Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Georgia (Tiflis)

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GEORGIA (by the Russians called Grusia, by the natives Karthli), formerly a kingdom, then included in the Russian government of Tiflis. The natives are a fine-looking race, the Georgian women, like the Circassians, being celebrated for their beauty. The Georgian language, together with that of the Mingrelians, Lazes, and other Caucasian peoples, seems, according to the latest researches, to form a perfectly distinct linguistic family. It possesses a not unimportant literature, commencing with the introduction of Christianity into the country. The history of the Georgians first becomes truthworthy about the time of Alexander the Great, to whom they became subject. About 324 B. C. they gained their independence under Pharnavas. They became Christianized toward the end of the 4th century. After yielding for a time to the supremacy of the Arabian caliphs, Georgia regained its independence toward the end of the 10th century, which it retained till 1799, when Heraclius, successor of George XI., formally ceded his dominions to the Russian emperor Paul. When the Bolsheviks assumed power in Russia in November, 1917, the Georgians with Tartars and Armenians formed the Transcaucasian state. Independence was declared April 22, 1918. Out of this developed the independent state of Georgia, May 26, 1918. The Act of Independence was confirmed, and ratified by the National Council, March 12, 1919, and recognized by the Allies, Jan. 16, 1920. Georgia has an area of 35,500 square miles. It is bounded on the N. by the Caucasus, E. by Republic of Azerbaijan, S. by Armenia and S. W. by Turkey. Pop. about 3,200,000. Capital, Tiflis, pop. 347,000.