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History of Abkhazia

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Title: History of Abkhazia  
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History of Abkhazia

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This article refers to the history of Abkhazia from its pre-historic settlement by the lower-paleolithic hunter-gathers during the mesolithic and neolithic periods to the post-1992-1993 war situation.


  • Prehistoric settlement 1
  • Abkhazia in antiquity 2
  • Roman and Early Byzantine era 3
  • Medieval Abkhazia 4
  • Ottoman rule 5
  • Russian rule 6
  • Abkhazia from 1917 to 1921 7
  • Soviet Abkhazia 8
  • The Abkhazian War 9
  • Post-war Abkhazia 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13

Prehistoric settlement

One of the dolmens from Eshera (now at the Sukhumi Museum)


Abkhazia in antiquity

The written history of Abkhazia largely begins with the coming of the Milesian Greeks to the coastal Colchis in the 6th-5th centuries BC. They founded their maritime colonies along the eastern shore of the Black Sea, with Dioscurias being one of the most important principal centers of trade. This city, said to be so named for the Dioscuri, the twins Castor and Pollux of classical mythology, is presumed to have subsequently developed into the modern-day Sukhumi. Other notable colonies were Gyenos, Triglitis, and later Pityus, arguably near the modern-day coastal towns of Ochamchire, Gagra, and Pitsunda, respectively.

The peoples of the region were notable for their number and variety, as classical sources testify. Kartvelian tribal designations. The identity and origin of other peoples (e.g., Heniochi, Sanigae) dwelling in the area are also disputed. Archaeology has seldom been able to make strong connections between the remains of material culture and the opaque names of peoples mentioned by classical writers. Thus, controversies still continue and a series of questions remain open.

The inhabitants of the region engaged in piracy, slave trade and kidnapping people for ransom. Strabo described the habits of Achaei, Zygi, and Heniochi in his Geography as follows:[1]

According to Egros son of Togarmah, grandson of Japhet, son of Noah, who came from the land known as Arian-Kartli.[2]

Roman and Early Byzantine era

Along with the rest of Colchis, Abkhazia was conquered by Mithridates VI Eupator of Pontus between c. 110 and 63 BC, then taken by the Roman commander Pompey and incorporated into the Roman Empire in AD 61. The Roman rule here was tenuous and according to Josephus Roman garrison of 3000 hoplites and fleet of 40 vessels could only control the ports. The Greek settlements suffered from the wars, piracy and attacks of local tribes (during one of them Dioskurias and Pityus were sacked in AD 50).[3]

With the downfall of the Roman Empire, the tribes living in the region gained some independence, nominating their rulers who were to be confirmed by Rome. In the 3rd century AD, the Lazi tribe came to dominate most of Colchis, establishing the kingdom of Lazica, locally known as Egrisi. According to Procopius, the Abasgi chieftains were also subdued by the Lazic kings.

Colchis was a scene of the protracted rivalry between the Eastern Roman/Byzantine and Sassanid empires, culminating in the Lazic War from 542 to 562. The war resulted in the decline of Lazica, and the Abasgi in their dense forests won a degree of autonomy under the Byzantine authority. During this era the Byzantines built Sebastopolis in the region. Their land, known to the Byzantines as Abasgia, was a prime source of eunuchs for the empire. The people remained pagan until a mission sent by the emperor Justinian I (527-565), around 550,[4] converted the people to Christianity, though at the 325 Council of Nicaea a bishop had attended from the port city of Pityus.[5] Byzantines constructed defensive fortifications that may have partially survived to this day as Kelasuri Wall.[6]

Medieval Abkhazia

As the Abasgi grew in relative strength, the name Abasgia came to denote a larger area populated by various ethnic groups including patriarchate of Mtskheta.[8][9]

The kingdom is frequently referred in modern history writing as the Egrisi-Abkhazian kingdom due to the fact that medieval authors viwed the new monarchy as a successor state of Egrisi and sometimes used the terms interchangeably.

