Georgia Country History

Georgia History


According to securitypology, the people who with the passage of time formed the Georgian people, had settled in the western Transcaucasian region in very remote times (7th century BC) The geographical situation of the country contributed greatly to their civil and political development. The typical peculiarities of the country led to the formation of two political bodies: of eastern Georgia (on the middle course of the Kura River), or Iberian Kingdom, and western Georgia (the Rion river basin) or Colchis. In 65 a. C., following the victories of Pompeo Magno, both these parts became part of the Roman Empire. And from the century III Georgia became a kind of outpost of Rome in the struggle with the Sassanids. In 300 a new division into two parts of Georgia took place; one, had to recognize the protectorate of the Sassanids; the other that of Byzantine Empire. They followed, in the century. V and VI, a series of vain revolts against the domination of the Persians, with the intervention of Byzantium as well. An event of great importance for the civilization of the country was the introduction of Christianity. In the century IV there was the civilizing work of Santa Nino, and at the ecumenical council of Nicaea, in 325, there was already a representative of the Georgian church. At first it was part of the patriarchate of Antioch; but from the sec. V onwards is in fact autocephalous. In the century VI Christianity was widespread in all parts of Georgia. With the treaty of 563 the Persians renounced their claims on the western part of Georgia (Lasica), which had remained under the Byzantine Empire; and in the years 643-645 they also lost the eastern part, occupied by the Arabs, now masters of almost all of Persia. They divided the occupied region into districts, placing them under the supreme administration of the Arab emir residing in Tiflis. But local political influence continued to be exercised by the Georgian aristocracy; and from it, made up of large landowners, secular and ecclesiastical, a typical feudal regime developed. The weakening of the Arab domination, in the sec. IX, gave rise to some rival lords in Georgia, one of whom, Bagrat III, managed to unite a considerable part of eastern Georgia under himself (980).

From the end of the century. X to almost the entire XI, is a continuous contrast between the Georgian kings and the feudal aristocracy, supported by the Byzantine Empire, while the invasions of the Seljuk Turks follow one another. But with David II (v.), Who reigned in the years 1089-1125 there is a strong affirmation of the monarchy. Leaning on the authority of the Georgian church council, convened by him in 1103, David overcame the opposition of the great princes of the church. He then organized a standing army of mercenaries against the secular feudatars. A favorable circumstance for the development of Georgia’s foreign policy under David was the weakening of Muslim rule in the Near East due to the collapse of the Seljuks sultanate and the Crusades. International relations are well regulated, and internal peace has been established, David’s reign also marks the time of greatest prosperity of Georgia’s trade and craft industry. Culture too, especially under Queen Thamar, daughter of George III, progresses. Church art, especially architecture, reaches a high level. This period can also be called the golden age for Georgian literature. However, there were political troubles: the feudal revolt in 1170 was put down by Tsar George III; however, both this prince and Queen Thamar (1184-1213), had to make concessions, first to the church, then to the aristocracy and the growing class of merchants. There were limitations of the royal power also to the advantage of the council of state made up of high officials.

In the first quarter of the 13th century Georgia suffered Mongol invasions: first the episodic incursion by the ranks of Cebe and Subutai (1222); then, from 1231, a systematic conquest. He had to pay a heavy tribute and provide an auxiliary army. Over time, Mongol rule softened; but at the end of the 14th century, there was again the devastating invasion of Timur. With the collapse of the kingdom of Timur, Georgia was again unified into a national kingdom (under Alexander I, 1412-1442), but the economic conditions of the country continued to remain very difficult. The rise of the powerful Osmani kingdom, especially after the occupation of Constantinople (1453) and Trebizond (1461), led to the rupture of commercial relations and all cultural relations in general between Georgia and the West. During the 1500s, the ‘600, and the’ 700 Georgia suffered as much from the direct attacks of Turkey and Persia, as from the wars between these two nations. Eventually, a part of eastern Georgia was occupied by Persia, and the southwest fell under Turkey, while the remaining independent part was divided into a number of feudal dominions. Wars and feudal oppression made the conditions of the peasants absolutely unbearable, and provoked a series of revolts (1712-1719), suppressed with weapons. But there was no lack of measures taken by kings Vakhtang VI and Heraclius II who reigned in the century. XVIII in order to limit the slavery of the gleba, as well as to increase the power of the kings and weaken the feudatars. The difficulties in which the Georgian kings found themselves in the struggle with their enemies and in the face of the internal evils of the country led them, since the end of the 16th century, to try to place Georgia under the protection of Russia, which had in common with it. the religion. But Russia gave effective military aid only from the end of the century. XVIII; in 1801 Georgia was formally united with Russia.

