The Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic (GSSR) is located in the Transcaucasian region. It is limited to the West by the Black Sea, of which it occupies the eastern coast from the mouth of the Ingur River to the village of Sarp; in the NE. the border runs for a stretch along the course of the Ingur, then follows the main Caucasus range up to the Ancal massif; in S. Georgia borders with Turkey, then with the Republic of Armenia; to E. with the Republic of Azerbaijan. The total area is 70,218 sq km. The Georgian Republic was proclaimed on February 25, 1921.
Georgia is divided into eastern and western. It was once divided, administratively, into the two governments of Tiflis and Kutais; now it has 16 districts in turn divided into rajony.
The republics of Adžaristan (Adžarskaja ASSR), South Ossetia (Ju.-OAO) and Abchazia (Abchazskaja SSR) gravitate in the orbit of the Georgian republic.
According to Rctoysadvice, capital of Georgia and Transcaucasia is Tiflis, which has 294,000 residents (1926).
In ancient times Georgia was known under various names, Colchis, Iberia, Albania: the present name is of Persian origin. For the Persians, in fact, and for the Arabs, the name Gurgist ā n indicated the country of the Kura; from it derive the Turkish form of Gurgi and that used by the Russians of Gruzija. The rumor Georgia was spread in Europe by the monks who visited or learned of those regions in the thirteenth century. Georgians themselves rarely use this denomination, rather using their national name of K ‛ art ‛ li (residents K ‛ art ‛ velni), whence that, given to the country, of Sak‛art‛velo.
The territory of the republic consists first of all of the southern slope of the central region of the Caucasus proper; it is therefore a purely mountainous region. Various buttresses detach from it, one of which, called the Suram mountains, connects the Caucasus system to the Transcaucasian mountains and more especially to the Little Caucasus, dividing the Rion valley to the West from the Kura valley to E. it is quite uniform and the coast is flat, except in the vicinity of the southern border. The climate of Georgia is, on the whole, very mild, although there are considerable differences between the coastal region, which is rather unhealthy, and the mountainous area with an excellent climate; rainfall is very abundant especially in the W, in the Rion and Ingur valleys. Hydrography has two sides, one western or the Black Sea, the other eastern or the Caspian Sea. To the first belong the Ingur and the Rion, to the second the Kura, the Mtkvari of the Georgians, a tributary of the Arasse and which is the most important watercourse in the Transcaucasian region; also its tributaries Alazan ′ and Jora should be mentioned. The spontaneous vegetation is very luxuriant in the Ingur and Rion valleys due to the great abundance of rains; broad-leaved trees and various plant species typical of Mediterranean countries predominate; towards E. instead, due to the relative aridity of the soil and the drought of the climate, the vegetation typical of the steppes prevails; in the mountainous area of the Caucasus, in addition to coniferous forests, alpine pastures abound.
The population of today’s Georgian republic amounts to 2,660,963 residents, most of whom (68%) are Georgians (Cartveli): in fact, these were calculated in 1917 to 1,615,216, of which 723,686 inhabited eastern Georgia and 910,888 the western one. The remainder of the population consists of Armenians, Tatars, Russians and Germans. Other populations of the Caucasian linguistic stock also penetrate Georgian territory, especially Lesghi. However, Imeretia, Mingrelia, Suanetia, Guria and Lasistan have always been inhabited by populations of Georgian blood. Altogether, thirteen groups of populations scattered throughout the Georgian territory can be distinguished, and although speaking somewhat different languages, they understand each other perfectly. The Cartalini, residents in Cartalinia along the median basin of the Kura and which number about 450,000 individuals; the Cacheti (Kakhi ; 150,000) located along the upper and middle courses of Alazan and Jora; the Tusci (T ‛ u š i ; 10,000) of the northern slope of the main Caucasus range, divided into four groups, one of which speaks a Chechen dialect; the Chevsuri (Khevsuri ; 10,000) distributed on both sides of the Caucasus range to the W of the previous ones; i P š avi (P ‛ š avi ; 15,000) in S. dei Chevsuri, along the course of the Aragva and the Jora; the Mthiuli (Mt ‛ iuli) of the central Caucasus massif; the Ingiloi (15,000) from the Zakataly district and the Meschi (Meskhi), both Muslims; the ‘ Imerî (Imereli ; 150,000) of the basin of the Kvirila and Rion rivers, in the region they call Imeretia; the Guri (Gureli ; 110,000) between the course of the Rion and the mountains of Agiaristan. The groups of western Georgia, although detaching themselves for the language, are similar to the previous ones: they are the Suani (Svani 20,000) in Suanetia or the region around the upper reaches of the Ingur; the Mingrelî (Megreli ; 280,000) in the Mingrelia or territory between the Rion, the Ingur and the Black Sea; and the Muslim Lasi (Lazi), who live partly in Agiaristan and partly in Lasistan, that is, along the Black Sea coast up to Trebizond. Georgians have a characteristic physical type: they are of medium height, slender, robust, have regular features, penetrating black eyes, dark curly hair, are rough but frank, liberal and hospitable, with a combative spirit. The Armenians, very numerous, live mainly in the cities exercising trade: the Jews, called Uriah by the Georgians, they live in their own villages although they tend to be confused with the Georgians themselves.
Georgia is a predominantly agricultural country. The most important crop is that of cereals: wheat in the eastern part of the country, maize in the western part (export of a considerable quantity of product). Viticulture is also important, which occupies about 60,000 hectares; the wines that are obtained, however, are poorly processed and are difficult to keep. Among the plants of industrial use, tobacco occupies the first place; it is grown especially along the Black Sea coast (the tobacco of Suchum, in Abkhazia, is very famous, competing with the Turkish one). Other notable crops are developing cotton, fruit trees, tea and sesame. The forests extend over about ⅓ of the Georgian territory, and are rich in excellent wood species. Broad-leaved woods prevail (¾ of the total); the coniferous forests occupy the highest areas, and consist mainly of Abies Nodmannia, Picea orientalis, Pinus silvestris. There are numerous essences that give tanning and medicinal extracts.
Mountain pastures occupy large areas, but since fodder is scarce in low-lying areas almost everywhere, livestock farming is of little importance in the country. Pigs are mainly raised in western Georgia, and cattle in western Georgia; here the dairy industry has also begun to develop with rational methods. There are many goats and sheep throughout the country. In western Georgia the breeding of the silkworm is remarkable: the cocoons are exported in the majority.
The mineral wealth consists mainly of manganese ores, extracted in the Čjatury region (province of Kutais), where there are huge reserves, the most important in the world after those of the United States; copper ores, mined in the Alaverdi region, in the Telav district and in the Artvin district and near Batum; iron ore, found in Čatach in the Borčalo district; and the hard coal, which is extracted in Tkvibuli, not far from Kutais, and in Tkvarčeli, a town located about thirty kilometers away. from the Black Sea, behind Očemčiri.
The industry still has all the characteristics of the small oriental domestic industry: the main products are carpets, sidearms and pottery. Georgia is crossed by the Transcaucasian railway which connects Baku and Batum, passing through Tiflis and Kutais, and with a branch reaches Poti. Minor branches lead from the main trunk to the mining districts of Čjatury and Tkvibuli, to the health resort of Bukuriani in the Little Caucasus, to the city of Telav in Cachetia, and to the Armenian border. In addition, the pipe line that goes from the Baku wells to the Black Sea ends in Batum. Batum and Poti are therefore the two ports where Europe’s oil importers come to get their supplies.