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Georgian Americans

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Georgian Americans
ქართველი ამერიკელები
Total population
30,000 Georgian immigrants (2018-2022 data)[1][2]
Regions with significant populations
New York metropolitan area (including Northern New Jersey),[3][4][5][6] and other major U.S. metro areas such as Greater Los Angeles[3]
Georgian, English
Predominantly Georgian Orthodox
minority Catholic
Related ethnic groups
Georgian diaspora

Georgian Americans (Georgian: ქართველი ამერიკელები, romanized: kartveli amerik'elebi) are Americans of full or partial Georgian ancestry. They encompass ethnic Georgians who have immigrated to the U.S. from Georgia, as well as other areas with significant Georgian populations, such as Russia.

The precise number of Americans of Georgian descent is unknown. This is because 19th and 20th century U.S. immigration records often did not differentiate between various ethnic groups originating in the Russian Empire, which had slowly annexed Georgia starting from year 1801 and of which it remained a part until 1918.


George Balanchine, the "father of American ballet",[7] founder of the New York City Ballet

Early stages of immigration[edit]

Georgian horsemen in the USA.

The earliest recorded Georgian immigrants to the US were the Georgian horsemen. One group came in 1893 as part of a troupe of Cossack horsemen hired by Buffalo Bill Cody and his Congress of Rough Riders.

The number of Georgians coming to the U.S. saw an increase after political upheavals of the Russian Revolution forced the Georgian nobility and intellectuals, including those residing in other parts of the Russian Empire, to move to the U.S. In just several years, another wave of immigration of Georgians was triggered by the Red Army invasion of Georgia, which led to the exodus of intellectuals who were in fear of deportation and imminent death in Russian Siberia. A notable example of pre-Soviet immigration of ethnic Georgians is that of George Balanchine, whose immediate family was split between U.S. and Soviet Georgia.

Immigration during and following the Soviet Union[edit]

General John Shalikashvili, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Supreme Allied Commander

Emigration from Georgia was brought to a halt in the 1920s and 1930s, when the Soviet Union put in place restrictions on travel, both in and out of the Union. Despite these restrictions, some Georgians managed to flee to the U.S. during World War II. These were primarily ethnic Georgians who lived in liberated parts of Eastern Europe, as well as members of the Georgian military who were stationed or otherwise resided abroad. Such was the case with John Shalikashvili, a son of a Georgian officer, who would rise to become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Supreme Allied Commander.

Following World War II, emigration from Soviet Georgia was virtually nonexistent until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, after which an estimated one-fifth of Georgia's population left due to economic hardships. Unlike the first half of the 20th century, this final wave of emigration was wide-reaching and not limited to intellectuals or military personnel.


There are several concentrations of Georgians throughout the United States including the New York metropolitan area; Chicago; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco; the Washington metropolitan area; the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, and others.[8] Dayton, Ohio, has a sizable Meskhetian Turk population, the majority of whom are from Georgia. During the 1970s, many Georgian Jews immigrated to Brooklyn, New York.[9]


Georgian-Americans created several organizations in order to maintain their culture. In 1924, organizations of Georgian-Americans were founded in the cities of San Francisco and New York. These organizations held cultural and social events, and has helped other immigrants. Between 1955 and 1975, the American press was very active in Georgia. Kartuli Azri (Georgian Opinion) was the most popular newspaper and its maintenance was based primarily on donations from Americans in Georgia. Although, over the years, Georgians have adapted to American culture, Georgian Americans still retain aspects of Georgian culture.

Some members of the Georgian-Jewish community in New York keep their ancestral Judeo-Georgian language.

Notable people[edit]

A List of Georgian Americans. The list includes American-born people of Georgian descent and immigrants to the United States who are now American citizens.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "U.S. Immigrant Population by State and County, 2018-2022". Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved May 12, 2024.
  2. ^ "Table 1. First, Second, and Total Responses to the Ancestry Question by Detailed Ancestry Code: 2000". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  3. ^ a b "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2012 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  4. ^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2011 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  5. ^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2010 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  6. ^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2009 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  7. ^ Life Magazine. Volume 7. New York, NY: Time, Incorporated, 1984, p 139.
  8. ^ "Georgians".
  9. ^ "Georgians in the USA | Georgian Association".

Further reading[edit]

  • Araviashvili, Maia; Ladaria, Konstantine (2021). "Constructing sites of memory and practising nationalism beyond the homeland: Georgian migrants in the USA and Germany". Caucasus Survey. 9 (3): 286–299. doi:10.1080/23761199.2021.1966234. S2CID 238723850.
  • Bridges, Peter. "Georgia and America–Early Contacts." American Diplomacy (2011). online
  • Wertsman, Vladimir F. "Georgian Americans." in Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America, edited by Thomas Riggs, (3rd ed., vol. 2, Gale, 2014), pp. 197-206. online

External links[edit]