churches and especially Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, is the status of a hierarchical church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop...

 Georgian Orthodox Church, which originated in the 4th century. There are also Georgian Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 communities in Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

 and Adjara
Adjara
Adjara , officially the Autonomous Republic of Adjara , is an autonomous republic of Georgia.Adjara is located in the southwestern corner of Georgia, bordered by Turkey to the south and the eastern end of the Black Sea...

.

The Georgian people went through a complex process of nation-formation and currently comprise a diverse set of geographic subgroups, each with its characteristic traditions, manners, dialect
Georgian dialects
Georgian is a South Caucasian, or Kartvelian, language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century AD...

 and, in the case of Mingrelians
Mingrelians
The Mingrelians are a subethnic group of Georgians that mostly live in Samegrelo region of Georgia. They also live in considerable numbers in Abkhazia and Tbilisi...

 and Svans
Svans
The Svans are a group of Georgians that mostly live in Svaneti, a region of Georgia speaking the Svan language. The self designated Svan is Mushüan, known to the ancient authors as Misimian.-History:...

, language. The Georgian language
Georgian language
Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus.Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad...

, with its own alphabet
Georgian alphabet
The Georgian alphabet is the writing system used to write the Georgian language and other Kartvelian languages , and occasionally other languages of the Caucasus such as Ossetic and Abkhaz during the 1940s...

 and long written tradition going back to the 5th century, is the language of literacy and education of all Georgians living in Georgia as well as the official language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

 of the country. Georgian, Mingrelian and Svan
Svan language
The Svan language is a Kartvelian language spoken in the Western Georgian region of Svaneti primarily by the Georgians of Svan origin...

, together with Laz
Laz language
The Laz language is a South Caucasian language spoken by the Laz people on the Southeast shore of the Black Sea...

 spoken by the related Laz people
Laz people
The Laz are an ethnic group native to the Black Sea coastal regions of Turkey and Georgia...

 form the Kartvelian language family.

Located at the edge of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, the Georgian people have fought to protect their Christian identity in the face of immense pressure from the neighboring Muslim empires. By the early 11th century they formed a unified kingdom which emerged as a dominant regional power until it was weakened by internal divisions following the death of George V the Brilliant
George V of Georgia
George V, the "Brilliant" was King of Georgia from 1299 to 1302 and again from 1314 until his death. A flexible and far-sighted politician, he recovered Georgia from a century-long Mongol domination, restoring the country’s previous strength and Christian culture.-Reign:George was born to King...

, the last of the great kings of Georgia. To ensure its survival as a Christian kingdom
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, the country was soon forced to forge an alliance with the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

, which was viewed as a replacement for the fallen Eastern Roman Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, Georgia's traditional ally. Eventually being annexed by Russia in 1801, Georgians briefly regained national independence from 1918 to 1921, and finally, in 1991 from the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

.

Etymology


Georgians call themselves Kartvelebi (ქართველები), their land Sakartvelo (საქართველო), and their language Kartuli (ქართული). According to The Georgian Chronicles
The Georgian Chronicles
The Georgian Chronicles is a conventional English name for the principal compendium of medieval Georgian historical texts Kartlis Tskhovreba , literally "life of Kartli", Kartli being a core region of ancient and medieval Georgia, known to the Classical and Byzantine authors as Iberia...

, the ancestor of the Kartvelian people was Kartlos
Kartlos
Kartlos or K'art'los was the legendary establisher and eponymous father of Georgia, and the mythic ancestor of Georgians, namely its nucleus Kartli...

, the great grandson of the Biblical Japheth
Japheth
Japheth is one of the sons of Noah in the Abrahamic tradition...

. Ancient Greeks (Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

, Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

, Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

, Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

, etc.) and Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 (Titus Livius, Cornelius Tacitus, etc.) referred to early eastern Georgians as Iberians
Caucasian Iberians
Caucasian Iberians was a Greco-Roman designation for ancient Georgians, Ibero-Caucasian people who inhabited the east and southeast of the Transcaucasus region in prehistoric and historic times...

 (Iberoi in some Greek sources) and Mingrelians-Lazes as Colchians
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

.

Origins


Most historians and scholars of Georgia as well as anthropologists, archaeologists and linguists tend to agree that the ancestors of modern Georgians inhabited the southern Caucasus and northern Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 since the Neolithic period. Scholars usually refer to them as Proto-Kartvelian (Proto-Georgians such as Colchians and Iberians) tribes. Some European historians of the 19th century (for example, Wilhelm von Humboldt
Wilhelm von Humboldt
Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand Freiherr von Humboldt was a German philosopher, government functionary, diplomat, and founder of Humboldt Universität. He is especially remembered as a linguist who made important contributions to the philosophy of language and to the theory and practice...

 and Paul Kretschmer
Paul Kretschmer
Paul Kretschmer was a German linguist who studied the earliest history and interrelations of the Indo-European languages and showed how they were influenced by non-Indo-European languages, such as Etruscan....

) as well as Georgian scholars (R. Gordeziani, S. Kaukhchishvili
Simon Kaukhchishvili
Simon Kaukhchishvili was a Georgian historian and philologist known for his critical editions of old Georgian chronicles; Doctor of Sciences , Professor , Academician of the Georgian Academy of Sciences ....

 and Z. Gamsakhurdia) came to the conclusion that Proto-Kartvelians might be related linguistically and culturally to the indigenous
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 (pre-Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

) peoples of ancient Europe including the Etruscans, Pelasgians
Pelasgians
The name Pelasgians was used by some ancient Greek writers to refer to populations that were either the ancestors of the Greeks or who preceded the Greeks in Greece, "a hold-all term for any ancient, primitive and presumably indigenous people in the Greek world." In general, "Pelasgian" has come...

 and Proto-Basques.