The most prosperous period of the Abkhazian kingdom was between 850 and 950, when it dominated the whole western Georgia and claimed control even of the easternmost Georgian provinces. The terms "Abkhazia" and "Abkhazians" were used in a broad sense during this period – and for some while later – and covered, for all practical purposes, all the population of the kingdom regardless of their ethnicity.[10] In 989, the

  • Abkhazia profile / history

External links

  1. ^ Strabo, The Geography, BOOK XI, II, 12
  2. ^ Giorgi L. Kavtaradze. .The Interrelationship between the Transcaucasian and Anatolian Populations by the Data of the Greek and Latin Literary Sources The Thracian World at the Crossroads of Civilisations. Reports and Summaries. The 7th International Congress of Thracology. P. Roman (ed.). Bucharest: the Romanian Institute of Thracology, 1996.
  3. ^ Rayfield, Donald (2013). Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia. ReaktionBooks. p. 28.  
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abkhazia". Encyclopedia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. p. 33.  
  5. ^ Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium (1991) p. 3
  6. ^  
  7. ^ Anchabadze, Yu. D. (1994) "Abkhazy," in Tishkov, Valeriï Aleksandrovich (ed.) (1994) Narody Rossii: Entsiklopediya Institut ėtnologii i antropologii im. N.N. Miklukho-Maklaia, Nauchnoye Izdatel'stvo, Moscow, ISBN 5-85270-082-7 in Russian
  8. ^ Rapp, Jr., Stephen H. (October–December 2000). "Sumbat Davitis-dze and the Vocabulary of Political Authority in the Era of Georgian Unification". Journal of the American Oriental Society 120 (4 (October – December , 2000)): 570–576.  
  9. ^ Toumanoff C., "Chronology of the Kings of Abasgia and other Problems". Le Museon 69 (1956), pp. 73-90.
  10. ^ For example, the Byzantine historians in 12th century sometimes called united Georgia as Abasgia (Abkhazia, Abasgoi) and its king Abasg. Georgika VIII, page 33 (in Georgian) [2]
  11. ^ Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, p. 3
  12. ^ Rayfield, Donald (2012). Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia. London, UK: Reaktion Books Ltd. p. 162.  
  13. ^ Ю.Н. Воронов (Yury Voronov), "Келасурская стена" (Kelasuri wall). Советская археология 1973, 3. (Russian)
  14. ^ a b History of Abkhazia in the online edition of Bolshaya Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya
  15. ^ 4: pp. 9-17, p.12Caucasus and Central Asia NewsletterGnolidze-Swanson, Manana (2003) "Activity of the Russian Orthodox Church Among the Muslim Natives of Caucasus in Imperial Russia"
  16. ^ Barthold, R. (Minorsky, Vladimir). "Abkhaz", in: Encyclopaedia of Islam.
  17. ^ Houtsma, M. Th.; E. van Donzel (1993). E.J. Brill's first encyclopaedia of Islam 1913-1936. BRILL. p. 71.  
  18. ^ Lortkipanidze M., The Abkhazians and Abkhazia, Tbilisi 1990.
  19. ^ Conciliation Resources - Demographic change in Abkhazia
  20. ^ Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedia.
  21. ^ Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedia.
  22. ^ a b c (11th ed.)Encyclopædia Britannica(1911) "Abkhazia"
  23. ^ Brooks, Willis (I995) "Russia’s conquest and pacification of the Caucasus: relocation becomes a pogrom on the post-Crimean period" Nationalities Papers 23(4): pp. 675-86
  24. ^ Mostashari, Firouzeh, (2001) "Colonial Dilemmas: Russian Policies in the Muslim Caucasus" in Geraci, Robert P. and Khodarkovsky, Michael (eds.) (2001) Of Religion and Empire: Missions, Conversion, and Tolerance in Tsarist Russia Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, pp. 229-249 ISBN 0-8014-3327-4
  25. ^   – via Questia (subscription required)
