April 9, 2011

Independence Day – Georgia

Which political body, do you think, declared independence on this day in 1991—Georgia, the country, or Georgia, the U.S. state?

If you guessed the country, you are right. The nation of Georgia traces his history all the way back to ancient kingdoms called Colchis and Iberia, but it probably got its name from Saint George, whose red-on-white cross appears five times on the Georgian flag.

Georgia was taken over by the Russian Empire in the 19th Century and, after just a few years of independence when that empire was overthrown by the Russian Revolution, Georgia was again taken over by the Soviet Union in the 20th Century. Georgians took advantage of the breakup of the Soviet Union to pull away from Russia in 1991.

Because of this back-and-forth history, Georgia has two independence days: May 26 is the “Day of First Republic” (1918), and April 9 is “Independence Restoration Day” (1991). The May date seems to be more widely and vigorously celebrated—but I always think two holidays are even nicer than one!

Did you know that Europe started in Georgia?
Well, that's its tourism claim. Check it out. 

And here is a wonderful slide show. 

If your tastes are more extreme, you could watch Georgians iceclimbing

For more on Georgia, see this earlier post. 

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