The Ossetians are a distinct ethnic group descended from the Alans a Sarmatian tribe whose origins lies along the Don River. They came to the Caucasus after they were driven out of their homeland by Mongol invasions in the 13th Century. Some of them Settled in North Ossetia which became part of Russia in 1767, others settled in South Ossetia, part of the Georgian historical principality of Samachablo. Modern-day South Ossetia became part of Russia in 1801 along with all of Georgia after the a civil war had broken out in Georgia over the succession to the throne. Following the Russian revolution, South Ossetia became part of the Menshevik Georgian Democratic Republic, this resulted in a conflicts between 1918-1920 in which claims for independence were made. The Georgian government of that time accused Ossetians of collaboration with the Bolsheviks. According to Ossetian sources about 5,000 Ossetians were killed and more than 13,000 died of hunger and epidemics.