  26. ^ English translation of the 1924 Constitution of the USSR
  27. ^ a b UNHCR, The Dynamics and Challenges of Ethnic Cleansing: The Georgia-Abkhazia Case, also in Refugee Survey Quarterly 1997, Volume 16, Number 3, pp. 77-109
  28. ^ Report of the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Georgian SSR Akaki Mgeladze to Joseph Stalin regarding the problem of Abkhazia, 4.12.1953 (Russian)
  29. ^ The Stalin-Beria Terror in Abkhazia, 1936-1953, by Stephen D. Shenfield Abkhaz World, 30 June 2010, retrieved 11 September 2015.
  30. ^ The Stalin-Beria Terror in Abkhazia, 1936-1953, by Stephen D. Shenfield Abkhaz World, 30 June 2010, retrieved 11 September 2015.
  32. ^ Smith, Graham (1998), Nation-building in the Post-Soviet Borderlands: The Politics of National Identities, p. 171. Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-59968-7.
  33. ^ Karen Dawisha and Bruce Parrott (eds.), Conflict, cleavage, and change in Central Asia and the Caucasus (Cambridge, 1997), p. 170., quoted from the Abkhazia Today report by International Crisis Group
  34. ^ ...such indicators as savings level, rates of car and house ownership [in Georgia] were the highest in the Union. - Gregory Grossman, ‘The “Second Economy” of the USSR’, Problems of Communism, vol. 26 no. 5, 1977, quoted from Cornell, Svante E., Autonomy and Conflict: Ethnoterritoriality and Separatism in the South Caucasus – Case in Georgia. Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Report No. 61. p. 149. University of Uppsala, ISBN 91-506-1600-5.
  35. ^ Beissinger, Mark R. (2002), Nationalist Mobilization and the Collapse of the Soviet State, p. 302. Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-00148-X.
  36. ^ Wheatley, Jonathan (2005), Georgia from National Awakening to Rose Revolution: delayed transition in the former Soviet Union, p. 57. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., ISBN 0-7546-4503-7.
  37. ^ Karagiannis, Emmanuel (2002), Energy and Security in the Caucasus, p. 76. Routledge, ISBN 0-7007-1481-2.
  38. ^ Conciliation Resources. Georgia-Abkhazia, Chronology
  39. ^ Парламентская газета (Parlamentskaya Gazeta). Референдум о сохранении СССР. Грузия строит демократию на беззаконии. Георгий Николаев, March 17, 2006 (Russian)
  40. ^ Glenn E. Curtis, ed. Georgia: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1994.
  41. ^ Full Report by Human Rights Watch Helsinki, March 1995
  42. ^ Georgia/Abkhazia. Violations of the laws of war and Russia's role in the conflict"
  43. ^ CSCE Budapest Document 1994, Budapest Decisions, Regional Issues
  44. ^ Lisbon OSCE Summit Declaration
  45. ^ Istanbul OSCE Summit Declaration
  46. ^ Population censuses in Abkhazia: 1886, 1926, 1939, 1959, 1970, 1979, 1989, 2003 (Russian) Georgian and Mingrelian figures have been conflated, as most of the "Georgians" were ethnically Mingrelian.
  47. ^ Multiple incidents on the Georgian frontier (French)
  48. ^ The last bridge between Abkhazia and Georgia
  49. ^ Russians dismantled bridge on Enguri River
  50. ^ OSCE observers unable to track events in the zone of armed conflict in Georgia


  • Georgian-Abkhazian conflict

See also

Meanwhile the efforts of Russia to isolate Georgian population in Abkhazia from the rest of Georgia continued. On 24 October 2008 the railroad bridge of Shamgon-Tagiloni, connecting the city of Orsantia and Otobaia and linking a total of five villages - Otobaia, Pichori, Barghebi, Nabakevi and Gagida; thus the local population was deprived of the opportunity to move freely in the region.[49][50]

[4] August 2008 saw another crisis start as

After the 1992-1993 War the Upper operation that coincided with the 2008 South Ossetia War.

