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Ajaria, isthmus, Abkhazia, western Asia, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

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Georgia (country), republic in western Asia. Georgia is the westernmost country of the South Caucasus (the southern portion of the region of Caucasus), which occupies the isthmus between the Black and Caspian seas; Azerbaijan and Armenia are also located in the South Caucasus. The name of the republic in Georgian, the official language, is Sakartvelo.

Georgia is a country of extremely diverse terrain, with high mountain ranges and fertile coastal lowlands. Ethnic Georgians constitute a majority of the population. Georgia was made a part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1922. After Georgia gained independence from the USSR in 1991, the country was plagued by civil war and political upheaval. The economy suffered from these events and from severed trading ties with other former Soviet republics, but in the mid-1990s it began to recover when the political strife ebbed and free market reforms were instituted. Georgia’s first post-Soviet constitution was adopted in August 1995.

Georgia includes two autonomous republics: Ajaria, located in Georgia’s southwestern corner, and Abkhazia, in the northwestern arm of the republic. Both republics include stretches of the Black Sea coast. Georgia also contains the autonomous region of South Ossetia, which is located in the north central part of the country. Abkhazia and South Ossetia are bordered on the north by Russia, and Ajaria is bordered on the south by Turkey.


Georgia (country)

Curtis, Glenn E., ed. Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia : Country Studies. Library of Congress, 1995. Covers history, politics, economies, and societies.

Gachechiladze, R. G. The New Georgia: Space, Society, Politics. Texas A&M University Press, 1996. A detailed examination of the social geography of the Republic of Georgia.

Lerner Geography Staff. Georgia. Lerner, 1993. An introduction to the country for younger readers.

Russell, Mary. Please Don't Call It Soviet Georgia: A Journey a Through a Troubled Paradise. Serpents Tail, 1992. A travel memoir.

Shevardnadze, Eduard.Trans. Catherine Fitzpatrick. The Future Belongs to Freedom. Free Press, 1991. An absorbing autobiographical essay by Eduard Shevardnadze, the first president of Georgia and former foreign minister of the Soviet Union.

Suny, Ronald Grigor. The Making of the Georgian Nation. Indiana University Press, 1994. A thorough, accessible history of Georgia.


Suny, Ronald Grigor, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.

Article key phrases:

Ajaria, isthmus, Abkhazia, western Asia, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, South Caucasus, USSR, official language, Soviet republics, stretches, civil war, Russia, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Black, population, republic, August, economy, independence, majority, country, events

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