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History of Georgia

Georgian history dates back more than 2,500 years, and Georgian is one of the oldest living languages in the world. Tbilisi, located in a picturesque valley divided by the Mtkvari River[?], is more than 1,500 years old. Much of Georgia's territory was besieged by its Persian and Turkish neighbors along with Arabs and Mongols over the course of the 7th to the 18th centuries. After 11 centuries of mixed fortunes of various Georgian kingdoms, including a golden age from the 11th to 12th centuries, Georgia turned to Russia for protection. Georgia was absorbed into the Russian Empire in the 19th century. Independent for three years (1918-1921) following the Russian Revolution, it was forcibly incorporated into the USSR and its royalty exiled.

Georiga was then a Soviet Socialist Republic. Pockets of Georgian resistance to foreign rule continued, and the first Republic of Georgia was established on May 26, 1918 after the collapse of Tsarist Russia. By March 1921, the Red army had reoccupied the country and Georgia became part of the Soviet Union. On April 9, 1991, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia[?] declared independence from the U.S.S.R. until the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991.

Beset by ethnic and civil strife from independence in 1991, Georgia began to stabilize in 1995. However, more than 230,000 internally displaced persons present an enormous strain on local politics. Peace in the separatist areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia[?], overseen by Russian peacekeepers and international organizations, will continue to be fragile, requiring years of economic development and negotiation to overcome local enmities. Considerable progress has been made in negotiations on the Ossetian[?]-Georgian conflict, and negotiations are continuing in the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict.

The Georgian Government is committed to economic reform in cooperation with the IMF and World Bank, and stakes much of its future on the revival of the ancient Silk Road as the Eurasian corridor, using Georgia's geography as a bridge for transit of goods between Europe and Asia.

The most famous Georgian is perhaps Joseph Stalin, who ruled the Soviet Union as a dictator from 1928 to 1953. After Georgia gained independence, Russian troops still remain garrisoned at four military bases and as peacekeepers in the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia[?]. The country continues to move toward a market economy and greater integration with Western institutions.

In 2002, the United States sent hundreds of Special Operations Forces to assist the local military fight guerrilla fighters. See War on Terrorism/Pankisi Gorge.

See also : Georgia (country)

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