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Georgia Information - Page 2
The Greeks were early migrants to Georgia founding colonies such as Phazisi.

Over the centuries other peoples came to the area including Persians, the armies of Alexander, Seleucids, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Seljuk Turks, Mongols, Persian Safavids, Ottoman Turks and Russians.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century most of present-day Georgia became part of the Russian Empire.

Georgia declared independence after the Russian Revolution but in 1922 joined the USSR together with Armenia and Azerbaijan to form the Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic.

Reorganisation within the USSR in 1936 led to Georgia becoming the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. (Members of the former USSR were Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Estonia - from WW2, Latvia - from WW2, Lithuania - from WW2 and Moldova - from WW2).

Following the Second World War, a "Cold War" existed between the USSR and the West. This situation continued until Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985 introducing extensive political and economic reforms (Perestroika) and calling for a greater openness (Glasnost) between nations.

Towards the end of 1991 the USSR was dissolved and Georgia became independent.

Independence was followed by civil war and conflict in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Peacekeeping forces were deployed in both regions. Eduard Shevardnadze, the former Soviet Foreign Minister, led the country between 1992 and 2003.

After independence Georgia suffered economic problems, aggravated by internal conflict. From the mid 1990s, and with the assistance of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Georgia's economy began to make progress.

The construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum gas pipeline brought investment to the country.

Industries include mining (manganese and copper), steel, aircraft, machine tools, electrical goods, chemicals, wood products and wine.

Agriculture, accounting for the smallest percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employs the largest percentage of the working population. Agricultural products are citrus fruits, grapes, hazelnuts, vegetables and tea. Livestock is reared.

The services sector is the largest contributor to the GDP. Tourism has the potential to assist the economy and Georgia is keen to promote its history, culture, Black Sea holiday centres and skiing resorts.

Religion has played a significant part in the history of Georgia's art, music and learning. The Gelati Monastery was an important centre of learning from the eleventh century and contains a large number of murals and mosaics.

Georgian rulers were patrons of the arts and the twelfth century, in particular, was a golden age of Georgian literature. The poet Rustaveli has been compared with the world's greatest writers; his most famous work is the Georgian national epic, A Knight in the Tiger-Skin.

Cultural institutions include the Marjanishvili State Academic Theatre, the Shota Rustaveli Theatre, the Georgian National Ballet, the Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra, the Georgian State Chamber Orchestra, the Rustavi Choir and the Georgian State Dance Company.

Georgia takes part in many international sports events including the Olympic Games. Georgian sportsmen and sportswomen compete in athletics, archery, boxing, diving, fencing, gymnastics, judo, shooting, yachting, weightlifting and wrestling.

Other sports played in Georgia are football, basketball, rugby and tennis.

The mountainous terrain provides opportunities for a variety of sports such as climbing and skiing.

Christmas (Orthodox) and Easter and other religious holy days are celebrated. Other holidays and days commemorated include New Years Day - 1 January, Independence Day - May 26 and St George's Day - 23 November.

News is available from Newslink.

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