Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti
The Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti (Georgian: ქართლ-კახეთის სამეფო) (1762–1801 or 1801) was created in 1762 by the unification of two eastern Georgian kingdoms, which had existed independently since the disintegration of the united Georgian Kingdom in the 15th century.
Historically, Kartli was the dominant province in Georgia, but at that time, it was weakened by Persian military invasions more than its neighboring kingdom from the east. Therefore, the Kings of Kakheti became the rulers of the new kingdom and Telavi, the capital of Kakheti, the capital of the new state. The unification did not deter the Persian Empire from its aggression towards Georgia and by the end of 18th century the frequently attacked Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti was almost devastated.
Seeking protection from these attacks, in 1783 King Irakli (Erekle) II concluded the Treaty of Georgievsk with Russia, resulting in the transfer of responsibility for defense and foreign affairs in the eastern kingdom. However, Erekle II was successful in retaining internal autonomy in his kingdom.
On January 14, 1798, King Erekle II was succeeded on the throne by his eldest son, George XII (1746–1800) who, on February 22, 1799, recognized his own eldest son, the Tsarevich David (Davit Bagrationi-batonishvili), 1767–1819, as official heir apparent. In the same year Russian troops were stationed in Kartli-Kakheti. Pursuant to article VI of the 1783 treaty, Emperor Paul confirmed David’s claim to reign as the next king on April 18, 1799. But strife broke out among King George’s many sons and those of his late father over the throne, Erekle II having changed the succession order at the behest of his third wife, Queen Darejan (Darya), to favor the accession of younger brothers of deceased kings over their own sons.
The resulting dynastic upheaval prompted King George to secretly invite Paul I of Russia to invade Kartli-Kakheti, subdue the Bagrationi princes, and govern the kingdom from St. Petersburg, on the condition that George and his descendants be allowed to continue to reign nominally – in effect, offering to mediatise the Bagrationi dynasty under the Romanov emperors. Continued pressure from Persia, also prompted George XII's request for Russian intervention.
Paul tentatively accepted this offer, but before negotiations could be finalized changed his mind and issued a decree on December 18, 1800 annexing Kartli-Kakheti to Russia and deposing the Bagratids. Paul himself was assassinated shortly thereafter. It is said that his successor, Emperor Alexander I, considered retracting the annexation in favor of a Bagratid heir, but being unable to identify one likely to retain the crown, on September 12, 1801 Alexander proceeded to confirm annexation. Meanwhile, King George had died on December 28, 1800, before learning that he had lost his throne. By the following April, Russian troops took control of the country’s administration and in February 1803 Tsarevich David Bagrationi was escorted by Russian troops from Tbilisi to St. Petersburg. Russian troops finally left the country just over two hundred years later in July 2001.
Kings of Kartli-Kakheti
- Eur, Imogen Bell (2002). Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia 2003. Taylor & Francis. p. 170. ISBN 1-85743-137-5.
- Encyclopædia Britannica, "Treaty of Georgievsk", 2008, retrieved 2008-6-16
- Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh, 1980, "Burke’s Royal Families of the World: Volume II Africa & the Middle East, page 59 ISBN 0-85011-029-7
- Tsagareli, A (1902). Charters and other historical documents of the XVIII century regarding Georgia. pp. 287–288.
Media related to Kartli-Kakheti at Wikimedia Commons