Differences Between the Country Georgia & State of Georgia

Differences Between the Country Georgia & State of Georgia

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With its towering mountains, world-class wineries, glistening coastline, and unique culture, Georgia is among the most distinctive countries in Europe. Yet, its name can cause confusion - for some, especially Americans, the country of Georgia in the Caucasus is mistaken for the US state. Luckily, we are here to set the misinformed straight!

Location & Geography

Georgia the country is situated in the Caucasus at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and West Asia, bordered to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. It has a total area of 69,700 square kilometers and Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia.

Meanwhile, the state of Georgia is located in the southeast of the United States. It borders Florida to the south, Alabama to the west, Tennessee to the north, and South Carolina and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Known as “the Peach State,” it covers an area of 153,909 square kilometers.

Name Origins & History 

Despite being located thousands of kilometers apart and in different continents, how can this country and that state share the same name in English? It’s a puzzle we’ll try to solve here.

The historical origins of the name “Georgia” for the European country and the US state differ quite markedly, as explained below.

  1. Georgia the country

For the European country, "Georgia"  is thought to derive from the Persian word gurğ/gurğān (گرگ, wolf).

  1. Georgia the US state

Across the Atlantic meanwhile, the American state of Georgia took its name from King George II of Great Britain who reigned when it was, founded as a British colony by James Oglethorpe in 1732.

Which Georgia was settled first - the European country or the American state?

Of the two, Georgia the country has a much longer recorded history with the Kingdom of Colchis known to have been operating here from the 6th to the 1st century BC.

Among the territory’s inhabitants at that time were the Colchians, an early tribal group, while the Mingrelians, Lazi, and Chans lived along the eastern coast of the Black Sea.

Although the American state of Georgia is thought to have been occupied by humans more than 13,000 years ago to some extent, it was not properly settled until the 18th century AD.

How do you say  Georgia the country in Georgian?

In the Georgian language, the country of Georgia is "Sakartvelo," which means "land of the Kartvelians," referring to the broad ethnic group that constitutes the population of Georgia.

What language is spoken in Georgia the country?

The official language of Georgia is Georgian which has a unique alphabetic script known as "mkhedruli." Meanwhile, English is the dominant language in the American state of Georgia, where locals speak with a renowned southern drawl.

What makes Georgia the country unique?

  1. A Rich History: Situated on the ancient Silk Road, Georgia has a deep and fascinating history dating back thousands of years. Indeed, much of the country’s past is visible in the present in terms of its architecture, ranging from archaic churches and monasteries to formidable fortresses.

  2. Language and Alphabet: Georgian is a language independent from any other language family. Moreover, the Georgian alphabet is one of only 14 unique alphabets in the world.

  3. Cultural Heritage: Folk music, dance, and theater are just some parts of a rich folklore that holds the country together. Meanwhile, Georgians’ revered hospitality is routinely shown at the  "supra" (feast) table, where an abundance of sumptuous food and glorious wine (see point 4 below) are presented.

  4. Wine Production: Georgia is the birthplace of wine where the tradition of winemaking goes back 8,000 years. One of the most notable features of the traditional Georgian method of wine production is the “qvevri” - a large earthenware vessel in which grape juice is fermented.

  5. Nature of Georgia: One of the many reasons tourism is flourishing in Georgia is its uniquely diverse nature landscapes, which keep visitors coming back again and again.

  6. Religious Significance: As one of the first countries to establish Christianity as the state religion, Georgia has a remarkable array of old churches, monasteries, and other sites of great religious importance.

  7. Strategic Location: Given its geographical location, straddling continents, Georgia has always been hotly contested and was targeted (and at times ruled) by the Persian, Ottoman, and Russian empires. 

With so much to see, savor, and learn, get ready for your first or next unforgettable trip to Georgia by checking out the latest Georgia travel requirements.

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