|Tatar people in traditional clothing in Russia.|
Georgia is a country located in the south Caucasia bordering Russia, Armenia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan. It has a total land area of 69,700 square kilometers with a population estimated at 3.723 million. The country’s official language is Georgian. Tbilisi is the capital and largest city in Georgia. The ethnic groups in Georgia are the Georgians, Azerbaijanis, Armenians, and other minority groups.
Georgians constitute 86.8% of the total population. Also known as Kartvelians, the Georgians are a Caucasian ethnic group indigenous to Georgia. Georgians originated from the Iberian and Colchian civilizations. They have been a majority in the country except for one time in history, 1939 when its population was less than two-thirds of the total population. The Georgian language is a complex one as it is not linguistically related to any other language in the Kartvelian language family. It also possesses its own writing system that comprises of 33 alphabets. The earliest literature written in Georgian dates back to 430 CE. Besides Georgia, other Georgians have settled in Greece, Ukraine, Turkey, the United States, Russia, Iran, and the European Union.
The Azerbaijanis constitute 6.2% of the population of Georgia which translates to about 230,000 inhabitants. It is the largest ethnic minority in the country with most of the Azerbaijanis having settled in the rural parts of the country such as Shida Kartli, Kakheti, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, and Kvemo Kartli. This region occupied by the Azerbaijanis is referred to as Borchali. The Azerbaijani has a rich cultural heritage as seen in their beautifully woven rugs, the art of ashiks, performing arts, and literature among others. Also known as the Azeris, most of the Azerbaijanis are Muslim. They are the largest ethnic group in the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The Armenians are an ethnic group that found refuge in Georgia when they fled from the Soviet Union many years ago. They constitute 4.5% of Georgia’s population which comes to about 167,000 people. Some of the Armenians live in the country’s capital city whereas others have chosen to live in the less developed parts of the country.
Other Ethnic Groups
The ethnic minorities in Georgia include Yazidis, Greeks, Ukrainians, Abkhaz, Kists, and Assyrians. The country also hosts a small population of Jewish and Polish ethnic groups. The Jewish people mainly live in Tbilisi town. Russians are also an ethnic minority living in Georgia. However, they are the largest ethnic group in Europe. The population of the Russians in Georgia is slightly above 26,400. Another ethnic minority are the Ossetians who originated from Iran in a linguistic region called Ossetia. These people speak Ossetic which is an Alanic language that is popular in Iran.
By Sharon Omondi
•culled from www.worldatlas.com