Armenians in Georgia

As it is well known from the historiography, settlement of the Armenians in Georgia begins from XVI century. This is the period, when Armenians, oppressed by the enemy, were leaving the homeland and trying to find shelter in foreign countries. Academician I. Javakhishvili was writing about this: "Georgia was the most close country for the Armenians, where they could live easily, - Neither national nor religious persecution ever had place in Georgia, - Besides, inhabited Armenians had more hope to return to their homeland easily after the advantageous change of the situation for them… It is absolutely natural that they preferred to settle especially in that area which was frontier of Armenia and had vacant places for settlement. This is why it is not surprise that they were choosing exactly Qvemo Qartli (lower Georgia) for this". According to the data of the same I. Javakhishvili, as the result of invasion of Leks (Lezghins) and Turks, Armenian inhabitants left these places too. After such destruction total amount of the Armenians diminished to 17000 families in Caucasus, in the second half of XVIII century. By Javakhishvili`s saying, the king Erekle settled just Melik Abo and his serfs in the uninhabited places of Qvemo Qartli, namely in Lore by the imperative request of the Russian authority.

We must pay attention to the circumstance, that compact settlement of the Armenians in the regions of Borchalo and Akhalqalaqi appears from the beginning of XIX century, namely in 1829-1831, when by the initiative of the Russian authority 34 thousand Armenians from Arzrumi Phashadom were settled in the regions of Akhaltsikhe-Akhalqalaqi and 5 thousand in that part of Borchalo region which is included in the administrational borders of today`s Georgia. As for Armenians massive settlement in Georgia, it is connected with the deliberate anti-Georgian activity of the Russian authority. The number of Armenians, who were settled in Tbilisi from the khanate of Yerevan in 1804, equaled 2000 persons. They settled 338 Armenian families (1906 persons) in the province of Tbilisi and Avlabari in 1807-1808 and 428 families from Kharabaghi (2140 persons) in Bolnisi in 1809-1811, during the time of the vicegerent Tormasov and from the administrative-territorial entities of Karsi, Erzrumi and Baiazeti 14000 families in 1829. With the contribution of the Russian authority, as the result of the Armenians settlement in Georgia, we have the following picture of the dynamic process of their growth: in 1865 lived 122,6 thousand Armenians in Georgia, in 1886 - 172,9 thousand and in 1897 amount reached 197,0 thousand. 55 thousand Armenians were settled in Georgia in 1897-1902. Because of the mentioned processes, the amount of the Armenians in Tbilisi increased from 46,7 thousand to 124,9 thousand; 68 thousand from them newly arrived.

This process of the Armenians settlement on the territory of Georgia bore the character of the intentional politics, planned in advance and was not caused by accident. Compact settlement of the Armenian population on the seaside regions implied on the annexation of Georgia`s historical territories by peaceful way. This concealed process for the overthrow of the Georgian generation, commenced from XIX century, reigned in XX century too. Georgian politicians were silent about these facts and Armenian bourgeoisie, together with the leaders of the Russian authority, was involved in the opposite activity against Georgia. Perfect example of this is the colonization of the large amount of Armenians (100 thousand persons), whom did Turkey invade in 1915-1916, on the territory of Georgia. It is also significant that Armenian population, persecuted by Turkey in 1918, was finding the shelter in various regions of Georgia, this process appeared to be the heavy load for Georgia.

After this we have the census of 1926, according which the total of Armenian population in Georgia was 307, 018; According to the census of 1939 in Georgia were living 414,182 Armenians; in 1959 - 442,9; in 1970 - 452,3; in 1979 - 448,0; in 1989 - 437,2.
According to the latest census conducted in Georgia in 2002 the size of Armenian population is 248, 929 and 82, 586 of them resided in Tbilisi.


- G. Maisuradze, Essays on Armenian population in Georgia (IV-XVIII cc.), Tbilisi 1999;
- Sh. Vadachkoria, Political history of Georgia (XX c.), Tbilisi 2003, pp. 289-290;
- Sh. Thethvadze, O. Thethvadze, Armenians in Georgia, Tbilisi 1998;
- V. Jaoshvili, Georgia`s population, Tbilisi 1996, pp.112-290;
- Principal results of census of the Georgian population, Tbilisi 2002, vs. I-II.