Georgia (Georgian: საქართველო, IPA: [sɑkʰɑrtʰvɛlɔ] ; English pronunciation: /ˈdʒɔrdʒə/ ( listen)) is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Situated at the juncture of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, 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 east by Azerbaijan. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 km² and its population is 4.3 million.
The history of Georgia can be traced back to the ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia, and it was one of the first countries to adopt Christianity in the 4th century. Georgia reached the peak of its political and economic strength during the reign of King David and Queen Tamar in 11th and 12th century. At the beginning of the 19th century, Georgia was annexed by the Russian Empire. After a brief period of independence following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia was invaded by Bolshevik armies in 1921 and incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1922.
The independence of Georgia was restored in 1991. Like many post-communist countries, Georgia suffered from the economic crisis and civil unrest during the 1990s. After the Rose Revolution, the new political leadership introduced democratic reforms but the foreign investment and economic growth which followed initially have slackened substantially since.
Georgia's constitution is that of a representative democracy, though Freedom House has stated that the country is "not an elective democracy" , (a claim disputed by the Georgian authorities), organized as a unitary, semi-presidential republic. It is currently a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, the Community of Democratic Choice, and GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development. The country aspires to join NATO and the European Union.
In August 2008, Georgia engaged in an armed conflict with Russia and separatist groups from South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In the aftermath of the conflict, Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, but at present only Nauru, Nicaragua, the de facto independent republic of Transnistria, and Venezuela have followed suit. On August 28, 2008, the Parliament of Georgia passed a resolution declaring Abkhazia and South Ossetia "Russian-occupied territories".