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Javakhians (Georgian: ჯავახები) are an ethnic subgroup of Georgians, mainly living in Javakheti. Javakhians are the indigenous population of Javakheti – Akhalkalaki, Ninotsminda and Aspindza municipalities of Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia. In terminology, the name Javakheti is taken from "javakh" core with traditional Georgian –eti suffix; commonly, Javakheti means the home of Javakhs. Javakhians speak the Georgian language in Javakhian dialect. The self-designation of Javakhians is Javakhi.

Javakhian Family from Akhalkalaki, 1896


Armenian Ukhtanes talks about the family tree of Kyrion, the Catholicos of Georgia. The literal translation of this text is as follows: Kyrion "came from the Georgians in terms of country and lineage, from the region of the Javakhs." There can be no doubt that Ukhtanes believed Javakheti to be part of Georgia (Iberia), and the Javakhs to be Georgians. When relating about his ancestors, the representatives of the once illustrious Georgian feudal family of Orbeli, 13th century historian, Armenianized Georgian Stepanos Orbelian, states that they received many estates from the rulers of Kartli (Georgia), including the fortress of Orbeti, "settled in the borough of Orbeti and, after a long time, were called Orbuls, that is, Orbets, after the name of this fortress, since this tribe (that is, Georgians) had the custom of naming its princes after the place they lived, for example, Eristavs from (the region) Ereti, Javakhurs from Javakheti, Kakhetian from Kakheti ..."

It is of course clear from the context that, for this Armenian historian too, Javakheti (and he uses precisely the Georgian form of the name of the region) and its population (to designate which he again uses the ancient Georgian term "javakhurni" in Armenian "javakhurkn") are a Georgian region and Georgian tribe.

And another passage from Stepanos Orbelian's History reads: in 1178, the Georgian noble, amirspasalar (commander-in-chief of the Georgian troops) Ivane Orbeli, rose up against King George III and "all the heads (of feudal families ) and the Georgian nobility were unanimous with Ivane and all set off together and came to see him at the estate (called) Darbazi: the eristavs of Kartli ... and Javakhs: Kakha and his sons, and Great Gamrekeli and Jakeli Memna" and others. This reference shows again that Javakhs (in the Armenian text, the Georgian form "javakhurni" "javakhurkn"), whom the historian lists by name (Kakha Toreli and his sons, Great Gamrekeli Toreli and Memna Jakeli), are Georgians, Georgian nobles...[1]