In 2004 presidential elections were held which caused much controversy when the candidate backed by outgoing president Vladislav Ardzinba and by Russia - Raul Khadjimba - was apparently defeated by Sergey Bagapsh. The tense situation in the republic led to the cancellation of the election results by the Supreme Court. After that the deal was struck between former rivals to run jointly — Bagapsh as a presidential candidate and Khajimba as a vice presidential candidate. They received more than 90% of the votes in the new election.

After several peaceful years tourists again began to visit Abkhazia, however their number is only about a half of the pre-war number.

The return of Georgians to Gali district of Abkhazia was halted by the fighting which broke out there in 1998. However from 40,000 to 60,000 refugees have returned to Gali district since 1998, including persons commuting daily across the ceasefire line and those migrating seasonally in accordance with agricultural cycles.

The economic situation in the republic after war was very hard and it was aggravated by the sanctions imposed in 1994 by the CIS. During the 1990s a lot of people of all ethnicities left Abkhazia mainly for Russia. Since 1997 Russia effectively dropped these sanctions which tremendously helped republic's economy. In 1999, Abkhazia officially declared their independence,[4] which was recognized by almost no other nations.

Modern Abkhazia

Post-war Abkhazia

During the war, gross human rights violations were reported on the both sides (see Budapest (1994),[43] Lisbon (1996)[44] and Istanbul (1999)[45]

The separatist forces quickly overran the rest of Abkhazia as the Georgian government faced a second threat: an uprising by the supporters of the deposed Zviad Gamsakhurdia in the region of Mingrelia (Samegrelo). In the chaotic aftermath of defeat almost all ethnic Georgian population fled the region by sea or over the mountains escaping a large-scale ethnic cleansing initiated by the victors. Many thousands died — it is estimated that between 10,000-30,000 ethnic Georgians and 3,000 ethnic Abkhaz may have perished — and some 250,000 people were forced into exile.

Although a truce was declared at the end of July, this collapsed after a renewed Abkhaz attack in mid-September. After ten days of heavy fighting, Sukhumi fell on 27 September 1993. Eduard Shevardnadze narrowly escaped death, having vowed to stay in the city no matter what, but he was eventually forced to flee when separatist snipers fired on the hotel where he was residing. Abkhaz, North Caucasians militants and their allies committed one of the most horrific massacres[41] of this war against remaining Georgian civilians in the city known as Sukhumi Massacre. The mass killings and destruction continued for two weeks, leaving thousands dead and missing.

The conflict remained stalemated until July 1993, following an agreement in Sochi, when the Abkhaz separatist militias launched an abortive attack on Georgian-held Sukhumi. The capital was surrounded and heavily shelled, with Shevardnadze himself trapped in the city.

On 21 February 1992, Georgia's ruling Military Council announced that it was abolishing the Soviet-era constitution and restoring the 1921 Constitution of the

Gamsakhurdia's rule became unpopular, and that December, the Georgian National Guard, under the command of Tengiz Kitovani, laid siege to the offices of Gamsakhurdia's government in Tbilisi. After weeks of stalemate, he was forced to resign in January 1992. Gamsakhurdia was replaced as president by Eduard Shevardnadze, the former Soviet foreign minister and architect of the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

. Zviad Gamsakhurdia and former Soviet dissident [40] Georgia boycotted the March 17, 1991

As the Soviet Union began to disintegrate at the end of the 1980s, ethnic tension grew between the Abkhaz and Georgians over Georgia's moves towards independence. Many Abkhaz opposed this, fearing that an independent Georgia would lead to the elimination of their autonomy, and argued instead for the establishment of Abkhazia as a separate Soviet republic in its own right. The Tbilisi State University and the Abkhaz nationalists, including armed groups,[35] demonstrated at the building where the entrance examinations were being held.[36][37] After several days of violence, Soviet troops restored order in the city and blamed rival nationalist paramilitaries for provoking confrontations.