The Georgian people in antiquity have been known to the ancient Greeks and Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 as Colchians and Iberians
Caucasian Iberia
Iberia , also known as Iveria , was a name given by the ancient Greeks and Romans to the ancient Georgian kingdom of Kartli , corresponding roughly to the eastern and southern parts of the present day Georgia...

. East Georgian tribes of Tibarenians-Iberians formed their kingdom in 7th century BCE. However, western Georgian tribes (Moschians
Mushki
The Mushki were an Iron Age people of Anatolia, known from Assyrian sources. They do not appear in Hittite records. Several authors have connected them with the Moschoi of Greek sources and the Georgian tribe of the Meskhi. Josephus Flavius identified the Moschoi with the Biblical Meshech...

, Suanians
Svans
The Svans are a group of Georgians that mostly live in Svaneti, a region of Georgia speaking the Svan language. The self designated Svan is Mushüan, known to the ancient authors as Misimian.-History:...

, Mingrelians
Mingrelians
The Mingrelians are a subethnic group of Georgians that mostly live in Samegrelo region of Georgia. They also live in considerable numbers in Abkhazia and Tbilisi...

 and others) established the first Georgian state of Colchis
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

 before the foundation of the Iberian Kingdom
Caucasian Iberia
Iberia , also known as Iveria , was a name given by the ancient Greeks and Romans to the ancient Georgian kingdom of Kartli , corresponding roughly to the eastern and southern parts of the present day Georgia...

 in the east. According to the numerous scholars of Georgia, the formations of these two early Georgian kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia, resulted in the consolidation and uniformity of the Georgian nation.

Proto-Georgian tribes:
  • The ancient Jewish chronicle by Josephus
    Josephus
    Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

     mentions Georgians as Iberes who were also called Thobel (Tubal).

  • Daiaeni
    Diauehi
    Diauehi was an ancient people in northeastern Anatolia, mentioned in the Urartian inscriptions. It is usually identified with Daiaeni of the Yonjalu inscription of the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser I’s third year...

     in Assyria
    Assyria
    Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

    n sources and Taokhoi
    Tao-Klarjeti
    Tao-Klarjeti is the term conventionally used in modern history writing to describe the historic south-western Georgian principalities, now forming part of north-eastern Turkey and divided among the provinces of Erzurum, Artvin, Ardahan and Kars...

     in Greek, lived in the northeastern part of Anatolia
    Anatolia
    Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

    , a region that once was part of Georgia. This ancient tribe is considered by many scholars as ancestors of Georgians. The Georgians of today still refer to this region, which now belongs to present-day Turkey
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

    , as Tao-Klarjeti
    Tao-Klarjeti
    Tao-Klarjeti is the term conventionally used in modern history writing to describe the historic south-western Georgian principalities, now forming part of north-eastern Turkey and divided among the provinces of Erzurum, Artvin, Ardahan and Kars...

    . Some people there still speak Georgian.

  • Colchians in the ancient western Georgian (Mingrelian-Laz
    Laz people
    The Laz are an ethnic group native to the Black Sea coastal regions of Turkey and Georgia...

    ) Kingdom of Colchis
    Colchis
    In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

    . First mentioned in the Assyrian annals of Tiglath-Pileser I
    Tiglath-Pileser I
    Tiglath-Pileser I was a king of Assyria during the Middle Assyrian period . According to Georges Roux, Tiglath-Pileser was "one of the two or three great Assyrian monarchs since the days of Shamshi-Adad I"...

     and in the annals of Urartian
    Urartu
    Urartu , corresponding to Ararat or Kingdom of Van was an Iron Age kingdom centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highland....

     king Sarduri II. Also included western proto-Georgian tribe of the Meskhetians
    Meskhetians
    Meskhetian Turks, also known as Ahıska Turks are the former Turkish inhabitants of Meskheti , along the border with Turkey. They were deported to Central Asia during November 15–25, 1944 by Joseph Stalin and settled within Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Of the 120,000 forcibly deported...

    . However, in the case of many tribes, this is often disputed among scholars, as many claim that many Colchian tribes were ancestors of the modern Abkhaz and Abaza, especially the Abasgoi, and assert that Colchis was an ethnically heterogeneous nation.

  • Iberians
    Caucasian Iberians
    Caucasian Iberians was a Greco-Roman designation for ancient Georgians, Ibero-Caucasian people who inhabited the east and southeast of the Transcaucasus region in prehistoric and historic times...

     also known as Tiberians or Tiberanians, in the eastern Georgian Kingdom of Iberia
    Caucasian Iberia
    Iberia , also known as Iveria , was a name given by the ancient Greeks and Romans to the ancient Georgian kingdom of Kartli , corresponding roughly to the eastern and southern parts of the present day Georgia...

    .


Both Colchians and Iberians
Caucasian Iberians
Caucasian Iberians was a Greco-Roman designation for ancient Georgians, Ibero-Caucasian people who inhabited the east and southeast of the Transcaucasus region in prehistoric and historic times...

 played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the modern Georgian nation.

According to the scholar of the Caucasian studies Cyril Toumanoff
Cyril Toumanoff
Cyril Leo Heraclius, Prince Toumanoff was an United States-based historian and genealogist who mostly specialized in the history and genealogies of medieval Georgia, Armenia, the Byzantine Empire, and Iran...

