Today is Georgia Independence Day, and it is observed annually on May 26. By now you should know we aren’t talking about the lovely state of Georgia, but rather a country situated right where Eastern Europe and Western Asia intersect. Georgia has spent most of its history under Russian rule, and the Soviet Union. It has gained, and even regained its independence at different points within this history, but has been an independent nation for over 30 years. The origin story of Georgia’s independence begins after the Russian Revolution of 1917 with the adoption of the Act of Independence.
History of Georgia Independence Day
Today is an important day in history, as it marks the national day of Georgia. Most nations have a long, eventful, and empowering story of how they achieved their independence, and this is no different. Allow us to take you through the triumphant story of how the country of Georgia came to be the independent state it is today.
It all started with the annexation of Georgia into the Russian empire in the 19th century. For over a decade, the Russian empire ruled the state of Georgia, and it remained that way until the Russian Revolution of 1917. The revolution began as a feat to abolish the monarchy and adopt the socialist government system. It began during the First World War and lasted for a few years after two successive revolutions and a bloody civil war.
After the revolution, in 1918, the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic was formed in Caucasia. It was a brief union consisting of most of the territory of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, as well as parts of Russia and Turkey. This state lasted for only a month as Georgia then declared independence on May 26 of the same year.
This independence, however, was also short-lived as a few years after, Georgia was once again annexed, but this time into the Soviet Union. Georgia reestablished their independence several decades later on April 9, 1991. The first presidential election was held on May 26 of the same year, in which Zviad Gamsakhurdia was declared the winner.
May 26 remained Independence Day under the Act of Independence, with April 9 declared as the Day of National Unity, Civic Concordance, and Remembrance. Both holidays are national, public observances and are celebrated annually.
Georgia Independence Day timeline
Georgia declares itself an independent Democratic Republic on May 26.
Georgia loses its independence and gets annexed into the Soviet Union.
Georgia reclaims its independence under the Act of Reestablishment of Independence on April 9.
April 9 is declared the Day of National Unity, Civic Concordance, and Remembrance in Georgia.
Georgia Independence Day FAQs
When was Georgia Independence Day a civilian observance?
After Zviad Gamsakhurdia became the first president of the Republic of Georgia, he governed for two years and was overthrown by Eduard Shevardnadze in 1992. Under President Eduard’s rule, Independence Day was considered a civilian event. Military parades were canceled from 1997 due to a lack of funding, until they were restored by his successor, Mikheil Saakashvili, in 2004.
What happened to the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic union after Georgia’s Independence?
The Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic union was previously part of the Russian empire, and was formed after the Russian Revolution on April 22, 1918, and lasted for a month until Georgia declared independence on May 26. The union dissolves on May 28, leading to the independence of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Did the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic have a capital?
Tbilisi was founded in the fifth century A.D. by Vakhtang I of Iberia and has since then served as the capital of various Georgian kingdoms and republics, including the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic. After which, it functioned as the capital of the Republic of Georgia and has remained so through Soviet Union rule, reestablishment of independence, and till date.
How to Observe Georgia Independence Day
Attend an event
The people of Georgia celebrate Independence Day with a variety of national events. So if you find yourself in Georgia on this special day, act as the Georgians do! There are often marching parades, political and oath ceremonies, festivals, fairs, and even exhibitions hosted across the country. Pick one or several events of your choice to attend, and if you have family or friends with you make sure they tag along.
Send well wishes
Today we are celebrating with the people of Georgia, and even though you are not a Georgian, you have a responsibility of wishing them well on this day. If you know anyone who hails from the region, let them know you are thinking of them by wishing them a happy Independence Day. If you don’t know any Georgian in particular, send your good wishes through social media using the hashtag #GeorgiaIndependenceDay.
Learn more about Georgia
We have only been able to discuss the story of Georgia’s claim to independence. Take some time out to really get to know the country of Georgia by doing personal research on it. Discover the culture, languages, and even other holidays of the country.
5 Interesting Facts About Georgia
Its flag is really symbolic
Georgia’s flag consists of a white background representing peace, one large cross representing the cross of St George, and four smaller crosses representing Christianity and sacrifice.
The locals don’t call it Georgia
The locals of Georgia refer to their home state as Saqartvelo.
It’s the birthplace of wine
Georgians are said to have been producing wine as far back as 8,000 years ago.
It houses a few UNESCO world heritages
Georgia is home to three of the many UNESCO world heritage sites — Gelati Monastery, Mtskheta, and the ancient villages and towers of Svaneti in the Caucasus Mountains.
Unique language and alphabets
The Georgian language is one of the four Kartvelian languages, and its alphabet is the Mkhedruli.
Why Georgia Independence Day is Important
It’s about independence
Who doesn’t love a good independence story? Well, we definitely love to hear and tell the stories of personal and national triumphant victory of independence, and this day allows us to do just that.
It’s monumental to Georgians
This holiday is a historical observance, important to the people of Georgia. It commemorates and raises awareness for this monumental independence story, reminding Georgians of their empowering efforts towards an independent nation.
It is educational
With all the many countries in the world, it is hard to be knowledgeable or even keep track of their histories. Georgia Independence Day educates us on some of the history of Georgia, allowing us to gain new knowledge of an old country.
Georgia Independence Day dates