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Georgia:
Geography

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Background
Definition
The region of present-day Georgia contained the ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Kartli-Iberia. The area came under Roman influence in the first centuries A.D. and Christianity became the state religion in the 330s. Domination by Persians, Arabs, and Turks was followed by a Georgian golden age (11th-13th centuries) that was cut short by the Mongol invasion of 1236. Subsequently, the Ottoman and Persian empires competed for influence in the region. Georgia was absorbed into the Russian Empire in the 19th century. Independent for three years (1918-1921) following the Russian revolution, it was forcibly incorporated into the USSR until the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. An attempt by the incumbent Georgian government to manipulate national legislative elections in November 2003 touched off widespread protests that led to the resignation of Eduard SHEVARDNADZE, president since 1995. New elections in early 2004 swept Mikheil SAAKASHVILI into power along with his National Movement party. Progress on market reforms and democratization has been made in the years since independence, but this progress has been complicated by two ethnic conflicts in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These two territories remain outside the control of the central government and are ruled by de facto, unrecognized governments, supported by Russia. Russian-led peacekeeping operations continue in both regions.
Location
Definition
Southwestern Asia, bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia
Geographic coordinates
Definition
42 00 N, 43 30 E
Map references
Definition
Asia
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 69,700 sq km
land: 69,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly smaller than South Carolina
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 1,461 km
border countries: Armenia 164 km, Azerbaijan 322 km, Russia 723 km, Turkey 252 km
Coastline
Definition
310 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
warm and pleasant; Mediterranean-like on Black Sea coast
Terrain
Definition
largely mountainous with Great Caucasus Mountains in the north and Lesser Caucasus Mountains in the south; Kolkhet'is Dablobi (Kolkhida Lowland) opens to the Black Sea in the west; Mtkvari River Basin in the east; good soils in river valley flood plains, foothills of Kolkhida Lowland
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
highest point: Mt'a Shkhara 5,201 m
Natural resources
Definition
forests, hydropower, manganese deposits, iron ore, copper, minor coal and oil deposits; coastal climate and soils allow for important tea and citrus growth
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 11.51%
permanent crops: 3.79%
other: 84.7% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
4,690 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
63.3 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 3.61 cu km/yr (20%/21%/59%)
per capita: 808 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
earthquakes
Environment - current issues
Definition
air pollution, particularly in Rust'avi; heavy pollution of Mtkvari River and the Black Sea; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil pollution from toxic chemicals
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
strategically located east of the Black Sea; Georgia controls much of the Caucasus Mountains and the routes through them


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