Kingdom of Kartli

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For an ancient kingdom of Kartli that existed in this area between c. 300 BCE and 600 CE, see Kingdom of Iberia.
Kingdom of Kartli
ქართლის სამეფო


Coat of Arms according to Prince Vakhushti's Atlas (c.1745)

Kingdom of Kartli in 1490
Capital Tbilisi
Languages Georgian
Religion Georgian Orthodox Church
Political structure Kingdom
 •  1466–1478 Bagrat VI of Georgia (first)
 •  1744–1762 Teimuraz II (last)
Historical era Early modern period
 •  Established 1466
 •  Subject of Persia 1555-1747
 •  Union of Kartli and Kakheti 1762
 •  Disestablished 1762
Today part of

The Kingdom of Kartli (Georgian: ქართლის სამეფო) was a feudal Georgian state that existed from 1466/84 to 1762, with the city of Tbilisi as its capital. Through much of this period of time the kingdom was a vassal of the Persian empire, but enjoyed intermittent periods of greater independence, especially after 1747.


In the 15th century, after a long economical and political decline, Georgia became neighbors with the increasingly volatile and aggressive Ottoman Empire, and from the 16th century with the Safavid Empire, causing the Kingdom to be in a state of almost constant war or ruled by the Persian for the entirety of its three centuries of existence. By that time, Georgia experienced high degree of civil instability, feudal separatism, and civil wars. The defeat of George VIII in the Battle of Chikhori against rebellious noble Bagrat, who proclaimed himself the King of Imereti, marked the beginning of the final disintegration of united Georgian Monarchy and the state. In 1465, George VIII was captured by Kvarkvare II Jaqeli the Atabeg of Samtskhe. Sensing opportunity, Bagrat VI immediately proclaimed himself King of Kartli as well and took control of it in 1466. Kvarkvare, fearing that Bagrat would gain too much power, released George VIII from captivity, but the king was unable to reclaim the crown and only managed to proclaim himself King of Kakheti, creating even more fragmentation. Bagrat VI continued to rule Kartli until 1478, when he was challenged by yet another pretender to the throne, Constantine II. Inter-Feudal strife continued even during the reign of Constantine, who lost the Battle of Aradeti with Kvarkvare in 1483, with Alexander son of Bagrat VI proclaiming himself as the king of the all Western Georgia in 1484. The tries of Constantine II, in 1489, to restore his rule over united kingdom of Kartli-Imereti were unsuccessful. In 1490, he was finally forced to recognize the splitting of Georgian Kingdom into Kingdoms of Kartli, Imereti, Kakheti and the Principality of Meskheti. Unfortunately, recognizing the rival monarchies didn't result in peace between these Realms. Soon after coming into power, George II of Kakheti launched an expedition against Kartli, intending to depose King David X and conquer his kingdom. David's brother Bagrat successfully defended the kingdom and managed to capture George II in the ambush. Peace didn't linger in the west either, as David X faced incursions from Alexander II of Imereti, who was somewhat less successful than his Kakhetian counterpart. In 1513 the Kingdom of Kartli managed to conquer Kakheti but only for a short time - Kingdom of Kakheti was restored with the support of local nobles by Levan of Kakheti, son and heir of George II, in 1520.[1] From the mid of the 16th century till it's dissolution in 1762, Kartli stayed under intermittent Persian rule and was an integral part of their various dynasties. It regularly paid tribute and sent gifts (pīškeš) to the shah in the form of boys and girls, horses, and wines [2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Georgian Soviet Encyclopedia, Vol. 10, pg.466-469, Tb., 1986
  2. ^ Berdzenishvili, ed., 1973, pp. 252-54