Facts about Georgia
|Population||4,630,841 (July 2008 est.|
|Time zone||UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)|
Southwestern Asia, bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia
General info about Georgia
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. Domination by Persians, Arabs, and Turks was followed by a Georgian golden age (11th-13th centuries) that was 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 until the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. An attempt by the incumbent Georgian government to manipulate national legislative elections in November 2003 touched off widespread protests that led to the resignation of Eduard SHEVARDNADZE, president since 1995. New elections in early 2004 swept Mikheil SAAKASHVILI into power along with his National Movement party. Progress on market reforms and democratization has been made in the years since independence, but this progress has been complicated by Russian assistance and support to the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgian military action in South Ossetia in early August 2008 led to a Russian military response that not only occupied the breakaway areas, but large portions of Georgia proper as well. Russian troops pulled back from most occupied Georgian territory, but in late August 2008 Russia unilaterally recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This action was strongly condemned by most of the world's nations and international organizations.
Georgian 71% (official), Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azeri 6%, other 7%
note: Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia
What about drugs?
limited cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy, mostly for domestic consumption; used as transshipment point for opiates via Central Asia to Western Europe and Russia
Georgian 83.8%, Azeri 6.5%, Armenian 5.7%, Russian 1.5%, other 2.5% (2002 census)
HIV/AIDS prevalence rate
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
warm and pleasant; Mediterranean-like on Black Sea coast
forests, hydropower, manganese deposits, iron ore, copper, minor coal and oil deposits; coastal climate and soils allow for important tea and citrus growth
Georgia's economy sustained GDP growth of close to 10% in 2006 and 12% in 2007, based on strong inflows of foreign investment and robust government spending. However, growth slowed to less than 7% in 2008 and is expected to slow further in 2009. Georgia's main economic activities include the cultivation of agricultural products such as grapes, citrus fruits, and hazelnuts; mining of manganese and copper; and output of a small industrial sector producing alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, metals, machinery, aircraft and chemicals. The country imports nearly all its needed supplies of natural gas and oil products. It has sizeable hydropower capacity, a growing component of its energy supplies. Areas of recent improvement include growth in the construction, banking services, and mining sectors, but reduced availability of external investment and the slowing regional economy are emerging risks. Georgia has historically suffered from a chronic failure to collect tax revenues; however, the government has made great progress and has reformed the tax code, improved tax administration, increased tax enforcement, and cracked down on corruption since coming to power in 2004. Government revenues have increased nearly four fold since 2003. Due to improvements in customs and tax enforcement, smuggling is a declining problem. Georgia has overcome the chronic energy shortages of the past by renovating hydropower plants and by bringing in newly available natural gas supplies from Azerbaijan, signing a Memorandum of Understanding and gas supply agreements in Fall 2008. It also has an increased ability to pay for more expensive gas imports from Russia. The country is pinning its hopes for long-term growth on a determined effort to reduce regulation, taxes, and corruption in order to attract foreign investment, but the economy faces a more difficult investment climate both domestically and internationally. The construction on the Baku-T'bilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Baku-T'bilisi-Erzerum gas pipeline, and the Kars-Akhalkalaki Railroad are part of a strategy to capitalize on Georgia's strategic location between Europe and Asia and develop its role as a transit point for gas, oil and other goods.
air pollution, particularly in Rust'avi; heavy pollution of Mtkvari River and the Black Sea; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil pollution from toxic chemicals
Cities in Georgiaabasha abastumani adigeni agara akhaldaba akhalgori akhmeta ambrolauri aspindza bakuriani bakurianis andeziti bediani bolnisi borjomi didi lilo dioknisi dmanisi gagra gali gardabani gori gurjaani java jvari kaspi kazbegi kharagauli khashuri khobi khoni khulo kojori kornisi kulashi kvaisi kvareli lagodekhi lajanurhesi lentekhi makhinjauri manglisi marneuli martvili mestia naruja ninotsminda ochamchira oni pitsunda sagarejo samtredia senaki shaumiani shorapani shuakhevi signagi sioni sukhumi surami tbilisi tkibuli tkvarcheli tsagveri tsalenjikha tsalka tskaltubo tskneti tsnori ureki vale vani zahesi zugdidi