Lechkhumi

Lechkhumi

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Lechkhumi is a historic province in northwestern 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...

 which comprises the area along the middle basin of the Rioni
Rioni River
The Rioni or Rion River is the main river of western Georgia. It originates in the Caucasus Mountains, in the region of Racha and flows west to the Black Sea, entering it north of the city of Poti...

 and Tskhenistskali and also the Lajanuri river valley. Now part of the Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti
Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti
Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti is a region in northwestern Georgia which includes the historical provinces of Racha, Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti . It covers an area of 4,954 km² and has a population of 50,969 . It is the most sparsely populated region in the country...

 region, it corresponds roughly to the present day Tsageri
Tsageri
Tsageri is a town in Georgia, located in Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti region in the west of the country and serving as an administrative center of the homonymous district....

 district as well as parts of districts of Tsq'altubo
Tsq'altubo
Tsq'altubo, located in the north of Imereti region of Western Georgia, is a resort situated about 30 km northwest to the city of Kutaisi....

 and Ambrolauri
Ambrolauri
Ambrolauri is a town in western Georgia which serves as a regional capital of Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti and the center of the homonymous district. As of the 2002 census, it had a population of 2,500....

. It is bordered by Mingrelia to the west, 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 :...

 to the north, 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...

 to the east, and 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...

 to the south.

The area has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age and was later dominated by the so-called Colchian culture
Colchian culture
Colchian culture is a late Bronze Age and Iron Age culture of the western Caucasus, mostly in western Georgia. It was partially succeeded by the Koban culture in northern and central Caucasus....

. The first recorded history of the area dates back to the early medieval period. The contemporary historic sources call the land Takveri, a name gradually being replaced by a term Lechkhumi. The province is usually identified with Scymnia mentioned by Procopius
Procopius
Procopius of Caesarea was a prominent Byzantine scholar from Palestine. Accompanying the general Belisarius in the wars of the Emperor Justinian I, he became the principal historian of the 6th century, writing the Wars of Justinian, the Buildings of Justinian and the celebrated Secret History...

 (sixth century AD) as a dependency of the Lazican kings http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16167/16167-h/raw7b.htm. Within the unified Georgian feudal state (between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries), Takveri/Lechkhumi was subordinated consecutively to the dukes (eristavi
Eristavi
Eristavi was a Georgian feudal office, roughly equivalent to the Byzantine strategos and normally translated into English as "duke". In the Georgian aristocratic hierarchy, it was the title of the third rank of prince and governor of a large province...

) of 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 :...

 and 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...

. On the breakup of the Kingdom of Georgia, the province came under the Kingdom of Imereti
Kingdom of Imereti
The Kingdom of Imereti was established in 1455 by a member of the house of Bagration when the Kingdom of Georgia was dissolved into rival kingdoms. Before that time, Imereti was considered a separate kingdom within the Kingdom of Georgia, to which a cadet branch of the Bagration royal family held...

, 1455. Through incessant feudal warfare, the nobles from the Chikovani (Chikvani) family were eventual winners and established themselves as semi-independent Lords of Lechkhumi (Georgian: Lechkhumis Tavi). In 1714, Bejan Chikovani became Prince of Mingrelia and assumed the dynastic name of Dadiani
Dadiani
Dadiani was a Georgian family of nobles, dukes and princes, and a ruling dynasty of the western Georgian province of Samegrelo.- The House of Dadiani :...

. Thus, these two western Georgian polities united under the princes of Mingrelia.

King Solomon II of Imereti
Solomon II of Imereti
Solomon II , of the Bagrationi Dynasty, was the last King of Imereti from 1789 to 1790 and from 1792 until his deposition by the Imperial Russian government in 1810....

 (1792-1810) attempted on several occasions, though unsuccessfully, to bring the area back under the Imeretian rule. 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...

 intervened on Mingrelian side that resulted in the fall of Solomon's kingdom and incorporation of Mingrelia into the Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

ist empire as an autonomous entity. In 1857, the Russian authorities abolished the Principality of Mingrelia and Lechkhumi became a part of Kutais
Kutaisi
Kutaisi is Georgia's second largest city and the capital of the western region of Imereti. It is 221 km to the west of Tbilisi.-Geography:...

 Guberniya
Guberniya
A guberniya was a major administrative subdivision of the Russian Empire usually translated as government, governorate, or province. Such administrative division was preserved for sometime upon the collapse of the empire in 1917. A guberniya was ruled by a governor , a word borrowed from Latin ,...

. Together with the neighbouring region 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 :...

, it formed the Lechkhumi Mazra from 1867 to 1930, when the Tsageri
Tsageri
Tsageri is a town in Georgia, located in Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti region in the west of the country and serving as an administrative center of the homonymous district....

 Rayon
Rayon
Rayon is a manufactured regenerated cellulose fiber. Because it is produced from naturally occurring polymers, it is neither a truly synthetic fiber nor a natural fiber; it is a semi-synthetic or artificial fiber. Rayon is known by the names viscose rayon and art silk in the textile industry...

was created.