History of Abkhazia


Abkhazia is a country of ancient history. Since ancient times (over 45 Upper Paleolithic sites and locations have been discovered in Abkhazia) people have been living on its territory. Metallurgy, weaving, megalithic structures scattered throughout Abkhazia distinguished this ancient culture. Since the XIII century BC begins the final stage of the bronze culture, called the Colchis. This stage is characterized by the flourishing of metallurgy. The Bronze culture of the Abkhaz variant is one of the brightest ancient cultures that existed on the territory of the former USSR. Monuments of ancient culture and art, which were created here, were so outstanding that they are important not only for the history of Abkhazia, but also for all the ancient culture of the Western Transcaucasus. The quality of jewelry, jewelry made of gold, silver, bronze, carnelian and amber has reached an incredible development. They can be seen in numerous museums of Abkhazia.

Early feudal state

With the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, the Genoese gained influence throughout the Black Sea region. In a relatively short time from the mouth of the Don to Sebastopolis, 39 colonies were founded. Here is a list of some of them on the territory of modern Abkhazia:

• Abaza - mouth of the river Psou

• Petsonda - modern Pitsunda

• Cavo-di-Bucso - Gudauta

• Cavo-di-Giro - in the area of N. Athos

• Tamansa - modern Tamysh

• Ola-Guana – area of modern Ochamchira

Honey, wax, flaxseed, flax yarn, furs, hemp, expensive wood, timber and ship wood were exported from Abkhazia. The most important point of the Genoese outposts was the city of Sebastopol or San Sebastian. Along with Kaffa, it became the main loading and transit port-city, where the largest slave market on the east coast, which was located on the territory of the old Sukhum fortress, was located.

In the XVI century Abkhazia fell under the political influence of Turkey. Many of the Abkhaz who fell into the Ottoman Empire as slaves, later made a military and political career. From these families there were such famous figures of the end of the XVI and beginning of the XVII centuries as Melek Akhmed Pasha, who became Grand Vizier, Abaza Mekhmed Pasha, Mekhmed Pasha, Ipshir Pasha, Siyavush Pasha and many others. They became governors of such areas as Rumelia, Bosnia, Hungary. The surviving battle tower of the Buda Palace fortress in Budapest, built by Siyavush Pasha still bears his name.

Abkhaz Principality

The next significant stage in the history of Abkhazia is connected with the Abkhaz Principality. Representatives of the ruling Abkhaz family, who never gave up hope to regain the territory of southern Abkhazia, managed to form the Abkhaz principality within the present borders, which have remained unchanged since then until its abolition in 1864.

At the head of the people stood the sovereign prince - akh, who was always the representative of the oldest princely family - Chachba. The ruler and other princes, as well as high nobles, had with them a strong equestrian detachment of armed men called “Kiaraz”. Militia were gathering from “Kiaraz” armed men and military detachments of pure peasants. Each such detachment had its own banner. The peasants had their banner and the nobility had theirs. The same was repeated at sea. Separate detachments floated on high-speed galleys – “Alyshkintrah”.

The last outstanding ruler of Abkhazia in the era of the Abkhaz Principality was Keleshbey Chachba. Having united the country from Dzhiketi to Ingur, Keleshbey began to pursue an independent policy from Turkey. Realizing that Abkhazia would not be able to win and maintain independence in the neighborhood of the empires, he made his choice in favor of Russia. However, the accession of Abkhazia to Russia did not take place immediately, but proceeded in a winding, extremely complicated way. Russia was facing an impending war with Napoleon and did not want to complicate the situation on its southern borders.

Recent history

In 1991, supporters of independence won a landslide victory in parliamentary elections. January 6, 1992 Vladislav Ardzinba is elected Chairman of the Supreme Council of Abkhazia. The new Parliament adopted a number of legislative acts designed to restore Abkhaz statehood. On August 25, 1990, the Supreme Council of the Republic adopted the Declaration on the sovereignty of Abkhazia, and on July 23, 1992, the decision to repeal the effect of the 1978 Constitution. At the same time, the Parliament of Abkhazia declares the entry into force of the Constitution of the SSR of Abkhazia of 1925, its intention to maintain ties with Georgia, to build them on new, civilized and equal bases.

Unfortunately, in Georgia they did not consider it necessary to discuss this problem. The war began on August 14, 1992.

13 and a half months lasted one of the fiercest “local wars of the recent history.” Along with the wars in the Balkans, in Transnistria and Karabakh, it inscribed another black page in the collapse of the post socialist space. On September 30, 1993, the war ended on the eastern border of Abkhazia along the Ingur River. Volunteers from the North Caucasus, Russia, Transnistria, representatives of the Abkhaz Diaspora provided unprecedented assistance to the people of Abkhazia. The outstanding contribution to the military victory and the creation of the Modern Abkhaz state was made by the Supreme Commander, the First President of the Republic Vladislav G. Ardzinba.

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