The Abkhazian War

The favourable geographic and climatic conditions were successfully exploited to make Abkhazia a destination for hundreds of thousands of tourists, gaining for the region a reputation of "Soviet Riviera." [34][31] The following three decades were marked by attempts of the Abkhaz Communist elite to make the autonomous structures more Abkhaz, but their efforts constantly met resistance from the Georgians. Abkhaz nationalists attempted on several occasions, most notably in 1978, to convince

Finally, as an exchange of shots at different times of the Communist Party, the government, ministries and departments? Georgia has successfully worked numerous representatives of "pinching" the Abkhaz nationality. In the sixties Arkhip Labakhua served as deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of Georgia, Yuri Chanba was head of the department of the Communist Party; later in the important work of the Central Committee were Chariton Avidzba Boris Adleiba Shota Shakaya. The Next Generation: Enver Kapba - Head of the Department of the Communist Party, Zurab Labakhua - Deputy! Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Patsch Bartsits -Second secretary of the Komsomol of the republic; George Kolbaya - Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Valery Khintba - Head of the Department of the Communist Party, the author of these lines - deputy head of the Central Committee, and then more than six years - Rector of the Institute of Management of National Economy under the Government of Georgia, Benur Shinkuba - zav.sektorom Central Committee KP inspectors CC - David and Valery Pilia, Leo Lakerbaia; Igor Chochua - Minister of Health of Georgia, Konstantin Salia - Minister of household 'service (now head of the Tourism Department of Georgia), Vladimir Hishba - First Deputy Minister of Forestry, Alexander Ankvab - Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Apollo Kvitsinia - Deputy Minister of Justice, Edward Tamba and Valery Kiut at different times - the Deputy Permanent Representative of Georgia in Moscow; Party and Komsomol schools in Georgia have passed Sergei Bagapsh, Side Tarkil, Lev Shamba and Edward, much more. It is worth mentioning that he himself Vladislav Ardzinba, after twenty years of his stay in Moscow, he defended his doctoral thesis in Tbilisi as Shamba - PhD degree.[22]

In 1978, the Central Committee of the CPSU, the Council of Ministers of the USSR, the Central Committee of Communist Party of Georgia and the Council of Ministers of the Georgian SSR adopted the famous decree "On further development of the economy and culture of the Abkhaz ASSR" provides sopialno growth and economic potential of Abkhazia within two to two and a half times. It is through these regulations in Abkhazia began construction: TV, Press House seaport, state libraries, schools and children's institutions, the bypass road (Gagra, Sukhumi), opened the Abkhazian State University, increased the output of printed products in the Abkhazian language and so on. etc.

Hundreds of representatives of the Abkhazian intelligentsia, who later became famous writers, poets, artists, scientists, culture and art, theater and film experts of various sectors of the economy, Educational, dominated professions in high schools of Tbilisi. Many honorary title of Honored Worker of science, culture and art of Georgia.

Because of people's deputies of the Supreme Soviet of Georgia last convocation - eight were Abkhazians, and members of the Parliament of Georgia from Abkhazia ever elected more than forty people, including fifteen Abkhazians. The Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of the penultimate convocation consisted of one hundred and forty deputies. Among them Abkhazians - 57 (40.7%), Georgians - 53 (37 '9%), Russian, Armenians and representatives of other nationalities - 30 (21.4%). The city and district councils the Abkhaz accounted for nearly one-third, and among the workers of the Council of Ministers of Abkhazia and the regional committee of the Communist Party - more than half. Eight of the thirteen ministers and five of the eight chairmen of state committees were Abkhazians, five of the city and district prosecutors' offices headed by representatives of the indigenous nationality. And if the proportion of the Abkhazians, engaged in social production, amounted to 17.8%, among the leaders there were twice as many.