:

Appearance



Georgians are classified as Caucasoids (Europoid or Europid), and are often slender with brown hair and brown eyes. Georgians who have historically lived in alpine areas of less sunny western Georgia — especially Mingrelians
Mingrelians
The Mingrelians are a subethnic group of Georgians that mostly live in Samegrelo region of Georgia. They also live in considerable numbers in Abkhazia and Tbilisi...

 and Svans
Svans
The Svans are a group of Georgians that mostly live in Svaneti, a region of Georgia speaking the Svan language. The self designated Svan is Mushüan, known to the ancient authors as Misimian.-History:...

- tend to have lighter features, with higher frequency of blond hair and light blue or green eyes.

Studies of human genetics suggest that Georgian Y-DNA typically belongs to Haplogroup J2
Haplogroup J2 (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup J2 is a Y-chromosome haplogroup which is a subdivision of haplogroup J. It is further divided into two complementary clades, J2a-M410 and J2b-M12.-Origins:...

, also found in Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, as well as Haplogroup G
Haplogroup G (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup G is a Y-chromosome haplogroup. It is a branch of Haplogroup F . Haplogroup G has an overall low frequency in most populations but is widely distributed within many ethnic groups of the Old World in Europe, northern and western Asia, northern Africa, the Middle East,...

.

Ancient Georgia


A second Georgian tribal union emerged in the 13th century BC on the Black Sea coast, creating the Kingdom of Colchis
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

 in the western Georgia.
The ancient Greeks
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 knew western Georgia as Colchis, and it featured in the Greek legend of Jason
Jason
Jason was a late ancient Greek mythological hero from the late 10th Century BC, famous as the leader of the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. He was the son of Aeson, the rightful king of Iolcus...

 and the Argonauts
Argonauts
The Argonauts ) were a band of heroes in Greek mythology who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. Their name comes from their ship, the Argo, which was named after its builder, Argus. "Argonauts", therefore, literally means...

, who travelled there in search of the Golden Fleece
Golden Fleece
In Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece is the fleece of the gold-haired winged ram, which can be procured in Colchis. It figures in the tale of Jason and his band of Argonauts, who set out on a quest by order of King Pelias for the fleece in order to place Jason rightfully on the throne of Iolcus...

. Since 2000 BC, north-western Colchis was inhabited by the Svan and Zan peoples of the Georgian tribes. In the eastern part of Georgia, there was a struggle for the leadership among the various Georgian confederations during the 6th to 4th centuries BC, which was finally won by the Kartlian tribes from the region of Mtskheta
Mtskheta
Mtskheta , one of the oldest cities of the country of Georgia , is located approximately 20 kilometers north of Tbilisi at the confluence of the Aragvi and Kura rivers. The city is now the administrative centre of the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region...

 in Iberia. According to The Georgian Chronicles
The Georgian Chronicles
The Georgian Chronicles is a conventional English name for the principal compendium of medieval Georgian historical texts Kartlis Tskhovreba , literally "life of Kartli", Kartli being a core region of ancient and medieval Georgia, known to the Classical and Byzantine authors as Iberia...

, the Kingdom of Kartli
Kartli
Kartli is a historical region in central-to-eastern Georgia traversed by the river Mtkvari , on which Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, is situated. Known to the Classical authors as Iberia, Kartli played a crucial role in ethnic and political consolidation of the Georgians in the Middle Ages...

 (known as Iberia
Caucasian Iberia
Iberia , also known as Iveria , was a name given by the ancient Greeks and Romans to the ancient Georgian kingdom of Kartli , corresponding roughly to the eastern and southern parts of the present day Georgia...

 in the Greek-Roman literature) was founded around 300 BC by Parnavaz I
Pharnavaz I of Iberia
Pharnavaz I was the first king of Kartli, an ancient Georgian kingdom known as Iberia to the Classical sources, who is credited by the medieval Georgian written tradition with founding the kingship of Kartli and the Parnavaziani dynasty...

, the first ruler of the Parnavazid dynasty
Pharnabazid Dynasty
The Pharnabazid or P’arnavaziani is the name of the first dynasty of Georgian kings of Kartli preserved by the Georgian historical tradition. Their rule lasted, with intermissions, from the 3rd century BC to the 2nd century AD. The main male line is reported to have become extinct early on and...

. Parnavaz I would select Mtskheta
Mtskheta
Mtskheta , one of the oldest cities of the country of Georgia , is located approximately 20 kilometers north of Tbilisi at the confluence of the Aragvi and Kura rivers. The city is now the administrative centre of the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region...

 as the capital and would utilize Persian institutions as a model of functioning. Between 653 and 333 BC, both Colchis and Iberia were intertwined with the Iranian empires such as the Median Empire and later on the Persian Empire. At the end of the 3rd century BC, southern Iberia was annexed by Alexander the Great as part of the Greco-Macedonian empire to the south of the Caucasus.

Between the early 2nd century BC and the late 2nd century AD, both Colchis and Iberia, together with the neighbouring countries, became an arena of long and devastating conflicts between major local powers Rome, Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, and the short-lived Kingdom of Pontus
Pontus
Pontus or Pontos is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region in antiquity by the Greeks who colonized the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος...

. As a result of the brilliant Roman campaigns of Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

 and Lucullus
Lucullus
Lucius Licinius Lucullus , was an optimate politician of the late Roman Republic, closely connected with Sulla Felix...

, the Georgian kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia came under direct Roman rule. However, during the reign of the Emperor Trajan
Trajan
Trajan , was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD. Born into a non-patrician family in the province of Hispania Baetica, in Spain Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in Spain, in 89 Trajan supported the emperor against...

, Caucasian Iberia became a long lasting ally of the Roman Empire. The former Kingdom of Colchis was re-organized by the Romans into the province of Lazicum
Egrisi
Lazica or Egrisi in Georgian |Georgia]], named after the Laz tribe, which at some time dominated the local ruling élite.The kingdom flourished between the 6th century BC and the 7th century AD. It covered part of the territory of the former kingdom Colchis and subjugated the territory of modern...

 ruled by Roman legati.

