Saturday, July 18, 2015

Yeah, another country that has been by before but got shafted on first-country treatment

Georgia -- no, not the one next to South Carolina -- has been by once before, but they really got stiffed on first-time visitor treatment. Time to remedy that.

Georgia is, of course:
a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads 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 southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital and largest city is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometres (26,911 sq mi), and its population is almost 5 million. Georgia is a unitary, semi-presidential republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy.
Georgia is the birthplace of Josef Stalin and has a longstanding, difficult relationship with Russia. While independent early in the 1800s, its proximity to the Russian empire was problematic, and it eventually was absorbed by Russia:
In 1783, Russia and the eastern Georgian Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti signed the Treaty of Georgievsk, which recognized the bond of Eastern Orthodoxy between the Russian and Georgian people and promised eastern Georgia protection against further Iranian attempts to regain Georgia, or by other aggressors.[36]
However, despite this commitment to defend Georgia, Russia rendered no assistance when the Iranians invaded in 1795, capturing and sacking Tbilisi while massacring its inhabitants, as the new heir to the throne sought to reassert Iranian hegemony over Georgia.[37] Despite a punitive campaign subsequently launched against Qajar Iran in 1796, and for the Russian governments own clear reasons as to why they couldn't send proper aid in time,[34] this period culminated in the 1801 Russian violation of the Treaty of Georgievsk and annexation of eastern Georgia, followed by the abolishment of the royal Bagrationi dynasty, as well as the autocephaly of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Pyotr Bagration, one of the descendants of the abolished house of Bagrationi, would later join the Russian army and rise to be a general by the Napoleonic wars.
On 22 December 1800, Tsar Paul I of Russia, at the alleged request of the Georgian King George XII, signed the proclamation on the incorporation of Georgia (Kartli-Kakheti) within the Russian Empire, which was finalized by a decree on 8 January 1801,[38][39] and confirmed by Tsar Alexander I on 12 September 1801.[40][41] The Georgian envoy inSaint Petersburg reacted with a note of protest that was presented to the Russian vice-chancellor Prince Kurakin.[42] In May 1801, under the oversight of General Carl Heinrich von Knorring (ru), Imperial Russia transferred power in eastern Georgia to the government headed by General Ivan Petrovich Lazarev.[43] The Georgian nobility did not accept the decree until April 1802 when General Knorring compassed the nobility in Tbilisi's Sioni Cathedral and forced them to take an oath on the Imperial Crown of Russia. Those who disagreed were temporarily arrested.[44]
In the summer of 1805, Russian troops on the Askerani River near Zagam defeated the Iranian army during the Russo-Persian War (1804-1813) and saved Tbilisi from reconquest now that it was officially part of the Imperial territories. Russian suzerainty over eastern Georgia was officially finalized with Iran in 1813 following the Treaty of Gulistan.[45]
Following the annexation of eastern Georgia, the western Georgian kingdom of Imereti was annexed by Tsar Alexander I. The last Imeretian king and the last Georgian Bagrationi ruler, Solomon II, died in exile in 1815. From 1803 to 1878, as a result of numerous Russian wars now against Ottoman Turkey, several of Georgia's previously lost territories – such as Adjara – were recovered, and also incorporated into the empire. The principality of Guria was abolished and incorporated into the Empire in 1828, and that of Mingrelia in 1857. The region of Svaneti was gradually annexed in 1857–1859.
The nation became independent again in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union. However, with Russia ruled by Vladimir Putin, who seems bent on restoring the Soviet Empire, Georgia is a little shaky in its independence. In 2008, a scuffle over South Ossetia and Abkhazia with Russia ended with Georgia basically getting its ass kicked. Things have been quiet since, as Georgia apparently hopes Russia won't notice it is there.

Geographically, Georgia has it all, from low-lying swamps to mountains:
The landscape within the nation's boundaries is quite varied. Western Georgia's landscape ranges from low-land marsh-forests, swamps, and temperate rainforests to eternal snows and glaciers, while the eastern part of the country even contains a small segment of semi-arid plains. Forests cover around 40% of Georgia's territory while thealpine/subalpine zone accounts for roughly around 10 percent of the land.
Much of the natural habitat in the low-lying areas of western Georgia has disappeared during the past 100 years because of the agricultural development of the land and urbanization. The large majority of the forests that covered the Colchis plain are now virtually non-existent with the exception of the regions that are included in the national parks and reserves (e.g. Lake Paliastomi area). At present, the forest cover generally remains outside of the low-lying areas and is mainly located along the foothills and the mountains. Western Georgia's forests consist mainly of deciduous trees below 600 meters (1,969 ft) above sea level and contain species such as oak, hornbeam, beech, elm,ash, and chestnut. Evergreen species such as box may also be found in many areas. Ca. 1000 of all 4000 higher plants of Georgia are endemic in this country.[136]
Economic reforms since the fall of communism have led to significant economic growth, but recovery from the Soviet command economy has been difficult. Tourism is an increasingly important part of the economy.

Mountains, rivers, old fortresses, Georgia has them:

Sounds like a nice country, so why don't we all extend a big Eff You welcome to Georgia! Come back soon, and bring your friends.

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