The history of Abkhazia is rooted in the depths of millennia. Fertile lands of Abkhazia was settled actively by people in the era of the late Paleolithic - 35 thousand years ago. Mesolithic sites, which arose in the 12th-7th millennium BC, are well known. People settled in caves near rivers, engaged in gathering and fishing evidenced by the bone harpoons and fish bones found near their homes.
Pottery and the first dwellings made by man appeared in the Neolithic period in the VI-IV millennium BC. People begin to cultivate the land and tame animals. At the turn of the IV-III millennium BC the population of Abkhazia has already processed metal, first copper, and then bronze. At the end of the III - beginning of the II millennium BC a dolmens culture arises. Stone tombs - dolmens - are found throughout the territory of Abkhazia. Their greatest concentration is in the vicinity of the village of Otkhara (district of Gudauta), where 15 tombs are found, weighing from 60 to 110 tons. In the burials of the Late Bronze Age, archaeologists find bronze axes, spearheads, all sorts of jewelry and ceramics.
In the VIII century BC the Abkhazian coast of the Black Sea began to master sailors from the mainland Greece. They founded the first cities - Dioskuria (now Sukhum), Pitiunt (Pitsunda), Triglit (Gagra), Gyenos (Ochamchira) and others in quiet and comfortable bays in the VI-I centuries BC. Soon the colonies turned into cultural and historical centers of the Black Sea coast, in which handicrafts developed and active commodity exchange took place.
At the same time, the territory where the Greeks founded Dioscuriada was named Akua. And the inscription "Akoi" (Akua) on gold coins (stators), minted in the 90-80s BC speak about the antiquity of the local toponym in imitation of the stats of the Thracian king Lysimachus. In addition, the Bagrat castle, located in the vicinity of modern Sukhum and called by local lore at the end of the 19th - early 20th centuries was formerly called as the castle of Agua (Akua). At the beginning of the VI-V centuries BC Greek and local settlements were as two closed and autonomous structures connected only by economic ties. Then, in the era of Hellenism (especially in the 4th-3rd centuries BC) their mutual integration took place and the population of the Dioscuriada became mixed Greek-local.
The Romans replaced the Greeks and strengthened in Abkhazia under the Roman emperor Augustus Octavian in the 1st century AD. At the same time the ancient Dioscuriada was renamed as Sebastopolis. This was the beginning of the new Roman-Byzantine period in the history of Sukhum which lasted until the 7th century AD.
According to the church legend disciples of Jesus Christ - the apostles Simon Kananit and Andrew the First-Called came to Abkhazia to preach Christianity in 55 AD . Simon Kananit took a martyr's death on the bank of the Psyrdzha River and was buried there. Christianity penetrated into Abkhazia with Roman soldiers, three cohorts (a cohort troop of number up to 500 soldiers) which were quartered in Pitiunt (Pitsunda), Sebastopolis (Sukhum) and in Ziganis (now the village of Gudava, district of Ochamchira). The most ancient Christian community was formed in the Caucasus by the end of the III - beginning of the IV centuries in Pitiunt. The Bishop Stratophilus of Pitiute represented it at the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea in 325.
Since the beginning of the VI century Abkhazia was under the rule of the Byzantine Empire. At this time the Apsils, Abazgs and Misimians formed a tribal alliance. Feudal relations began to arise in the social system. The spread of Christianity contributed their development in 548. In the VII century, Abasgia, Apsilia and Misimonia remained dependent on the Byzantine Empire, being its northeastern province. At the beginning of the 7th century the Anakopia fortress was built - the largest defensive structure on the Caucasian coast of the Black Sea.
At the end of the 7th century the Arabs invaded Western Transcaucasia. They reached Apsilia and placed their garrisons. In 738 the Arab forces led by Mervan Kru (Deaf) invaded Transcaucasia. Mervan destroyed Tskhum (modern Sukhum) and reached Anakopia (now New Afon), walls of Anakopia were protected by two thousand Abasgians and one thousand of kartlis fleeing to Abasgia with the kings Mir and Archil. Leon I, the ruler of abasgas at this time went for help to the Alans.
The army of Mervan was as "a dark cloud of locusts and mosquitoes," which was in several times larger than the army defending Anakopia. This inequality was compensated by the power of the walls of the Anakopia fortress. Its southern wall with a length of 450 m included seven towers of a quadrangular and semicircular shape. These towers stood apart from each other at a distance of 30-50 m. There were catapults and other propelling machines, falling asleep enemies with arrows and stones on the walls and towers. The gates were hidden behind the round multi-tiered corner tower approaches to which were carefully protected. There were wickets between the towers in the wall through which defenders of the fortress made sorties.
