Georgia (GPS: 42 00 N, 43 30 E) located in 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; geopolitically, it can be classified as falling within Europe, the Middle East, or both. The country’s area measurements are total: 69,700 sq km; land: 69,700 sq km, water: 0 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly smaller than South Carolina, slightly larger than West Virginia. The total irrigated land is 4,330 sq km (2012).
One of the essential features of Georgia: Strategically located east of the Black Sea. Georgia controls much of the Caucasus Mountains and the routes through them. The world’s four deepest caves are all in Georgia, including two that are the only known caves on earth deeper than 2,000 m: Krubera Cave at -2,197 m (-7,208 ft. Reached in 2012) and Veryovkina Cave at -2,212 (-7,257 ft. Reached in 2018).
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Tbilisi’s GPS coordinates are 41 41 N 44 50 E. Tbilisi’s local time is 9 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+4.
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. A Georgian golden age followed domination by Persians, Arabs, and Turks (11th-13th centuries) 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 parliamentary 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 (UNM) party. Progress on market reforms and democratization has been made since independence. Still, 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. Still, in late August 2008, Russia unilaterally recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and Russian military forces remain in those regions. Billionaire Bidzina IVANISHVILI’s unexpected entry into politics in October 2011 brought the divided opposition together under his Georgian Dream coalition, which won most seats in the October 2012 parliamentary elections and removed UNM from power. Conceding defeat, SAAKASHVILI named IVANISHVILI as prime minister and allowed the Georgian Dream to create a new government. Giorgi MARGVELASHVILI was inaugurated as president on 17 November 2013, ending a tense year of power-sharing between SAAKASHVILI and IVANISHVILI. At the time, these leadership changes represented unique examples of a former Soviet state that emerged to conduct democratic and peaceful government transitions of power. IVANISHVILI voluntarily resigned from office after the presidential succession, and Georgia’s legislature on 20 November 2013 confirmed Irakli GARIBASHVILI as his replacement. GARIBASHVILI was replaced by Giorgi KVIRIKASHVILI in December 2015. KVIRIKASHVILI remained prime minister following the Georgian Dream’s success in the October 2016 parliamentary elections, where the party won a constitutional majority. IVANISHVILI reemerged as Georgian Dream party chairman in April 2018. KVIRIKASHVILI resigned in June 2018 and was replaced by Mamuka BAKHTADZE. In September 2019, BAKHTADZE resigned, and Giorgi GAKHARIA was named the country’s new head of government, Georgia’s fifth prime minister in seven years. Popular and government support for integration with the West is high in Georgia. Joining the EU and NATO are among the country’s top foreign policy goals.
Georgia’s names conventional long form: none, traditional short way: Georgia, local extended state: none, local short form: Sak’art’velo, former: Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, etymology: the Western name may derive from the Persian designation “gurgan” meaning “Land of the wolves”; the native name “Sak’art’velo” means “Land of the Kartvelians” and refers to the core central Georgian region of Kartli. The Western name may derive from the Persian designation “gurgan,” meaning “Land of the Wolves”; The native name “Sak’art’velo” means “Land of the Kartvelians” and refers to the core central Georgian region of Kartli.
Georgia’s terrain is typically mostly mountainous with the 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; fertile soils in river valley flood plains and foothills of Kolkhida Lowland. The country’s mean elevation: 1,432 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: the Black Sea 0 m, highest point: Mt’a Shkhara 5,201 m.
The general climate in the country; warm and pleasant: Mediterranean-like on the Black Sea coast.
The total number of border countries is 4, Armenia 219 km, Azerbaijan 428 km, Russia 894 km; Turkey 273 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Georgia’s coastline is 310 km, while its marital claims are: territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles. Waterways: N/A. Land use: agricultural land: 35.5%; arable land 5.8%; permanent crops 1.8%; permanent pasture 27.9%; forest: 39.4%; other: 25.1% (2011 estimate).
The population in Georgia 4.003 million (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 53.6% of total population (2015), major urban area’s population: TBILISI (capital) 1.147 million (2015), while Georgia has settlement coincides closely to the central valley, with emphasis on the capital city of Tbilisi in the east; smaller urban agglomerations dot the Black Sea coast, with Bat’umi being the largest. Their spoken languages are: Georgian (official language) 87.6%, Azeri 6.2%, Armenian 3.9%, Russian 1.2%, other 1%. Note: Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia (2014 estimate). Main religions in Georgia are Orthodox (official) 83.4%, Muslim 10.7%, Armenian Apostolic 2.9%, other 1.2% (includes Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness, Yazidi, Protestant, Jewish), none 0.5%, unspecified/no answer 1.2% (2014 estimate). The nation uses civil law system. It is a(n) semi-presidential republic, National holiday(s) Independence Day, 26 May (1918).
Economic overview for the country: Georgia’s main economic activities include cultivation of agricultural products such as grapes, citrus fruits, and hazelnuts; mining of manganese, copper, and gold; And producing alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, metals, machinery, and chemicals in small-scale industries. The country imports nearly all of its needed supplies of natural gas and oil products. It has a sizeable hydropower capacity that now provides most of its electricity needs. Georgia has overcome the chronic energy shortages and gas supply interruptions of the past by renovating hydropower plants and by increasingly relying on natural gas imports from Azerbaijan instead of from Russia.
Construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the South Caucasus gas pipeline, and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad is part of a strategy to capitalize on Georgia’s strategic location between Europe and Asia and develop its role as a transit hub for gas, oil, and other goods. Georgia’s economy sustained more than 10% in 2006-2007, based on strong inflows of foreign investment, remittances, and robust government spending. However, GDP growth slowed following the August 2008 conflict with Russia. It sank to negative 4% in 2009 as foreign direct investment and workers’ remittances declined in the wake of the global financial crisis. The economy rebounded in the period 2010-2017, but FDI inflows, the engine of Georgian economic growth before the 2008 conflict, have not recovered fully. Unemployment remains persistently high.
The country is pinning its hopes for faster growth on a continued effort to build up infrastructure, enhance support for entrepreneurship, simplify regulations, and improve professional education, attract foreign investment, and boost employment, focusing on transportation projects, tourism, hydropower, and agriculture. Georgia had historically suffered from a chronic failure to collect tax revenues; however, since 2004, the government has simplified the tax code, increased tax enforcement, and cracked down on petty corruption, leading to higher revenues. The government has received high marks from the World Bank for improvements in business transparency. Since 2012, the Georgian Dream-led government has continued the previous administration’s low-regulation, low-tax, free-market policies while modestly increasing social spending and amending the labor code to comply with International Labor Standards. In mid-2014, Georgia concluded an association agreement with the EU, paving the way to free trade and visa-free travel. In 2017, Georgia signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China as part of Tbilisi’s efforts to diversify its economic ties. Georgia is seeking to develop its Black Sea ports to facilitate East-West trade further.
Natural resources of Georgia: timber, hydropower, manganese deposits, iron ore, copper, minor coal and oil deposits; coastal climate and soils allow for important tea and citrus growth.
When you visit this country in Asia, consider the natural hazards in Georgia: Earthquakes, while infectious diseases are N/A. Also, note that Georgia faces the following environmental issues: Air pollution, particularly in Rust’avi, Heavy water pollution of Mtkvari River and the Black Sea, Inadequate supplies of potable water, Soil pollution from toxic chemicals, Land and forest degradation, Biodiversity loss, waste management.