Eastern Georgian Kingdom of Iberia became one of the first states in the world to convert to Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 in 327 AD, when King of Iberia Mirian II established it as the official state religion. In the middle of the 4th century, both Lazica
Egrisi
Lazica or Egrisi in Georgian |Georgia]], named after the Laz tribe, which at some time dominated the local ruling élite.The kingdom flourished between the 6th century BC and the 7th century AD. It covered part of the territory of the former kingdom Colchis and subjugated the territory of modern...

 (former Kingdom of Colchis), and Iberia, adopted Christianity as their official religion. At the end of the 5th century, Prince Vakhtang I Gorgasali
Vakhtang I Gorgasali
Vakhtang I "Gorgasali" , of the Chosroid dynasty, was a king of Iberia, natively known as Kartli in the second half of the 5th and first quarter of the 6th century. Gorgasali is a sobriquet meaning in Iranian "wolf’s head"...

 orchestrated an anti-Persian uprising and restored Iberian statehood proclaiming himself the King. The armies of Vakhtang launched several campaigns against both Persia and the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

.

Medieval Georgia



The first decades of the 9th century saw the rise of a new Georgian state. Ashot Courapalate
Ashot I Kuropalates
Ashot I the Great was a presiding prince of Iberia , first of the Bagratid family to have attained to this office c. 813. From his base in Tao-Klarjeti, he fought to enlarge the Bagratid territories and sought the Byzantine protectorate against the Arab encroachment until being murdered c. 830...

, of the royal family of Bagrationi
Bagrationi Dynasty
The Bagrationi dynasty was the ruling family of Georgia. Their ascendency lasted from the early Middle Ages until the early 19th century. In modern usage, this royal line is frequently referred to as the Georgian Bagratids, a Hellenized form of their dynastic name.The origin of the Bagrationi...

, restored the Christian rule over the territories formerly captured by Arabs during their conquest of southernmost extremities of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. This set the stage for the formation of the first united Georgian monarchy at the end of the 10th century when Curopalate David
David III of Tao
David III Kuropalates or David III the Great , also known as David II, was a Georgian prince of the Bagratid family of Tao/Tayk, a historic region in the Georgian–Armenian marchlands, from 966 until his murder in 1000...

 invaded the Eastern Georgia. Three years later, after the death of his uncle Theodosius the Blind
Theodosius III of Abkhazia
Theodosius III the Blind , was King of the Abkhazians from circa 975 to 978.He was a son of George II of Abkhazia, who sent Theodosius to be brought up at Constantinople. After his reigning brother Leon III died in 967, a rebel party of Meskhetian, Egrisian and Kartlian nobles put him as a rival...

, King of Egrisi
Egrisi
Lazica or Egrisi in Georgian |Georgia]], named after the Laz tribe, which at some time dominated the local ruling élite.The kingdom flourished between the 6th century BC and the 7th century AD. It covered part of the territory of the former kingdom Colchis and subjugated the territory of modern...

-Abkhazia, David's heir Bagrat III
Bagrat III of Georgia
Bagrat III , of the Georgian Bagrationi dynasty, was King of the Abkhazians from 978 on and King of Georgia from 1008 on. He united these two titles by dynastic inheritance and, through conquest and diplomacy, added some more lands to his realm, effectively becoming the first king of what is...

 inherited the Abkhazian throne. In 1051, Bagrat also incorporated Tao-Klarjeti
Tao-Klarjeti
Tao-Klarjeti is the term conventionally used in modern history writing to describe the historic south-western Georgian principalities, now forming part of north-eastern Turkey and divided among the provinces of Erzurum, Artvin, Ardahan and Kars...

 (Curopalatinate of Iberia) into his domain as a result of David's death. In 1058-1010, Bagrat
Bagrat III of Georgia
Bagrat III , of the Georgian Bagrationi dynasty, was King of the Abkhazians from 978 on and King of Georgia from 1008 on. He united these two titles by dynastic inheritance and, through conquest and diplomacy, added some more lands to his realm, effectively becoming the first king of what is...

 annexed the easternmost parts of the present-day Georgia, thus becoming the first King of the united Georgia both eastern and western.

After the Islamic conquest of Persia by the Arabs, Georgia was in contact with newly emerging Muslim powers. One such power was the Turco-Persian Seljuq empire. The conflict against the Seljuq dynasty
Seljuq dynasty
The Seljuq ; were a Turco-Persian Sunni Muslim dynasty that ruled parts of Central Asia and the Middle East from the 11th to 14th centuries...

 in Georgia was led by king David IV of Georgia
David IV of Georgia
David IV "the Builder", also known as David II , of the Bagrationi dynasty, was a king of Georgia from 1089 until his death in 1125....

 of the Bagrationi royal family who inherited the throne in 1089 at the age of 16 after the abdication of his father George II of Georgia
George II of Georgia
George II , of the Bagrationi Dynasty, was a king of Georgia from 1072 to 1089. He was a son and successor of Bagrat IV and his wife Borena of Alania...

