Georgia (Georgian: საქართველო; Sakartvelo; IPA: [sɑkʰɑrtʰvɛlɔ] (listen)) is a country located at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is a part of the Caucasus region, bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north and east by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. It covers 69,700 square kilometres (26,911 sq mi), and has a population of around 4.01 million. It is a unitary parliamentary republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy. Tbilisi is its capital and largest city.
During the classical era, several independent kingdoms became established in what is now Georgia, such as Colchis and Iberia. The Georgians officially adopted Christianity in the early 4th century. The Georgian Orthodox Church contributed to the spiritual and political unification of early Georgian states. In the Middle Ages, the unified Kingdom of Georgia emerged and reached its Golden Age during the reign of King David the Builder and Queen Tamar the Great in the 12th and early 13th centuries. Thereafter, the kingdom declined and eventually disintegrated under the hegemony of various regional powers, including the Mongols, the Ottoman Empire and successive dynasties of Persia. In 1783, one of the Georgian kingdoms entered an alliance with the Russian Empire, which proceeded to annex the territory of modern Georgia in a piecemeal fashion throughout the 19th century.
After the Russian Revolution in 1917, Georgia emerged as an independent republic under German protectorate. Following World War I, Georgia was invaded and incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1922. By the 1980s, an independence movement was established and grew, leading to Georgia's secession from the Soviet Union in April 1991. For most of the subsequent decade, post-Soviet Georgia suffered from economic crisis, civil and secessionist wars in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Following the bloodless Rose Revolution in 2003, Georgia strongly pursued a pro-Western foreign policy; it introduced a series of democratic and economic reforms aimed at NATO and integration into the European Union. The country's Western orientation soon led to the worsening of relations with Russia, at one point even resulting in a brief war.
Georgia is a developing country classified as "very high" on the Human Development Index. The country is a member of international organizations across both Europe and Asia, such as the Council of Europe, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Eurocontrol, OSCE, and the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development. (Full article...)