It has gained widespread development of national economic sectors of the autonomous republic, especially a unique subtropical and resorts and tourism.

Along with the research institute of language, literature, history and economics im.D.Gulia in the autonomous republic functioned thirty research institutions; is carried out in many of them were all-Union research and even global significance. Corresponding Member of the Georgian prominent scientists have been elected George Dzidzaria-Abkhaz, Zurab Anchabadze (unfortunately deceased). On the initiative and request of the Central Committee of Communist Party of Georgia national poet of Abkhazia Bagrat Shinkuba was awarded the title Hero of Socialist Labor; in the same way he received the title of People's Artist of the USSR ShLachalia.

Work productively creative unions - of writers, composers, artists, architects, public art gallery, public library, theater company. I publish in their native language artistic, historical and ethnographic literature, on the basis of your own home printing out magazines and newspapers.

Sukhumi functioned Abkhazian State University, national television stations broadcasting only in the Abkhazian language, the Abkhaz State Drama Theatre and Museum of Local Lore, literary-memorial museum named D.I.Gulia, state ensemble of song and dance, dance ensembles "Sharatyn", "Ertsahu" , State Symphony Orchestra, the Abkhazian state choir, vocal and instrumental female quartet "Gunda", ethnographic Song and Dance Ensemble of centenarians "Nartaa" (winner of the international prize "Golden Peacock" won by Hungary). Many of these groups have repeatedly toured abroad, introducing viewers to the national culture of the Abkhazians.

In 70 years of Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia, the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, the Karachay-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast children of indigenous nationalities were denied the opportunity to study in their native language And we have operated since the beginning of 25 Abkhaz schools, recently the same time - 73 (Abkhazian and mixed), where the language of the titular nation were more than four thousand children.

Abkhazia - the only autonomous republic in the former USSR, the Constitution of which contained an article on the state Abkhaz language.

The repression of the Abkhaz and other groups ended after Stalin's death and Beria's execution (1953),[32] and Abkhaz were given a greater role in the governance of the republic. As in most of the smaller autonomous republics, the Soviet government encouraged the development of culture and particularly of literature. A new script, based on Cyrillic, was devised for Abkhaz, Abkhaz schools reopened; and administration put largely in the Abkhaz hands. Ethnic quotas were established for certain bureaucratic posts, giving the Abkhaz a degree of political power that was disproportionate to their minority status in the republic. This was interpreted by some as a "divide and rule" policy whereby local elites were given a share in power in exchange for support for the Soviet regime. In Abkhazia as elsewhere, it led to other ethnic groups — in this case, the Georgians — resenting what they saw as unfair discrimination and disregard of the rights of majority, thereby stoking ethnic discord in the republic.

Stalin’s agricultural sector. The 2,700-year-old Greek population of Abkhazia was completely deported by Stalin in a single night in 1949 to Central Asia with Georgian immigrants taking over their homes. In 1959 the surviving Greeks were allowed to return. During the 1992-93 war, some 15,000 Greeks fled the turmoil in the region to Greece.

[31] in 1936-1938, much later than most of USSR.collectivisation Abkhazia experienced [30] During the

On March 4, Soviet power was established in Sukhumi, with the formation of the Abkhazian Soviet Socialist Republic (August Uprising in Georgia, a last desperate attempt to restore the independence of Georgia from the Soviet Union.

Despite the 1920 Kuban) Army entered Abkhazia on February 19. Supported by the local pro-Bolshevik guerillas, the Soviet troops took control of most of Abkhazia in a series of battles from February 23 to March 7, and proceeded into the neighbouring region of Mingrelia.

Soviet Abkhazia

The relations between the central and autonomous authorities were soon clouded by the abortive landing, on June 27, 1918, of a Turkish force supported by the Abkhaz nobles, J. Marghan and A. Shervashidze. Georgia responded with the arrest of several Abkhaz leaders and the limitation of the autonomous powers of the APC that precipitated some sympathies from the Abkhaz to the Russian Soviet invasion of Georgia.

