Georgia, on the Black Sea, is geographically in Asia—the mountains forming its northern border serve as the Europe-Asia boundary. Rich in farmland and minerals, rugged Georgia is wedged between the Caucasus Mountains and the Lesser Caucasus. Over the centuries it has been an object of rivalry between Persia, Turkey, and Russia, and was annexed by Russia in the 19th century.

After independence came in 1991, ethnic strife caused Georgia to lose control of South Ossetia in 1992 and Abkhazia in 1993. Both the Ossete and Abkhaz regions enjoyed autonomy during Soviet rule, and both allied with Russia to separate from Georgia. The UN works to resolve these separatist disputes.