. In 1121, Seljuk Sultan Mahmud declared Jihad
Jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

 on Georgia and sent a strong army under one of his famous generals Ilghazi
Ilghazi
Najm ad-Din Ilghazi ibn Artuq was the Turkish Artukid ruler of Mardin from 1107 to 1122.- Biography :His father Artuk was the founder of the Artukid dynasty, and had been appointed governor of Jerusalem by the Seljuq emir Tutush. When Artuk died, Ilghazi and his brother Sökmen succeeded him as...

 to fight the Georgians. Although significantly outnumbered by their Turkish counterparts, Georgians managed to defeat them in the Battle of Didgori
Battle of Didgori
The Battle of Didgori was fought between the armies of the Kingdom of Georgia and the crumbling Great Seljuq Empire at the place of Didgori, 40 km west of Tbilisi, the modern-day capital of Georgia, on August 12, 1121...

 and in 1122 took over Tbilisi to make it Georgia's capital. As a result, mostly Christian-populated Ghishi-Kabala area in western Shirvan
Shirvan
Shirvan , also spelled as Shirwan, Shervan, Sherwan and Šervān, is a historical region in the eastern Caucasus, known by this name in both Islamic and modern times...

 (relic of once prosperous Albanian Kingdom) was annexed by Georgia while the rest of already Muslim Shirvan became Georgia's client-state. That same year a big portion of Armenia was taken by David's troops and fell into Georgian hands as well. Thus, in 1124, David also became the King of Armenians, incorporating Northern Armenia into Georgian Crown lands. In 1125 King David died, leaving Georgia with the status of a strong regional power. In Georgia, King David is called "the builder."
However, one of the well known sovereigns of Georgia of that period was Queen Tamar (David's great-granddaughter). The reign of Queen Tamar
Tamar of Georgia
Tamar , of the Bagrationi dynasty, was Queen Regnant of Georgia from 1184 to 1213. Tamar presided over the "Golden age" of the medieval Georgian monarchy...

 was the peak of Georgia's might in the whole history of the nation.

The Empire of Trebizond
Empire of Trebizond
The Empire of Trebizond, founded in April 1204, was one of three Byzantine successor states of the Byzantine Empire. However, the creation of the Empire of Trebizond was not directly related to the capture of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade, rather it had broken away from the Byzantine Empire...

 was heavily dependent of Georgia for more than two hundred years. In 1210, Georgian armies invaded northern Persia (modern day Iranian Azerbaijan) putting part of the conquered territory under Georgian protectorate. That was the maximal extent of Georgia throughout her history. Georgian historians often refer to her as "Queen Tamar the Great." The period between the early 12th and the early 13th centuries and especially, the era of Tamar the Great, can truly be considered as the golden age of Georgia. Besides the political and military achievements, it was marked by the development of Georgian culture including the architecture, literature, philosophy and sciences. The Golden age of Georgia left a magnificent legacy of great cathedrals, brilliant romantic poetry and literature, and the epic poem "The Knight in the Panther's Skin
The Knight in the Panther's Skin
The Knight in the Panther's Skin is an epic poem, consisting of over 1600 shairi quatrains, was written in the 12th century by the Georgian epic-poet Shota Rustaveli, who was a Prince and Treasurer at the royal court of Queen Tamar of Georgia. The Knight in the Panther's Skin is often seen as...

"—revered by all Georgians since its creation for its artistic and philosophical virtue, the glorification of the Christian Orthodox values as well as chivalry, honor, compassion and romantic love. This Golden Age was interrupted at its peak by the Mongol Invasion in the 13th century AD. After that time, the Georgian feudal state entered an era of decline until reaching a new height under George V the Brilliant
George V of Georgia
George V, the "Brilliant" was King of Georgia from 1299 to 1302 and again from 1314 until his death. A flexible and far-sighted politician, he recovered Georgia from a century-long Mongol domination, restoring the country’s previous strength and Christian culture.-Reign:George was born to King...

.

Modern history


In the 19th century, Georgia, involved by its powerful southern rivals namely Persia and the Ottoman empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, was annexed by the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 in violation of the Treaty of Georgievsk
Treaty of Georgievsk
The Treaty of Georgievsk was a bilateral treaty concluded between the Russian Empire and the east Georgian kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti on July 24, 1783. The treaty established Georgia as a protectorate of Russia, which guaranteed Georgia's territorial integrity and the continuation of its reigning...

. Russo-Persian tension in fact culminated in the Treaty of Gulistan, in 1813, that effectively resulted in Persia (Iran) losing eastern Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 to the Russian Empire. Georgia would remain under Russian influence until Ilia Chavchavadze, a prince and a poet, founded the popular nationalist newspaper Iveria
Iveria
Iveria may refer to:*Caucasian Iberia, a Greek, Roman, and Byzantine name for ancient and medieval Georgia*An archaic name for Georgia used in Georgian ecclesiastic writings and poetry*VIA Iveria, a Georgian folk-music group from the 1970s...

 that supported a nationalistic Georgian identity. Georgian nationalists would later on promote Ilia by giving him a shrine at the Sioni Cathedral and use his image for their nationalistic goals. In 1918, the nationalist movement succeeded and the First Republic
Democratic Republic of Georgia
The Democratic Republic of Georgia , 1918–1921, was the first modern establishment of a Republic of Georgia.The DRG was created after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 was established. This democratic experiment was short-lived, as in 1921 a Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 government was installed with the support of the invading Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

. Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 the man most recognized for maintenance of the Bolshevik regime, was himself an ethnic Georgian.

The first years of independence after the dissolution of the USSR were characterized by political instability and civil conflicts. The first wave of reforms initiated in 1995 was only partially successful. Political corruption resulted in economic decline and institutional inefficiency, which led to grave political crisis. Under the administration of former Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze
Eduard Shevardnadze
Eduard Shevardnadze is a former Soviet, and later, Georgian statesman from the height to the end of the Cold War. He served as President of Georgia from 1995 to 2003, and as First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party , from 1972 to 1985. Shevardnadze was responsible for many top decisions on...

, in 2003 Georgia was dubbed one of the most corrupt nations in the world by Transparency International
Transparency International
Transparency International is a non-governmental organization that monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption in international development. It publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, a comparative listing of corruption worldwide...

