Georgia is a nation in Eurasia’s Caucasus region. It is bordered to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. Tbilisi is the capital and biggest city. Georgia has a land area of 69,700 square kilometers (26,911 square miles) and a population of about 3.75 million people in 2015. Georgia is a unitary, semi-presidential republic with a representative democracy as its government.
Several separate kingdoms emerged in what is now Georgia throughout the classical period. In the early fourth century, the kingdoms of Colchis and Iberiaa converted to Christianity. During the reigns of King David IV and Queen Tamarin in the 11th–12th century, Georgia achieved the pinnacle of its political and economic power. Following that, the region was controlled for centuries by several major empires, notably the Mongols, the Ottoman Empire, and subsequent Iranian dynasties. The kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti formed an alliance with the Russian Empire in the late 18th century, and the region was conquered by Russia in 1801. The Treaty of Gulistan with Qajar Iran reaffirmed the latter’s authority over Georgia in 1813. Following the Russian Revolution in 1917, Georgia achieved, though temporarily, independence and formed its first-ever republic under German and British protection, only to be invaded by Soviet Russia in 1921 and incorporated into the Soviet Union as the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic.
For the majority of the 1990s, post-communist Georgia suffered from civil and economic crises since the formation of the modern Georgian republic in April 1991. This continued until the peaceful Rose Revolution, when Georgia adopted a firmly pro-Western foreign policy, instituting a slew of democratic and economic reforms targeted towards NATO and European integration. The country’s Western orientation quickly deteriorated ties with Russia, resulting in the short Russo-Georgian War.
Georgia belongs to the Council of Europe as well as the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development. It is home to two de facto autonomous territories, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which received limited international recognition after the 2008 Russo-Georgian War.