It was not a bloody fight or a long siege from the Arab side. Juansher , the Georgian historian of the XI century reports that "God sent the South heat to the Saracens and they had become ill with blood cholera." Most Arab warriors died from the disease. The Abasgians and the Kartlis stubbornly defended the fortress. Mervan had to draw back.
The Abkhazian Kingdom
An early feudal state -the Abkhazian kingdom where lived the Adygeyan and Abkhazian tribes formed on the territory of Abkhazia at the end of the 8th century. The boundaries of the kingdom stretched from the modern Tuapse to the Suramsky pass. In the chronicle of Georgia of the XI century, it is described as important event in the history of Transcaucasia: "When the Greeks weakened than eristav Leon by name the nephew of Eristav Leon to which was given Abkhazia as hereditary possession resigned from them. This second Leon was the son of the daughter of the Khazar king and by their force (Khazars) resigned from Greeks, took possession of Abkhazia and assumed the name of the king of the Abkhaz. «The Abkhazian kingdom even then received "international recognition", and Leon II moved the capital from Anakopia to Kutaisi. Economics and culture were intensively developed, palaces, temples, architectural ensembles were erected during the period of the Abkhazian kingdom.
The Abkhazian kingdom lasted 200 years; its decline began with the death of the childless Tsar Theodosius the Blind.
Italians in Abkhazia
The Genoese merchant fleet appeared in the coastal waters of Abkhazia in the second half of the 13th century. Trade settlements of Genoese - factories -arises in many places of Abkhazia: Kakari (modern Gagra), Pezonda (modern Pitsunda), Kavo di Bukso (modern Gudauta), Nykoffa (modern New Afon), Sevastopolis or San Sebastian (modern Sukhum), Kavo Zizibar (near modern Adziubzha), San Tommaso (modern Thamysh) and others. The center of the Genoese settlements was Sevastopolis, where the residence of the head of all Italian settlements in the Caucasus was located. The main occupation of the Genoese was trade, and silk was the main good that went through Western Europe .Three Transcaucasian branches of the Great Silk Road connecting Genoa with the Golden Horde passed through Abkhazia.
The Abkhazian Principality and Turkey
The Turkish fleet appeared in Abkhazia in the second half of the 15th century, after the Turks took Constantinople, and some time later the Genoese left the Black Sea coast. By this time, the Abkhazian rulers were represented by the Abkhazian clan Shervashidze (Chachba), who sought to free themselves from the dependence of the Megrelian kings.The internecine war between the Abkhaz and Megrel feudal was lasted for 30 years. It ended with the establishment of a state border between Abkhazians and Kartvels along the Ingur River, which has been preserved for more than 300 years. In the first half of the XVII century the Turks besieged Sevastopolis from the sea. The Abkhazian feudal lords were forced to agree to pay tribute. In 1634 the Turkish landing landed in the Kodori cape, the Turks devastated and plundered the surrounding territory, overlaid the feudal lords with tribute. In 1724 the Turks built a fortress on the Sevastopolis coast and called it Sukhum-kale. The city was the same called. Political and economic contacts with the Ottoman Empire led to the spread of Islam on the territory of Abkhazia. Since the end of the 18th century, with the ruler Keleshbey Chachba (Shervashidze), the Abkhazian princedom once again intensified and with the help of the fleet and it controlled the Black Sea coast from Anapa to Batum.
Abkhazia under the protectorate of Russia
In the XIX century, Russia and Turkey fought trying to fixposition on the Black Sea coast. In July 1810, the Russian military squadron stormed the fortress of Sukhum-kale. Abkhazia, with the exception of free mountain societies, was annexed to Russia. 1810 is the date of Abkhazia under the protectorate of Russia. In the same year up to 5,000 of Abkhazians moved to Turkey. This was the first wave of migration in the 19th century. One of the distinctive features of the Abkhazian princedom is that, unlike Georgia, it did not completely lose its statehood with annexation to Russia. From 1810 to 1864 years the Abkhazian principality retained autonomous rule within Russia and lasted longer than the others in the Caucasus.
In June 1864, the Abkhazian principality was abolished and renamed into the Sukhumsky Military department of the Russian Empire. On the eve of the liquidation of the Abkhazian principality Mikhail Romanov, the Roman governor in the Caucasus, presented a plan for the colonization of the eastern coast of the Black Sea. Alexander II approved the settlement of Cossack villages from the mouth of the Kuban to Ingur. At that time the Ubykhs (up to 45 thousand people) and the sadzes (20 thousand people) were almost completely exiled to Turkey.