. This further galvanized the popular discontent among Georgians, leading to the ouster of Shevardnadze in the bloodless Rose Revolution
Rose Revolution
The "Revolution of Roses" was a change of power in Georgia in November 2003, which took place after having widespread protests over the disputed parliamentary elections...

 of November, 2003. A new wave of systemic reforms has started after the election of the new government and as a result, soon Georgia was named as the world's number one reformer by the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

. These rapid advancements, however, saw a major setback in 2008 when the tensions between the Russian Federation and Georgia over territories of Ossetia
Ossetia
Ossetia Ossetic: Ир, Ирыстон Ir, Iryston; Russian: Осетия, Osetiya; Georgian: ოსეთი, Oset'i) is an ethnolinguistic region located on both sides of the Greater Caucasus Mountains, largely inhabited by the Ossetians. The Ossetian language is part of the Eastern Iranian branch of the Indo-European...

, and Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

 led to the 2008 South Ossetia war
2008 South Ossetia war
The 2008 South Ossetia War or Russo-Georgian War was an armed conflict in August 2008 between Georgia on one side, and Russia and separatist governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other....

.

Geographical subdivisions



The Georgians have historically been classified into various subgroups based on the geographic region which their ancestors traditionally inhabited.

Even if a member of any of these subgroups moves to a different region, they will still be known by the name of their ancestral region. For example, if a Guria
Guria
Guria is a region in Georgia, in the western part of the country, bordered by the eastern end of the Black Sea. The region has a population of 143,357 and Ozurgeti is a regional capital.-Geography:...

n moves to Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

 (part of the Kartli
Kartli
Kartli is a historical region in central-to-eastern Georgia traversed by the river Mtkvari , on which Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, is situated. Known to the Classical authors as Iberia, Kartli played a crucial role in ethnic and political consolidation of the Georgians in the Middle Ages...

 region) he will not automatically identify himself as Kartli
Kartli
Kartli is a historical region in central-to-eastern Georgia traversed by the river Mtkvari , on which Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, is situated. Known to the Classical authors as Iberia, Kartli played a crucial role in ethnic and political consolidation of the Georgians in the Middle Ages...

an despite actually living in Kartli. This may, however, change if substantial amount of time passes. For example, there are some Mingrelians
Mingrelians
The Mingrelians are a subethnic group of Georgians that mostly live in Samegrelo region of Georgia. They also live in considerable numbers in Abkhazia and Tbilisi...

 who have lived in the Imereti
Imereti
Imereti is a province in Georgia situated along the middle and upper reaches of the Rioni river. It consists of the following Georgian administrative-territorial units:#Kutaisi #Baghdati region#Vani region#Zestafoni region...

 region for centuries and are now identified as Imeretian or Imeretian-Mingrelians.

Last names from mountainous eastern Georgian provinces (such as Kakheti, etc.) can be distinguished by the suffix –uri (ური), or –uli (ული). Most Svan
Svans
The Svans are a group of Georgians that mostly live in Svaneti, a region of Georgia speaking the Svan language. The self designated Svan is Mushüan, known to the ancient authors as Misimian.-History:...

 last names typically end in –ani (ანი), Mingrelian
Mingrelians
The Mingrelians are a subethnic group of Georgians that mostly live in Samegrelo region of Georgia. They also live in considerable numbers in Abkhazia and Tbilisi...

 in –ia (ია), -ua (უა), or -ava (ავა), and Laz
Laz people
The Laz are an ethnic group native to the Black Sea coastal regions of Turkey and Georgia...

 in –shi (ში).
Name Name in Georgian Geographical region Dialect or Language
Imeretians იმერელი imereli Imereti
Imereti
Imereti is a province in Georgia situated along the middle and upper reaches of the Rioni river. It consists of the following Georgian administrative-territorial units:#Kutaisi #Baghdati region#Vani region#Zestafoni region...

Imeretian dialect
Georgian dialects
Georgian is a South Caucasian, or Kartvelian, language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century AD...

Kartlians ქართლელი kartleli Kartli
Kartli
Kartli is a historical region in central-to-eastern Georgia traversed by the river Mtkvari , on which Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, is situated. Known to the Classical authors as Iberia, Kartli played a crucial role in ethnic and political consolidation of the Georgians in the Middle Ages...

Kartlian dialect
Georgian dialects
Georgian is a South Caucasian, or Kartvelian, language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century AD...

Megrelians მეგრელი megreli Megrelia
Samegrelo
Samegrelo/Samargalo or Megrelia, Mingrelia is a historic province in the western part of Georgia, formerly also known as Odishi.It is inhabited by the Megrelians, an ethnic subgroup of the Georgians.-Geography and Climate:...

Megrelian language
Svans სვანი svani Svaneti
Svaneti
Svaneti is a historic province in Georgia, in the northwestern part of the country. It is inhabited by the Svans, a geographic subgroup of the Georgians.- Geography :...

Svan language
Svan language
The Svan language is a Kartvelian language spoken in the Western Georgian region of Svaneti primarily by the Georgians of Svan origin...

Gurians გურული guruli Guria
Guria
Guria is a region in Georgia, in the western part of the country, bordered by the eastern end of the Black Sea. The region has a population of 143,357 and Ozurgeti is a regional capital.-Geography:...

Gurian dialect
Georgian dialects
Georgian is a South Caucasian, or Kartvelian, language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century AD...

Adjarians აჭარელი achareli Adjara
Adjara
Adjara , officially the Autonomous Republic of Adjara , is an autonomous republic of Georgia.Adjara is located in the southwestern corner of Georgia, bordered by Turkey to the south and the eastern end of the Black Sea...

