Borchaly uezd

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Borchaly uezd
Борчалинскій уѣздъ
Coat of arms of Borchaly uezd
Location in the Tiflis Governorate
Location in the Tiflis Governorate
CountryRussian Empire
CapitalShulavery (Shaumiani)
 • Total6,881.82 km2 (2,657.09 sq mi)
 • Total169,351
 • Density25/km2 (64/sq mi)
 • Rural

The Borchaly uezd (pre-reform Russian: Борчали́нскій уѣ́здъ, tr. Borchalínsky uyézd; Georgian: ბორჩალოს მაზრა; Armenian: Բորչալուի գավառ; Azerbaijani: Borçalı qəzası) was an uezd ("county") of the Tiflis Governorate of the Caucasus Viceroyalty of the Russian Empire, and then of Democratic Republic of Georgia and of Democratic Republic of Armenia, with its administrative center in Shulavery (Shaumiani).[1][2] The area of the uezd roughly corresponded to the contemporary Lori Province of Armenia and the Kvemo Kartli region of Georgia.


Borchaly Mafrash (bedding bag) textile, late 19th century

The Debed river, formerly known as the Borchala (Russian: Борчала), gave the name of the uezd, however, the region was also known as Borchalo (ბორჩალო) in Georgian, Borchalu (Բորչալու) in Armenian, and Borchali (Azerbaijani: Borçalı) in Azerbaijani. The Turkic locals were resettled to the Debed river valley through the policy of Shah Abbas I (c.1571-1629) after his successful campaigns against the Kingdoms of Kartli and Kakheti that led to the formation of several Qizilbash khanates. The region was later reincorporated into the Kingdom of Kartli in the 18th century, subsequently being incorporated into the Kartli-Kakheti monarchy in 1762. In 1801, through Russia's annexation of eastern Georgia, Borchaly became part of Russia's Georgia Governorate, which was eventually transformed to become the Tiflis Governorate.

Following the Russian Revolution and the short-lived independence of the Democratic Republic of Georgia and the First Republic of Armenia, the Borchaly uezd became the site of a 2-week-war between the two countries in December 1918, until its British-brokered ceasefire starting 1 January 1919. Most of northern Lori centered around Alaverdi was transformed into a neutral zone and patrolled by British troops of the 27th Division, until their mid-1919 withdrawal. Armenian and Georgian troops led by commissars A. Lordkipanidze and G. Vardapetyan, respectively, supplanted the British in the region. The Armenian government would later complain that Lordkipanidze was unsuccessfully trying to convince Azerbaijani and Russian villages in the neutral zone to join Georgia.[3]

In late 1920, the neutral zone of Lori and the southernmost section of the Lori Uchastok which had been annexed to Armenia was with their permission reincorporated into Georgia for the safety of its inhabitants as a result of the Turkish-Armenian War. Georgia continued to administer the reunited Borchaly uezd until its Sovietization and the district's partition between the newly-formed Armenian and Georgian Soviet republics.

Administrative divisions[edit]

The uchastoks ("subcounties") of the Borchaly uezd were:[4]

Uchastok Russian name 1912 population Area
sq. vst. sq. km.
Borchalinsky (Debed) Борчалинскій участокъ 33,923 727.97 828.48
Yekaterinenfeldsky (Bolnisi) Екатериненфелдьскій участокъ 23,797 913.64 1,039.78
Loriysky (Lori) Лорійскій участокъ 45,119 2,182.76 2,484.12
Trialetsky (Trialeti) Тріалетскій участокъ 53,031 2,212.59 2,518.07


Russian Empire census (1897)[edit]

According to the Russian Empire Census of 1897, the Borchaly uezd had a population of 128,587, including 70,501 men and 58,086 women. The plurality of the population indicated Armenian to be their mother tongue, with significant Tatar (later known as Azerbaijani), Greek, Russian, and Georgian speaking minorities.[5]

Linguistic composition of the Borchaly uezd in 1897[5]
Language Native speakers %
Armenian 47,423 36.88
Tatar[a] 37,742 29.35
Greek 21,393 16.64
Russian 8,089 6.29
Georgian 7,840 6.10
German 2,496 1.94
Ukrainian 1,241 0.97
Ossetian 628 0.49
Polish 264 0.21
Avar-Andean 240 0.19
Turkish 162 0.13
Jewish 153 0.12
Talysh 151 0.12
Persian 121 0.09
Kurdish 108 0.08
Italian 106 0.08
Kyurin 102 0.08
Lithuanian 54 0.04
Kazi-Kumukh 53 0.04
Dargin 27 0.02
Assyrian 19 0.01
Belarusian 19 0.01
Imeretian 17 0.01
Chechen 8 0.01
French 7 0.01
Mingrelian 6 0.00
Chuvash 4 0.00
Latvian 4 0.00
Romanian 3 0.00
Czech 1 0.00
Other 106 0.08
TOTAL 128,587 100.00

Caucasian Calendar (1917)[edit]

According to the 1917 publication of the Caucasian Calendar, the Borchaly uezd had 169,351 residents in 1916, including 89,040 men and 80,311 women, 160,447 of whom were the permanent population, and 8,904 were temporary residents:[6]

Nationality Number %
Armenians 63,702 37.62
Sunni Muslims 33,320 19.68
Asiatic Christians 30,762 18.16
Shia Muslims 17,910 10.58
Georgians 10,419 6.15
Russians[b] 8,772 5.18
Other Europeans 3,601 2.13
North Caucasians 366 0.22
Roma 255 0.15
Jews 244 0.14
TOTAL 169,351 100.00

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Later known as Azerbaijani.
  2. ^ The Caucasian Calendar did not distinguish between Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians.


  1. ^ Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopaedia: Tiflis Governorate (in Russian)
  2. ^ Tsutsiev, Arthur (2014), Atlas of the Ethno-Political History of the Caucasus, New Haven and London, p. 164, ISBN 978-0-300-15308-8, OCLC 884858065, retrieved 2021-12-25
  3. ^ Hovannisian, Richard G. (1971–1996). The Republic of Armenia. Vol. 2. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 159. ISBN 0-520-01805-2. OCLC 238471.
  4. ^ Кавказский календарь на 1913 год [Caucasian calendar for 1913] (in Russian) (68th ed.). Tiflis: Tipografiya kantselyarii Ye.I.V. na Kavkaze, kazenny dom. 1913. pp. 164–175. Archived from the original on 19 April 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Демоскоп Weekly - Приложение. Справочник статистических показателей". Retrieved 2022-06-30.
  6. ^ Кавказский календарь на 1917 год [Caucasian calendar for 1917] (in Russian) (72nd ed.). Tiflis: Tipografiya kantselyarii Ye.I.V. na Kavkaze, kazenny dom. 1917. pp. 206–213. Archived from the original on 4 November 2021.

Coordinates: 41°20′38″N 44°45′30″E / 41.34389°N 44.75833°E / 41.34389; 44.75833