Georgia is bordered by the Black Sea in the west, by Turkey and Armenia in the south, by Azerbaijan in the east, and Russia in the north. The republic also includes the Abkhazia and Adjara autonomous republics and South Ossetia.
Middle Paleolithic cave sites along the Black Sea Coast of Georgia prove the presence of an indigenous people sometime between 100,000 - 50,000 B.C. At the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 1st millennium B.C., two major tribal unions arose: those of the Diaokhi (Taokhi, Tao) and the Kolkha (Colchis). The wealth and power of Kolkha were reflected in the ancient Greek myth of the Argonauts. In the west, the Kingdom of Kolkha was formed (now referred to as the Kingdom of Egrisi). This kingdom minted its own silver coins as "white Colchian coins".
Georgia became a kingdom about 4 B.C. and Christianity was introduced in A.D. 337. The struggle against the Seljuq invaders in Georgia was led by the young King David IV of the Bagrationi royal family, who inherited the throne in 1089 at the age of 16. The First Crusade (1096–1099) and the Crusaders' offensive against the Seljuq Turks in Anatolia and Syria favored David's successful campaigns in Georgia. In 1125 King David died, leaving Georgia with the status of a strong regional power. In Georgia, King David is called Agmashenebeli (English: the builder). David Agmashenebeli's successors continued the policy of Georgia's expansion; however, the most glorious sovereign of Georgia of that period was definitely Queen Tamar (David's great-granddaughter).
During the reign of Queen Tamara (1184–1213), its territory included the whole of Transcaucasia. In the 13th century, Tamerlane and the Mongols decimated its population. From the 16th century on, the country was the scene of a struggle between Persia and Turkey. In the 18th century, it became a vassal to Russia in exchange for protection from the Turks and Persians.
Georgia joined Azerbaijan and Armenia in 1917 to establish the anti-Bolshevik Transcaucasia Federation and upon its dissolution in 1918, Georgia proclaimed its independence. In 1922, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan were annexed by the USSR and formed the Transcaucasia Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1936, Georgia became a separate Soviet republic. Under Soviet rule, the country was transformed from an agrarian to a largely industrial, urban society.
The current Republic of Georgia has been independent since 1991. The first president Zviad Gamsakhurdia stoked Georgian nationalism and vowed to assert Tbilisi's authority over Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Gamsakhurdia was deposed in a bloody coup d'état within the year and the country became embroiled in a bitter civil war, which lasted until 1995. Supported by Russia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia achieved de facto independence from Georgia. The Rose Revolution forced Eduard Shevardnadze, second president of Georgia, to resign in 2003. The new government under Mikheil Saakashvili prevented the secession of a third breakaway republic in the Adjaria Crisis of 2004, but the conflict with Abkhazia and South Ossetia led to the 2008 Russo-Georgian War. Still these issues with Russia remain unresolved; hence Integration into NATO and the EU remains the main goal of Georgia's foreign policy.
On October 29, 2004, the North Atlantic Council (NAC) of NATO approved the Individual Partnership Action Plan of Georgia (IPAP). Georgia is the first among NATO's partner countries to manage this task successfully.