Recognizable Georgian Kingdoms were in existence from the 6th century B.C. It was not
until the 10th century, however, under the Georgian dynasty of the Bagratids, that an
independent and powerful Georgian-dominated con federal state uniting both East and West
Georgians, as well as Muslims and Armenians, was able to shake off foreign domination.
After a 'Golden Age' of cultural and political development that lasted until the 13th
century, Georgia entered a long period of political isolation as fratricidal conflict
between pretenders to the Georgian throne tore the kingdom apart. This was brought to an
and in the 19th century, when Georgians, reduced to little over half a million by disease,
wars, emigration and slave trading, were made subjects of the expanding Russian empire.
The modernizing Imperial Russian state produced a new urban culture in Georgia, and an
active nationalist intelligentsia, inspired by European ideas of freedom and
self-determination, led a campaign for greater Georgian autonomy. With the collapse of the
Russian empire in October 1917, Georgia Joined a federal state with the neighboring states
of Armenia and Azerbaijan, but its disintegration in May 1918 led to the declaration of
Georgian independence. After almost three years as a moderate social democratic state, the
Red Army invaded Georgia in February 1921. It was initially incorporated into the Soviet
Union as part of the Transcaucasian Federal Soviet Socialist Republic. From 1936 to April
1991, when Georgia officially declared its Independence, it was one of the 15 union
republics that formed the Soviet Union.