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The region of present day Georgia contained the ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Kartli-Iberia. The area came under Roman influence in the first centuries A.D. and Christianity became the state religion in the 330s. Domination by Persians, Arabs, and Turks was followed by a Georgian golden age (11th-13th centuries) that was cut short by the Mongol invasion of 1236. Subsequently, the Ottoman and Persian empires competed for influence in the region. 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 in 1921 and regained its independence when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. Mounting public discontent over rampant corruption and ineffective government services, followed by an attempt by the incumbent Georgian government to manipulate national legislative elections in November 2003 touched off widespread protests that led to the resignation of Eduard SHEVARDNADZE, president since 1995. In the aftermath of that popular movement, which became known as the "Rose Revolution," new elections in early 2004 swept Mikheil SAAKASHVILI into power along with his United National Movement party. Progress on market reforms and democratization has been made in the years since independence, but this progress has been complicated by Russian assistance and support to the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Periodic flare-ups in tension and violence culminated in a five-day conflict in August 2008 between Russia and Georgia, including the invasion of large portions of undisputed Georgian territory. Russian troops pledged to pull back from most occupied Georgian territory, but in late August 2008 Russia unilaterally recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and Russian military forces remain in those regions.


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Geography

Location
Southwestern Asia, bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia, with a sliver of land north of the Caucasus extending into Europe; note - Georgia views itself as part of Europe

Geographic coordinates
42 00 N, 43 30 E

Map references
Middle East

Area World Ranking: 121
Total 69,700 sq km
Land 69,700 sq km
Water 0 sq km

Area - comparative
Slightly smaller than South Carolina

Land boundaries
Total 1,461 km
Border countries
Armenia 164 km, Azerbaijan 322 km, Russia 723 km, Turkey 252 km

Coastline
310 km

Maritime claims
Territorial sea 12 nm
Exclusive economic zone 200 nm

Climate
Warm and pleasant; Mediterranean-like on Black Sea coast

Terrain
Largely mountainous with Great Caucasus Mountains in the north and Lesser Caucasus Mountains in the south; Kolkhet'is Dablobi (Kolkhida Lowland) opens to the Black Sea in the west; Mtkvari River Basin in the east; good soils in river valley flood plains, foothills of Kolkhida Lowland

Elevation extremes
Lowest point Black Sea 0 m
Highest point Mt'a Shkhara 5,201 m

Natural resources
Timber, hydropower, manganese deposits, iron ore, copper, minor coal and oil deposits; coastal climate and soils allow for important tea and citrus growth

Land use
Arable land 11.51%
Permanent crops 3.79%
Other 84.7% (2005)

Irrigated land
4,330 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources
63.3 cu km (1997)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Total 3.61 cu km/yr (20%/21%/59%)
Per capita 808 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards
Earthquakes

Environment - current issues
Air pollution, particularly in Rust'avi; heavy pollution of Mtkvari River and the Black Sea; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil pollution from toxic chemicals

Environment - international agreements
Party to
Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
Signed, but not ratified
None of the selected agreements

Geography - note
Strategically located east of the Black Sea; Georgia controls much of the Caucasus Mountains and the routes through them


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  Georgia (Tbilisi):


  GPS points from Georgia (Tbilisi)

Kvemosvanetskiy Rayon Georgia (general)

Agayani Georgia (general)

Gora Kvira Tskhoveli Georgia (general)

Lech'k'op'i Abkhazia

Gora )) (( Milioni Georgia (general)

Bzikurt Kari Georgia (general)

Kvatetri Verkhniye Georgia (general)

Khinat-khevi Georgia (general)




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