The annexation to Russia gave Georgia the possibility of peaceful development. New roads were built in the country; made safe the communication routes with Russia by land (the Georgian military route) and by sea; internal duties abolished; founded a series of educational institutions, with teaching in Russian. Less beneficial to Georgia was that its church was stripped of its autocephaly and submitted to the Russian Synod. On the administrative side, Georgia was included in the overall network of provinces of Russia: and at the end of the century. XIX, the territory of Georgia included the governments of Tiflis, Kutais and, in part, the government of the Black Sea; later the governments of Batum and Suchum were still constituted. The territory of Georgia was part of the Caucasus viceroyalty. As for social conditions, serfdom remained unchanged on principle, hence a series of peasant revolts (1809, 1811, 1841). Only in 1847 the ukaz which allowed peasants to redeem themselves in cases of auction sales of landed properties, attested to the Russian government’s intention to mitigate serf slavery. It is partly due to the support given by the Russian government to the large landowners in Georgia in the first half of the century. XIX the loyalty of the Georgian nobles towards it. Two years after the liberation of the peasants in Russia, their liberation began in Georgia: first in eastern Georgia (1863), then in western Georgia (1865-1867); but the reform was applied with a less favorable spirit to the peasantry than in Russia; they received relatively less land and remained in greater economic dependence on the lords. The ransom operation took a long time, and most of the peasants remained in a condition of temporary dependence until the revolution of 1905; certain groups, indeed, until 1912.

In the last quarter of the nineteenth century the industrial development of Georgia was accentuated, favored after the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78, by the purchase of Batum and the construction of the railways (Transcaucasus Baku-Batum line, completed in 1883). In 1900 there were in Tiflis, the capital of Georgia, more than 5,000 commercial, industrial and credit firms, with a working capital of about 60 million rubles, and 21,000 workers and clerks. Among the various activities, manganese excavation in Čjatury (more than 5,000 workers in 1900) and coal mines in Tkvibuli were the most important. With the growth of the educated class and the workers, revolutionary parties and circles were formed. At the end of the decade 1890-1900, the committee of the Georgian Socialist-Democratic Party was formed in Tiflis.

The revolutionary movement that broke out in Russia in 1905 also spread to Georgia. Much of the country was troubled by peasant unrest, which, in some districts, turned into real revolts. The peasants drove the lords from their properties, destroyed buildings and foodstuffs. At the same time, national conflicts were added to the movement of workers in the cities and industrial enterprises, led in large part by the socialist democrats, between Georgians, Amieni and Tatars, which gave rise to serious disturbances in Tiflis. In October 1905, Georgia joined the general strike. The revolutionary movement did not cease after the constitutional manifesto of October 17, 1905, but soon found itself faced with counter-revolutionary forces. A counter-demonstration took place in Tiflis on 22 October 1905: the landowners organized defensive associations. In January 1906, with the suppression of the revolutionary movement in Russia, repression also began in Georgia. Towards the spring of 1906, there was a certain pacification here, as in all of Russia, also following the possibility given to the population to express their feelings through legal channels with the Duma. The question of elections in the Duma caused a schism between the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks. The latter supported the need to boycott the Duma and to continue the revolutionary tactics used earlier, based on illegal organizations. The Mensheviks, on the other hand, considered it appropriate to participate in elections and, in general, to exercise legal opposition in parliament, where they had a predominant part. Among the 8 deputies elected for the 1st Duma in Georgia, 5 belonged to the Menshevik party (1906); in the elections for the 2nd Duma, all the deputies of Georgia were Mensheviks (1907). After the dissolution of the Duma and the modification of the electoral law, the number of deputies from the peripheral countries of Russia was reduced, and Georgia had only 3 seats, of which, in the elections both for the 3rd (1907) and for the 4th Duma (1912), two were occupied by the Mensheviks. One of these Georgian Menshevik deputies was NS Čcheidze, elected president of the Petrograd Soviet after the 1917 revolution. Following the revolution of 1905, what remained of the slavery of the peasantry was abolished in Georgia, that is, the condition of temporary dependence of the peasants (definitive abolition in 1912). The economic revival of Russia, after the 1905 revolution, it did not have much impact in Georgia. Stolypin’s rural reform (1906) was not extended to Georgia. The world war had serious effects in Georgia, which became a war zone. In 1915, a revolt against the Russian government took place in the southwestern part of Georgia, bordering Turkey, where the population sympathized with the Turks, which was soon quelled.

