The region of present-day
Georgia contained the ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Kartli-Iberia.
The area came under Roman influence in the first centuries A.D. and
Christianity became the state religion in the 330s. Domination by
Persians, Arabs, and Turks was followed by a Georgian golden age
(11th-13th centuries) that was cut short by the Mongol invasion of
1236. Subsequently, the Ottoman and Persian empires competed for
influence in the region. Georgia was absorbed into the Russian Empire
in the 19th century. Independent for three years (1918-1921) following
the Russian revolution, it was forcibly incorporated into the USSR
until the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. Georgian is the official
language; Russian, Armenian, and Azeri are also spoken.