Adjarian dialect
Meskhetians მესხი meskhi Meskheti
Meskheti
Meskheti is in a mountainous area of Moschia and is a former province in southwestern Georgia. The ancient Georgian tribes of Meskhi and Mosiniks were the indigenous population of this region. A majority of the modern Georgian population of Meskheti are descendants of these ancient tribes...

 (Samtskhe)
Meskhian dialect
Georgian dialects
Georgian is a South Caucasian, or Kartvelian, language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century AD...

Lechkhumeli ლეჩხუმელი lechkhumeli Lechkhumi
Lechkhumi
Lechkhumi is a historic province in northwestern Georgia which comprises the area along the middle basin of the Rioni and Tskhenistskali and also the Lajanuri river valley. Now part of the Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti region, it corresponds roughly to the present day Tsageri district as well...

Lechkhumian dialcet
Georgian dialects
Georgian is a South Caucasian, or Kartvelian, language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century AD...

Rachveli რაჭველი rachveli Racha
Racha
Racha is a highland area in western Georgia, located in the upper Rioni river valley and hemmed in by the Greater Caucasus mountains...

Rachian dialect
Georgian dialects
Georgian is a South Caucasian, or Kartvelian, language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century AD...

Kakhetians კახელი kakheti Kakheti
Kakheti
Kakheti is a historical province in Eastern Georgia inhabited by Kakhetians who speak a local dialect of Georgian. It is bordered by the small mountainous province of Tusheti and the Greater Caucasus mountain range to the north, Russian Federation to the Northeast, Azerbaijan to the Southeast, and...

Kakhetian dialcet
Georgian dialects
Georgian is a South Caucasian, or Kartvelian, language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century AD...

Khevsurians
Khevsurians
thumb|300px|Khevsurians in traditional wearing Khevsurians – ethnographical group of Georgians, mainly living in Khevsureti, on both sides of the Caucasus Mountain Chain in the watersheds of the rivers Aragvi and Argun. There are some villages in Khevi, Ertso-Tianeti, Kakheti , Kvemo Kartli also...

ხევსური khevsuri Khevsureti
Khevsureti
Khevsureti/Khevsuria is a historical-ethnographic region in eastern Georgia. They are the branch of Kartvelian people located along both the northern and southern slopes of the Great Caucasus...

Khevsurian dialect
Georgian dialects
Georgian is a South Caucasian, or Kartvelian, language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century AD...

Tushi თუში tushi Tusheti
Tusheti
Tusheti is a historic region in northeast Georgia.-Geography:Located on the northern slopes of the Greater Caucasus Mountains, Tusheti is bordered by the Russian republics of Chechnya and Dagestan to the north and east, respectively; and by the Georgian historic provinces Kakheti and...

Tushetian dialect
Georgian dialects
Georgian is a South Caucasian, or Kartvelian, language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century AD...

Pshaveli ფშაველი pshaveli Pshavi
Pshavi
Pshavi is a small historic-geographic area in Georgia, included in today’s Mtskheta-Mtianeti region and laying chiefly on the southern foothills of the Greater Caucasus mountains along Aragvi River and the lower Iori River. The Pshavs, who are locally called the Pshaveli, speak a Georgian dialect...

Pshavian dialect
Georgian dialects
Georgian is a South Caucasian, or Kartvelian, language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century AD...

Mokhevians მოხევე mokheve Khevi
Khevi
Khevi is a small historical-geographic area in northeastern Georgia. It is included in the modern-day Kazbegi district, Mtskheta-Mtianeti region...

Mokhevian dialect
Georgian dialects
Georgian is a South Caucasian, or Kartvelian, language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century AD...

Javakhians ჯავახი javakhi Javakheti
Javakheti
Javakheti is a historical region of the nation of Georgia, in the southeastern part of the country's Samtskhe-Javakheti province. Today it comprises the Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda municipal territories. It was historically bordered in the west with both sides of the Mtkvari river, in the north,...

Javakhian dialect
Georgian dialects
Georgian is a South Caucasian, or Kartvelian, language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century AD...



The 1897 Russian census (which accounted people by language), had Imeretian, Mingrelian and Svan
Svan language
The Svan language is a Kartvelian language spoken in the Western Georgian region of Svaneti primarily by the Georgians of Svan origin...

 languages separate from Georgian
Georgian language
Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus.Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad...

.
During the 1926 Soviet census, Mengrelians and Svans were accounted separately from Georgian.
Mingrelian and Svan languages are both Kartvelian languages and are closely related to the national Georgian
Georgian language
Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus.Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad...

.

Outside of modern Georgia


Laz people
Laz people
The Laz are an ethnic group native to the Black Sea coastal regions of Turkey and Georgia...

 also may be considered Georgian based on their geographic location and religion. According to the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

' anthropologist Mathijs Pelkmans, Lazs residing in Georgia frequently identify themselves as "first-class Georgians" to show pride, while considering their Muslim counterparts in Turkey as "Turkified Lazs".
Subethnic groups Name in Georgian Settlement area Language
(other than Georgian)
Approximate number Difference(s) from mainstream Georgians
(other than location)
Shavshians შავში shavshi   Shavsheti Imerkhevian dialect
Georgian dialects
Georgian is a South Caucasian, or Kartvelian, language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century AD...

 
Klarjians კლარჯი klarji   Klarjeti
Klarjeti
Klarjeti was a province of ancient and medieval Georgia, which is currently part of the Artvin Province in northeastern Turkey. Klarjeti, the neighboring province of Tao and several other smaller districts constituted a larger region with shared history and culture conventionally known as...

Imerkhevian dialect
Georgian dialects
Georgian is a South Caucasian, or Kartvelian, language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century AD...

