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Georgia Independence Day

Every year, Georgia celebrates its Independence Day on May 26. On this day, in 1918 the country declared its independence from the Russian Empire. Later, the country became a part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922. It regained independence after the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.

Independence Day Celebrations
Independence Day in Georgia is a major public holiday and is celebrated throughout the country. People take part in processions carrying flags and banners. March pasts by the army were also performed earlier. However, these have recently been discontinued in order to prevent any probable skirmishes with demonstrators during the occasion.

During the day, a formal flag hoisting service is conducted in Tbilisi, the capital of the country. Other popular events and entertainment programs are also arranged where people from all age groups take part.

The Empire of Georgia was first set up in 1008 under the reign of Bagrat III of Unified Georgia. In the 11th and 12th century, the foundation of the Empire was strengthened by strong financial and political governance under King David and Queen Tamar.

The beginning of the 19th century turned out to be quite difficult for Georgia as the country fell victim to Russian annexation. Georgia had a short stint of freedom during the conclusion of the Russian Revolution in 1917 but was again attacked by Bolsheviks in 1921, the founders of Soviet Russia. Georgia declared independence on May 26, 1918, as an autonomous and democratic country.

Georgia was ultimately integrated into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922. The nation was a part of the USSR for almost 70 years. Georgia regained its independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and Gamsakhurdia was elected president by more than 85% of the votes cast. On July 21, 1992, Georgia was admitted to the United Nations and it joined the Commonwealth of Independent State (CIS) in 1993.

In 1995 a new constitution, which created a strong president, was enacted. In November, Shevardnadze was elected to that office with 75 percent of the vote.

In 2000, Georgia became a member of the World Trade Organization.

In September 2002, tensions mounted between Georgia and Russia. Russia accused Georgia of harboring Chechen militants in Pankisi Gorge and President Vladimir Putin warned Georgia of military action if it failed to deal with the militants. In October of the same year Georgia promised to mount anti-terrorism operations against Chechen rebels on its territory.

In November 2003, Georgia President Shevardnadze was overthrown in a bloodless "Rose Revolution" on charges of irregularities in parliamentary elections. In May 2005, President George W Bush became the first US leader to visit Georgia. He called the country a "beacon of liberty".

In November 2006, South Ossetians voted in favour of independence from Georgia in a referendum which was unrecognized, while in March 2008, Separatist government in Abkhazia asked United Nations to recognize its independence.

Interesting facts
  • Georgians call their country Sakartvelo.
  • Joseph Stalin, the ruler of the Soviet Union, was Georgian.
  • Earthquake is biggest natural calamity.
  • The capital of Georgia is Tbilisi.
  • The 2008 map of Georgia shows the two regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in a different color from the rest of nation as these were declared autonomous territories.
  • Georgia gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
  • The name of the present-day capital, Tbilisi, is derived from the Georgian word for warm.
  • The World Bank has named Georgia as the number one economic reformer in the world.
  • Georgia's traditional method of wine production, which uses underground clay jars for fermentation, has been included in a UN list of protected non-material cultural heritage.
  • Georgia was one of the first former Soviet republics to adopt market reforms on foreign investment.
  • The World Bank ranked Georgia 15th amongst 189 states in terms of doing business.
  • Georgia scored 73 in the Heritage Foundation 2015 Index of Economic Freedom, making its economy the 22nd freest in the world and 11th out of 43 countries in Europe.
  • U.S. lifestyle magazine Presscave ranked Georgia 6th in the list of "Top 10 Safest Countries in the World 2015".
  • This is based on the Global Peace Index (GPI) issued by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).
  • Georgia was ranked 25th on the New York Times list of 52 Places to Go in 2015.