Georgia is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Situated at the juncture of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the east by Azerbaijan. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 km² and its population is 4.7 million, largely ethnic Georgians.
The history of Georgia can be traced back to the ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia, and it was one of the first countries to adopt Christianity as an official religion, early in the 4th century. At the beginning of the 19th century Georgia became a part of the Russian Empire. After a brief period of independence following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia was forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1922.
Independence was restored in 1991. Like many post-communist countries Georgia suffered from the economic crisis and civil unrest during the 1990s. After the bloodless Rose Revolution, however, the new leadership has established efficient government institutions, reformed the economy and guided the country through a period of the fastest economic growth in its history.
Georgia is a representative democracy, organized as a secular, unitary semi-presidential republic; however the idea to restore the constitutional monarchy is popular in certain circles, most notably in the Georgian Orthodox Church. It is currently a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, and GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development. The country seeks to join NATO and, in the longer term, accession to the European Union.
In August 2008, Georgia engaged in an armed conflict with Russia and separatist groups from South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In the aftermath of the conflict Russia recognized the Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, but at present only Nicaragua, the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, and the de facto independent republic of Transnistria have followed suit. On August 28, 2008, the Parliament of Georgia passed a resolution declaring Abkhazia and South Ossetia “Russian-occupied territories”.