- The official name of the country is : საქართველო (Sakartvelo or Sakartvelos Respublika), translated as the Republic of Georgia.
- Ethnicity. A mere 1.5% of the Georgian population are ethnic Russians. Major ethnic groups in Georgia include Georgian 83.8%, Azeri 6.5% (from Azerbaijan), and Armenian 5.7%.
- History. Georgia became a kingdom about 4 B.C. From the 16th century on, the country was the scene of a struggle between Persia and Turkey. In the 18th century, it came under the protection of Russia in exchange for protection from the Turks and Persians. In 1922, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan were annexed by the USSR and formed the Transcaucasian Soviet Socialist Republic. Georgia proclaimed its independence from the USSR on April 6, 1991.
- Economy. Under Soviet rule, the country was transformed from an agrarian to a largely industrial, urban society. Modern production includes agriculture, mining, and alcoholic beverages.
- Geography. Georgia is about the size of West Virginia and slightly smaller than South Carolina. It is located in the Caucasus mountains and borders the Black Sea. It borders Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Turkey. To the north and northeast, Georgia borders the Russian republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia, and North Ossetia (all of which began to seek autonomy from Russia in 1992).
- Etymology. Over the past several years, Georgia has been trying to convince a number of countries to call it “Georgia,” even though the Georgian name for the country is Sakart’velo. The exonym Georgia has been explained as being derived from the Greek γεωργός ("tiller of the land"), the name of St. George, or from ancient Persian designations of the Georgians. The native name, Sakartvelo, is derived from the region of Kartli – Iberia of the Classical and Byzantine sources – around which early Georgia was formed.
- Sports. Historically, Georgia has been famous for its physical education; it is known that the Romans were fascinated with Georgians' physical qualities after seeing the training techniques of ancient Iberia. The most popular sports in Georgia include football (soccer), basketball, rugby union, wrestling, judo and weightlifting.
- The breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the north have long been outside of the control of the Georgian government. They have their own de-facto governments, are supported by Russia, and Russian troops are stationed there.
- Languages. Georgian is the primary language of about 3.9 million people in Georgia itself and of another 500,000 in Turkey, Iran, Russia, USA and Europe. "Kivruli" is sometimes considered a separate Jewish language, is spoken by an additional 20,000 in Georgia and 65,000 elsewhere (primarily 60,000 in Israel).
- Government. Georgia is a democratic semi-presidential republic, with the President as the head of state, and Prime Minister as the head of government. Georgia is has a unicameral parliament (there is only one house of parliament).
- Climate. Georgia has a pleasant Mediterranean-type climate due to its latitudinal location along the Black Sea but suffers from earthquakes as a hazard.
- Hospitality. Warm hospitality is a very Georgian trait. Guests are seen as a gift and foreigners are therefore guests of the country. The supra is a large dinner party involving many toasts. The toastmaster, or "tamada", selects people to make long toasts and for special toast. A horn full of wine is passed around the table. Beer is only used to toast the enemy!
- Folk Origins. When God was distributing portions of the world to all the peoples of the Earth, the Georgians were having a party and doing some serious drinking. As a result they arrived late and were told by God that all the land had already been distributed. When they replied that they were late only because they had been lifting their glasses in praise of Him, God was pleased and gave the Georgians that part of Earth he had been reserving for himself.
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