Nestor Lakoba, an Abkhaz Bolshevik leader

Meanwhile, a short-lived Transcaucasian federation came to an end and the independence of the Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, a union with Georgia, which gave autonomy to Abkhazia. All domestic affairs were to be under the jurisdiction of the APC, while the central government established the office of Minister of Abkhazian Affairs and the post of the Governor-General of Abkhazia. Abkhaz deputies gained three of 28 seats preserved for ethnic minorities in Georgia’s parliament.

In March 1918, local Bolsheviks under the leadership of National Guard of Georgia ousted the Bolshevik commune in Sukhumi.

The Menshevik group.

Abkhaz delegation in Tbilisi, 1918

Abkhazia from 1917 to 1921

In the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Here is what he wrote on the occasion of a distinguished son of Abkhazia D.I.Gulia: "Under the same sky, the same land our culture we have built together defending our national identity and our land. Not to say that we are fraternal nations. We have the same mentality, Some customs and rituals, one psychology. It is unlikely that Georgians have a closer brother than Abkhazians. Abkhazians, in turn, can be said about Georgian same. This brotherhood and keep us. And who is trying to destroy it, "he is an enemy to himself".[22]

Abkhaz-Georgian ethnographic parallels back to antiquity, indicating cultural and genetic indivisibility of our historical destinies. For centuries connect us vitally-related, good-neighborly and friendly relations. Abkhazians and Georgians living in Abkhazia together, many hundreds of years, identical traditions, customs, way of life and even religion. This is predetermined by the fact that over forty percent of the population of Abkhazia constitute mixed Abkhaz-Georgian families.

It was during this period clearly showed the essence of the colonial policy of the tsarist: makhadjirstvo have been tens of thousands of Abkhazians were forcibly resettled in the Ottoman Empire. However, since ancient times, Abkhazia constantly gravitated toward political union with Georgia, and it is dictated by geopolitical conditions and the interests of both peoples. In alliance with Georgia, Abkhazia for centuries retained its ethno-historical space, unique face.

After the abolition of the autocephalous status of the Georgian Church (1811) begins the process of Russification and the Abkhaz Church. An attempt to transfer service from Georgian into Slavic, there is also a desire to introduce as an antagonist of the Georgian - Abkhazian (Apsua) identity. Against this trend, actively advocated the advanced Abkhazian society, trying to convince Russian officials that Abkhazia historically, in their culture, religion, etc., is an integral part Gruzii3. In 1870, in a memo to deputies of the Abkhazian nobility and Samurzakan (Emhvari B., M. Marchand Margani T., K. Inal-ipa) to the Chairman of the Tiflis Committee of caste landed for Prince Svyatopolk-Mirsky emphasized that " Abkhazia ancient times was part of the former Georgian kingdom ... "The note provides evidence to support the common historical destiny of the Georgian and Abkhaz peoples, who are, according to the authors," important witnesses accessories Abkhazia to Georgia "and expressed the hope that they (Abkhazians) are not are "excluded from the overall family of the Georgian people, to which from time immemorial belonged to." 4 In 1916, the Tbilisi visited ab hazskaya delegation consisting of M-princes Shervashidze M.Emhvari, A.Inal-ipa, and representatives of the peasantry P.Anchabadze B.Ezugbaya and A.Chukbar. On behalf of the Abkhaz people, they petitioned for economic and cultural development of the region and raised the question of the transformation of the Sukhumi district into a separate province. If this is impossible, - told delegates, then in any case do not connect it (Sukhum district) in any other province, except Kutaisi. Equally urgent was the demand of the deputation is not separated from the exarchate of Georgia Sukhumi bishoprics, which has always been an inseparable part of the Georgian Church.

