This is the
first study to chronicle the history of Georgia from the first stirrings of civilization
during the tenth century BC to the post-Rose Revolution society of the present
day. Now positioned strategically on the great oil pipelines from the Caspian
and Central Asia, in the fourth century, Georgia was one of the very first kingdoms
to convert to Christianity, a faith that proved crucial to maintaining its identity
through the subsequent waves of invading Arabs, Persians, and Mongols.
such upheaval, unification of its many kingdoms took place during the 12th century
under King David 'The Builder' and a Golden Age then followed under the long reign
of Queen Tamar. By the beginning of the 19th century, however, tsarist Russia
had invaded and absorbed the Georgian kingdom as part of its colonial expansion
and suppressed its national church. The subsequent rise of the Communists meant
a period of brief independence in 1921 before succumbing to 70 years as a republic
within the USSR.
The fact that both Stalin and Beria were native sons did
not spare Georgia during the devastation of the Terror years and purges during
the1930s and 40s. In April 1991, Georgia was the first republic to secede, triggering
the collapse of the USSR, while plunging the newly independent state into civil
war. Former Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shvardnadze returned to his homeland
to restore a degree stability. Today, Georgians once again find themselves rebuilding
their nation and cultural institutions, ever wary of Russian interference in their
internal affairs while continuing to court the West Ð in 2009, Georgia will become
a member of NATO.
256 pages with 100 illustrations & maps