In 1866, an uprising broke out in the village of Lykhny, spreading to Sukhum. The main reason for the indignation was the preparations for carrying out the peasant reform. The Russian officials did not take into account the local characteristics of the country, whose internal life, unlike Russia, Georgia and neighboring Mingrelia, was deprived of serfdom. Following the defeat of the uprising, a wave of repression struck Abkhazia, and the people disarmed completely, including daggers. The tsarist authorities exiled the participants in the uprisings in extremely unfavorable climatic regions of the North and Siberia. About 20,000 people - forced migrants to Turkey became mahadzhiri in April-June 1867.
Actions of the Abkhaz on the side of the Turks, related to the events of the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878. It led to political repression. The Abkhaz were declared "guilty" population for participation in this uprising and they were sent to penal servitude and exile to the remote Russian provinces. mahaj, the mass migration of the Abkhazian population to Turkey reached its peak in 1877another 50,000 of Abkhaz left Abkhazia. The country was practically empty. Abkhazia began to be inhabited by other peoples, primarily by Georgians (mostly Mingrelians), as well as by Russians, Greeks, Armenians, Bulgarians, Estonians, Germans. So, if in 1886 Abkhazians constituted 85.7% of the population of Abkhazia, than in 1897 they were already- 55.3%.
New time and Soviet power in Abkhazia
In the second half of the XIX century, Abkhazia still occupied an intermediate position between the democratic free societies of the mountaineers of the North-Western Caucasus and the feudal system of Georgia. However, according to the spirit of the social order, it was closely connected with the Circassian-Ubykh world.
After the collapse of the Russian Empire, Abkhazia entered the Union of United Mountaineers of the Caucasus and the South-Eastern Union. The first parliament - the Abkhaz People's Council, was elected at the Congress of the Abkhaz people November 8, 1917 which adopted the Constitution and the Declaration of the Abkhaz people. On March 4, 1921, the Bolsheviks established the Soviet power in Abkhazia and declared it the Soviet Socialist Republic. On February 19, 1931, it was resolved on transform of the SSR of Abkhazia into an autonomous republic within the Georgian SSR at the VI All-Georgian Congress of Soviets in Tbilisi. Since that day, one of the most difficult periods has began in Abkhazia: the repression, the closure of Abkhazian schools and the transfer of tuition in Georgian, the settlement of Georgians in the Abkhaz territory (Abkhaz-pereselenstroy) - all this aggravated the already difficult fate of the Abkhaz people, it was the policy of extermination of the nation as such !!! After a short respite, which came with the death of Stalin and Beria, the Abkhaz people again rose to fight for rights in their territory. Waves of the national liberation movement, which rose with a periodicity of 10 years –are a vivid confirmation of this.
The rise of the national liberation movement
Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the national liberation movement began to rise in all republics, Abkhazia fought for increase its administrative status. The Georgian parliament unilaterally began to take decisions (resolutions of 1989-1990), which ignored the interstate character of relations between Abkhazia and Georgia and in fact led to the abolition of Abkhaz statehood.
For overcoming the legal unsettledness between the republics on July 23, 1992 the Supreme Council of Abkhazia decided to restore the Abkhazian Constitution of 1925 in Abkhazia , and also it adopted the new Emblem and the Flag of the Republic of Abkhazia.
Georgia, which joined the UN, unleashed a war against Abkhazia on August 14, 1992. The Georgian troops with the support of aviation, armored vehicles, artillery invaded Abkhazia and occupied part of its territory. In addition to the physical extermination of the peoples inhabiting Abkhazia, the policy of cultural genocide was carried out. The monuments of history and culture of the Abkhazian people were destroyed; valuable historical documents, linguistic materials, rare books and manuscripts were lost.
The entire territory of Abkhazia was liberated on September 30, 1993. The victory went at a high price - about three thousand people gave their lives for the freedom and independence of Abkhazia.
The parliament of the republic adopted the new Constitution of Abkhazia on November 26, 1994. Vladislav Grigorievich Ardzinba was elected as the first president of the country.
Abkhazia and its people were subjected to political, economic and information blockade from December 1994 to September 1999. However, despite on all the complexities of the postwar period the country began to revive the economy, culture, science, education and the resort sector. The multinational population of Abkhazia voted for the independence of the country in a national referendum by adopting the corresponding state act in October 1999. The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree recognizing the independence of Abkhazia on August 26, 2008. Abkhazia was recognized by Nicaragua in 2008, by Nauru and Venezuela- in 2009, and by the island states of Vanuatu and Tuvalu in 2011.