This reform triggered the moderate development of capitalism in the region. Tobacco, tea and subtropical crops became more widely grown. Industries (coal, timber) began to develop. Health resorts started to be built. A small town of Gagra, acquired by a German prince Peter of Oldenburg, a member of the Russian royal family, turned to a resort of particular tourist interest early in the 1900s (decade).

Meanwhile, in 1870, bound peasants, including slaves, were liberated in Abkhazia as a part of the Russian serfdom reforms. The peasants got between 3 and 8 ha and had to pay huge redemption payments (the landowners got up to 275 ha); furthermore, according to a contemporary Russian official, peasants were mostly left with rocky mountain slopes and low-lying bogs. The liberation in Abkhazia was more problematic than elsewhere as it failed to take into account fully the distinction between free, partly free and unfree peasants in the Abkhazian society.[25]

Map of Sukhumi district (Abkhazia), 1890s

[24][23] and deprived of the right to settle in the coastal areas."refugee population" Those Abkhaz, who did not convert to Christianity, and who remained in Abkhazia were declared by the Russian government a [22] According to Georgian historians Georgian tribes ([17] Large areas of the region were left uninhabited and many Armenians, Georgians, Russians and others subsequently migrated to Abkhazia, resettling much of the vacated territory.

The Bzyb area, with the rest of the region chiefly dominated by the pro-Turkish Muslim nobility. In a series of conflicts with the Ottoman Empire and the North Caucasian tribes, the Russians acquired possession of the whole Abkhazia in a piecemeal fashion between 1829 and 1842, but their power was not firmly established until 1864,[4] when they managed to abolish the local princely authority. The last prince of Abkhazia, Michael Shervashidze (Chachba), was exiled to Russia where he soon died.[15] The two ensuing Abkhaz revolts in 1866 and 1877, the former precipitated by the heavy taxation and the latter incited by the landing of the Turkish troops, resulted in the next significant change in the region’s demographics. As a result of harsh government reaction allegedly 60% of the Muslim Abkhaz population, although contemporary census reports were not very trustworthy — became Muhajirs, and emigrated to the Ottoman possessions between 1866 and 1878. In 1881, the number of the Abkhaz in the Russian Empire was estimated at only 20,000.[16] Furthermore, a great deal of the population was forcibly displaced to Turkey (Muhajirs) and in 1877 the population of Abkhazia was 78,000, whereas at the end of the same year there were only 46,000 left.[14]

Russian rule

Kingdom of Imereti in 16th century

Towards the end of the 17th century, the principality of Abkhazia broke up into several fiefdoms, depriving many areas of any centralized authority. The region became a theatre of widespread Pavle Ingorokva), it was when a number of the Adyghe clansmen migrated from the North Caucasus mountains and blended with the local ethnic elements, significantly changing the region's demographic situation. In the mid-18th century, the Abkhazians revolted against the Ottoman rule and took hold of Suhum-Kale, but soon the Turks regained the control of the fortress and granted it to a loyal prince of the Shervashidze family.

[14] In the 1570s, the

Ottoman rule

[13] of Mingrelia as a protection against Abkhaz.Dadiani was built by prince Levan II Kelasuri Wall and a few modern ones claimed that the Vakhushti, which is today's southern boundary of the region. Several medieval historians like Inguri River potentates, their nominal suzerains, and the borders of both principalities fluctuated in the course of these wars. In the following decades, the Abkhazian nobles finally prevailed and expanded their possessions up to the Mingrelian The Abkhazian princes engaged in incessant conflicts with the [12] The

According to the Georgian chronicles, Queen Tamar granted the lordship over part of Abkhazia to the Georgian princely family of Russian annexation in the 1860s.


This state reached the apex of its strength and prestige under the queen Abkhaz words a-lasha for "clear" and a-lashara for "light", identifying the Apsars with the possible ancestors of the modern-day Abkhaz, though the exact identity and location of this tribe is unclear.


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