Website about Georgia and its peoples

Search for ancestors and relatives. History of Georgia, family history.

 Georgia is the English name of the country, situated at the junction of Europe and Asia that has only recently gained independence and restored her statehood, lost almost two hundred years ago. It is also the name by which she is known in the greater part of the modem European languages (French - Georgie, German - Georgien, Spanish - Georgiano, Italian - Georgia, etc.). This name com es from the Latin - “georgiani”.

 Jaque de Vitry (1160-1240), the French scholar and churchman, tried to explain the term etymologically as early as in the 13th century in his work “Historia Hierosolimitana abbreviata”, written in Latin. He dedicated a whole chapter to elucidating this question.

 He wrote: “There is a Christian nation in the East, great warriors, quick while fighting, of sturdy build, as if made of oak. They have a numerous army. They arouse mortal fear in Saracens and often defeat Persians, Medians and Assyrians as well as other infidels that surrounded her from all sides. These people are called georgiani, for they worship most of all, revere greatly and idolize Saint George whom they consider to be their protector and patron in their wars…”

 The worship of St. George is of special reverence in Georgia indeed, but contemporary scholarship has a different interpretation of this ethnonym. It must be coming from the Middle and Modem Persian languages in which “gurgan” means “the country of wolves” that must be a totem designation of ancient Georgians.

 It is also known that one of the southern states of the USA has the same name (Georgia), but it is an accidental coincidence of names and it has nothing to do with the Caucasian Georgia. The Georgians call themselves “Kartveli”, and their country “Sakartvelo”.