According to the Dmanisi excavations, we can say that people have been living on territory of Georgia for 1 800 000 years! The first Kingdoms in Georgia – Diaohki and Kolkha were formed at the end of Second millennium. They only existed for a few centuries, as they were overpowered by a northern invader nomadic tribes. This is how Georgian History begins.
In the VI century BC the Kingdom of Egrisi (Kolkheti) was formed. This state mostly covered the territory of current western Georgia. In IV Century BC another state was created in the east – Kingdom of Iberia. It is the ruler of Iberia, Parnavaz who created the first Georgian alphabet.
At the end of the I century BC Kingdom of Iberia was conquered by Rome and fell under it’s rule, after which it was conquered by Persia. At the same time the Kingdom of Kolkha separated into 4 parts: Laz, Apshilebi, Abazgebi and Sanigebi. However, Laz family quickly gained power and took the role of the leaders, renaming the kingdom – Lazika.
Introduction of Christianity
Christianity was first introduced to Georgia in the 1st century. However, the country remained to its pagan beliefs until Saint Nino came to Georgia in the beginning of the IV Century and converted the whole country. You can read more about Christianity and Religion in Georgia in This Article
Persia & Arabic Invasions
After a brief period of Independence, Persia overtook the power in Iberia in VI Century. At the same time, the Byzantine empire abolished the kingdom of Lazika and apointed their own rulers. In the middle ages Georgia faced a new force – Arabic invaders. Even though Georgia was conquered, invaders had a loose grip on the situation and small kingdoms started forming. In X Century, the small kingdoms were united by King Bagrat III who lead the rebellion to free the country. The rebellion would end with a success, however Georgia only gained the current form in XII Century under the rule of King Davit the Builder.
It was thanks to King Davit Georgia gained independence and climbed to its golden age in XIII Century under the rule of King Tamar. One of the few women in the world to be crowned a King.
However the golden age of Georgia didn’t last long. Country was devastated with the invasion of Mongols and eventually fell apart. Georgia split in two eastern and western parts. There were a few times country came together but it was torn apart again with multiple invasions of Temur Lame, invasions from Safavid and Ottoman empires. Country became so weak it was an easy target even for smaller tribes living in the northern Caucasus. In the end of XV Century, Georgia officially split up into 4 parts, Kartli, Kakheti, Imereti and Samtskhe. The country disintegrated further with time.
In 1555 Iran and the Ottoman empire split Georgia between themselves with eastern and western parts for themselves respectively. For about 2 centuries Georgia did not exist as a country.
Georgia, Russia & Soviet Union
In XVIII Century Kartli and Kakheti united as a rebellion and broke away from the Iranian rule. Kingdom was briefly independent until going under the Russian Protectorate in 1783.
In 1801 Russian empire took away the status of a kingdom and made Kartl-Kakheti a single region of Russian Empire. Soon they managed to get the whole Georgian territory under control. Parts of it they had to get back from the Ottoman Empire with brute force.
In 1918, after the collapse of the Russian Empire, Georgia regained independence briefly. Shortly after, Soviet Union annexed Georgia in 1921. You can find a great exposition of the annexation in the National Museum of Georgia.
Soviet Union split Georgia into more parts with adding republic of Abkhazia, Adjarian Republic and Independent South Ossetia region. These were ticking bombs to undermine Georgian unity.
In 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union Georgia became independent and remains so till today. Unfortunately the ticking bombs planted exploded in the 90s. Abkhazia and South Ossetia have illegally declared independence.
In 2003, there was a revolution in Georgia which threw over the corrupt government. This is when Georgia became more western oriented and started putting together the building blocks.