At the outbreak of the February Revolution of 1917, power passed into the hands of the Menshevik fraction of the Socialist Party, which had managed to take over all the workers’ organizations. In addition to the councils of workers ‘and soldiers’ deputies, the Russian Provisional Government in Transcaucasia initially had its own body in the Transcaucasian Special Committee. As the provisional government released the Bolsheviks, the struggle between them and the Mensheviks also developed in Georgia with the complication of separatist tendencies, contrary to Bolshevism in principle. The October Revolution was unsuccessful in Transcaucasia, because, with the fall of the Russian Provisional Government, the various parties proclaimed an independent government under the leadership of the Georgian Mensheviks. a government that came about with the formation (11 November 1917) of a Transcaucasian Commissariat which had to fight the Bolshevik propaganda. New complications arose due to the passage of Russian troops who were on the Turkish border and who wished to return to their homeland armed, and also due to the intrusion of Turkey, which at the beginning of 1918 churches were transmitted to it, in accordance with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the territories of Karsk and Batum. The Transcaucasian Commissariat refused, but the territories were occupied by the Turks, while peasant revolts developed everywhere. On 10 February 1918 the Transcaucasian Sejm was convened and took the place of the Commissariat. The Sejm began negotiations with Turkey, but due to the ever new demands of this, which was supported by the German delegation, they failed.

In Georgia, power passed into the hands of the National Council, already formed during the February Revolution, with Georgian federalist, national-democratic elements, etc., to which the Georgian Mensheviks were added. On May 25, 1918, the independence of Georgia was proclaimed and the National Council was transformed into the Georgian Parliament. During this period there was a radical change in the orientation of the Georgian Mensheviks, National Democrats and Federalists who, already sympathetic to the Entente, passed over to Germany. The Georgian government agreed with the German troops in fighting the Bolsheviks, but while it aimed at the salvation of the independence of the homeland, Germany considered its consolidation in Georgia as a way to seize the oil territories.

After the armistice, the British troops recalled in the summer of 1919 took over, to the great concern of the Georgian government, which, due to the ever-increasing aggravation of internal agrarian and national struggles, saw the danger of having to give in to force growing. of the Bolshevik revolution. The relations with the white governments of southern Russia and the struggle first and then the agreement with Denikin had made the situation increasingly complicated and difficult. After Denikin’s defeat, Georgia became for some time the refuge and reorganization center of the white troops. Meanwhile the Bolsheviks had not ceased to carry out their revolutionary action. In April 1920 the Bolshevik power was organized in the Azerbaijan and in May of the same year an agreement was concluded between the Menshevik government of Georgia and the Russian Soviet republic, in which the existence of the Georgian Bolshevik party was recognized. The main cause of the waning of Menshevik power was undoubtedly the peasant revolts, which followed one another from 1918 to 1920. The country was in constant struggle, especially as the policy of the Mensheviks found no echo in the masses. Soon the anti-Dimensional movement took over all of Georgia, the only non-Soviet Caucasian country yet. The insurrection began with the peasant revolt of February 12, 1921 and within days forced the Menshevik government to abandon Tiflis. Georgia was proclaimed an autonomous Soviet republic.

Georgia Country History