 
Lazs
Laz people
The Laz are an ethnic group native to the Black Sea coastal regions of Turkey and Georgia...

ლაზი lazi   Chaneti
Lazistan
Lazistan was the Ottoman administrative name for the sanjak comprising the Laz or Lazuri-speaking population on the southeastern shore of the Black Sea. However, its boundaries did not coincide with the Laz-speaking area...

 (Lazistan)
Laz language
Laz language
The Laz language is a South Caucasian language spoken by the Laz people on the Southeast shore of the Black Sea...

50,000 (1970 est.) Religion: Muslim
Chveneburi
Chveneburi
Chveneburi , meaning "of us" in Georgian, is an autonym of Muslim immigrants of Georgian descent who had settled in non-Georgian majority regions of Turkey, thus, "of us" signifies a triple distinction from Christian Georgians, Muslim Turks, and autochthonous Muslim Georgians...

ჩვენებური chveneburi   Black Sea coast,
Northwestern Turkey
60,000 (1979) Religion: Muslim
Ingilo
Ingiloy people
Ingiloys or Ingiloi are an ethnic group of Georgian descent, living in northwestern Azerbaijan. Ingiloys speak Ingiloy dialect of Georgian language....

ინგილო ingilo   Saingilo
Saingilo
Saingilo is a 19th-century term that is used to indicate parts of the districts of Balakan, Zaqatala and Qakh—territory of 4,780 km2—currently parts of Azerbaijan, populated by the ethnic Georgians—Ingiloi.-History:...

Ingiloan dialect
Georgian dialects
Georgian is a South Caucasian, or Kartvelian, language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century AD...

12,000 Religion: Muslim
Pereidneli (Fereydan Georgian) ფერეიდნელი pereidneli   Pereidani
Fereydan
- Georgians in Fereydan :The Fereydan Georgians are an ethnographic group of the Georgian people who mostly live in the city of Fereydoon Shahr and in the Fereydan region of Iran.- Origins :...

Fereidanian dialect
Georgian dialects
Georgian is a South Caucasian, or Kartvelian, language spoken by about 4.1 million people primarily in Georgia, but also in Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan. It is a highly standardized language, with the first attempts to establish literary and linguistic norms dating back to the 5th century AD...


Linguistic subdivisions


The language known today as Georgian
Georgian language
Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus.Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad...

 is a traditional language of the eastern part of the country which has spread to most of the present-day Georgia after the post-Christianization centralization in the first millennium AD — today Georgians regardless of their ancestral region use Georgian as their official language. The regional languages — Mingrelian and Svan
Svan language
The Svan language is a Kartvelian language spoken in the Western Georgian region of Svaneti primarily by the Georgians of Svan origin...

 — are languages of the west that were traditionally spoken in the pre-Christian Kingdom of Colchis
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

, but later lost importance as the unified Georgian Kingdom
Kingdom of Georgia
The Kingdom of Georgia was a medieval monarchy established in AD 978 by Bagrat III.It flourished during the 11th and 12th centuries, the so-called "golden age" of the history of Georgia. It fell to the Mongol invasions of the 13th century, but managed to re-assert sovereignty by 1327...

 emerged. Their decline is largely due to the capital of the unified kingdom, Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

, being in the eastern part of the country — known as Iberia
Caucasian Iberia
Iberia , also known as Iveria , was a name given by the ancient Greeks and Romans to the ancient Georgian kingdom of Kartli , corresponding roughly to the eastern and southern parts of the present day Georgia...

 — effectively making the language of the east an official language of the Georgian monarch.

All of these languages comprise the Kartvelian language family along with the related language of the Laz people
Laz people
The Laz are an ethnic group native to the Black Sea coastal regions of Turkey and Georgia...

, which has speakers in both Turkey and Georgia.

See also

  • Georgia
    Georgia (country)
    Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

  • Culture of Georgia
  • Georgian language
    Georgian language
    Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus.Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad...

  • Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church
    Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church
    The Georgian Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church is an autocephalous part of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Since the 4th century AD, Georgian Orthodoxy has been the state religion of Georgia, and it remains the country's largest religious institution....

  • History of Georgia
    History of Georgia (country)
    The nation of Georgia was first unified as a kingdom under the Bagrationi dynasty in the 9th to 10th century, arising from a number of predecessor states of ancient Colchis and Iberia...

  • Demographics of Georgia
    Demographics of Georgia
    The Demographics of Georgia is about the demographic features of the population of Georgia, including population growth, population density, ethnicity, education level, health, economic status, religious affiliations, and other aspects of the population....

  • European American
    European American
    A European American is a citizen or resident of the United States who has origins in any of the original peoples of Europe...

  • Georgian American
    Georgian American
    Georgian Americans are citizens of the United States who are of Georgian ancestry.The precise number of Georgian Americans is unknown because during their main stage of immigration - early 20th century - Georgians were mistakenly thought to be Russian as it was only recently that Georgia was freed...

  • List of Georgians
  • Peoples of the Caucasus
  • Chveneburi
    Chveneburi
    Chveneburi , meaning "of us" in Georgian, is an autonym of Muslim immigrants of Georgian descent who had settled in non-Georgian majority regions of Turkey, thus, "of us" signifies a triple distinction from Christian Georgians, Muslim Turks, and autochthonous Muslim Georgians...

     — Georgians in Turkey
  • Georgians in Iran
    Georgians in Iran
    Iranian Georgians are an ethnic group living in Iran. Today's Georgia was a subject to the Safavid empire in 17th century and Shah Abbas I relocated communities of Christian, Muslim, and Georgian Jews as part of his programs to develop industrial economy, strengthen the military and populate newly...