or GRUSIA, formerly an independent country of Asia, now included in the Russian provinces of Tiflis and Kutais. The name is sometimes employed to designate the whole territory possessed or claimed by the Russians south of the Caucasus, and embracing the districts of Ksacheth, Karthli (Karthalinia, Karduel), Imereth, Mingrelia, and Guria. In this larger sense it has as area of about 28,000 square miles, and in 1862 a population of 1,142,611 inhabitants; while Georgia proper, embracing the three firstnamed districts, contains only 12,800 square miles and 577,267 inhabitants. The Georgians are one of that numerous group of nations or tribes that inhabit the Caucasus, to which Dr. Latham has given the name of Dioscurians. They are celebrated for the athletic frames of their men and the beauty of their women, but their long oppression by the Mohammedans has had its effect both upon their intelligence and their morality. Of the total population of Georgia, taken in the larger sense, 835,830 belong to the Georgian race (inclusive of Mingrelians and Lazi); the remainder are Turcomanni, Ossetes, Armenians, Jews, Russians, and Germans. The Christian population numn. bers 1,003,791, and the non-Christian 138,820 sosl. Oem their language and literature, see the articles SEE GEORGIAN LANGUAGE; and SEE GEORGIAN VERSION.
The ancient history of Georgia is altogether fabulous. It submitted to Alexander the Great, but after his death was made an independent kingdom. In this condition it remained for about twenty-one centuries. Christianity spread in Georgia about the clone of the 4th century and dislodged the ancient religion which was probably kindred to the Mithras service of the ancient Persians. In consequence of the professsion of the Christian faith, Georgia became allied to the Byzantitne empire, conjointly with which it resisted the attacks of the Sassanides. More successful than the inroads of the Sassanidas were those of the Arabs, and under the dynasty of the Bagratides, a branch of the Armenian dynasty of that name (since 614), Georgia becasme a province of the empire of the Arabian caliphs, and only the mountainous districts in which the kings of Georgia found a refuge preserved a kind of independence. In the 9th century, during the decline of the Arabian caliphate, the Georgians recovered their independence for a short period, but in the 10th century they became tributary to the Mohammedan dynasties in Persia. Toward the end of the 10th century they again achieved independence, and inaugurated the most brilliant era in Georgian history; for from this period to the 13th century, when they were conquered by the Mongols, Georgia was governed by a series of able sovereigns, who increased its extent and raised it to great prosperity. Toward the end of the 14th century the Coventry was conquered by Tiniour, who was driven from it in the beginning of the following century by George VII. Alexander I, the successor of George VII, divided the kingdom between his three sons. Each of these states was again divided, and at one time 26 different princes reigned in Georgia. The general history of Georgia now divides into two parts: that of the eastern states, Kearthli and Kacheth; and that of the western states, including Imereth, Mingrelia, and Guria. From the 16th to the 18th century the eastern states were heavily oppressed by Persia, and in 1799, Gregory XI, after many attempts to establish their independence, resigned the states in favor of Paul, emperor of Russia, and in 1802 the emperor Alexander proclaimed the territory a Russian province. Of the three states forming Western Georgia, Guria fell into the hands of Russia in 1801, and formally surrendered itself to that empire by the treaty of 1810; Mingarelia was virtually added to Russia in 1803, and fully incorporated with it in 1868, and the state of Imereth toward the close of the 18th century. Thus the whole of Georgia has been brought under the dominion of Russia, and has been united, along with the other Transcaucasian posse ssions of that country, into a general governmment, the bead of which unites in his own person the military and civil powers, and exercises military supremacy over the whole of the Caucasus.
The Georgians were represented in the synods convened by the Armenian patriarch in the 5th and 6th centuries, and embraced the Monophysite faith, and they also withdrew from the communion of the patriarch of Constantinople. In the latter part of the 6th century they resumed their former ecclesiastical connection, and they have since been considered as a part of the Greek Church. When Georgia passed into the hands of Russia it lost the independence of its national Church. The differences between the Russian and the Georgian forms of religion being very small, the latter became subject to the Synod of Petersburg the authority of the Georgian cathlicos was also transferred, and a Russian archbishop sent to occupy the see of Georgia. Convenats and nunneries are abundant, and the inmates are all mendicants. Most of the bishaops are rich, but the majority of the priests are both very poor and ignorant. The best and fullest informa.tion about Georgia is contained in the works of Brosset, Hist. ancienne de la Giorgie (Petersb. 1849, 2 volumes; Additions, 1851), and Histoire Moderne de la Georgie (Peters. 1854-57, 3 volumes). — Brockhaus, Convers. Lex.; Farrar; Helyot, Ordres des Relig. (ed. Migne), s.m. Melchites. (A.J.S.)