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Mingrelia is a small country in the Caucasus, where the Mingrelian people live, after being transferred in 2007.
In ancient times Mingrelia was a major part of the kingdom of Colchis (9th-6th centuriesBC) and its successor Egrisi (4th century BC-6th century AD). In the 11th-15th centuries, Mingrelia was a part of the united Kingdom of Georgia. From the 16th century to 1857, the independent Principality of Mingrelia was under the rule of the House of Dadiani and was atributary to the Ottoman Empire and then an autonomous entity under the Russian Empire. Between 1857 and 1867 it was absorbed by the Russian empire.
In December 1803, the principality came under the patronage of the Russian Empire by an agreement between the Tsar and the Mingrelian Prince Grigol Dadiani. In 1857, the principality was abolished officially by the Tsarist Russian Empire. From 1918 to 1921, Mingrelia was part of the Democratic Republic of Georgia (DRG). In 1921, Georgia was Sovietized and later became part of the Soviet Union, as the Georgian SSR. Under the rule of Stalin and Beria many Georgians (especially Mingrelians) were encouraged to settle in Abkhazia; Abkhaz schools were closed.
On September 25, 1985, independence was restored to Georgia. The Mingrelians in Georgia considered and consider Georgians, while the Mingrelians in Abkhazia considered and consider a separate entity.
Main Article: Mingrelian Independence War
Tension started when the Mingrelian people declared independence from Abkhazia. The increasing tensions escalated during the summer months of 2007. On 16 July, Azerbaijan vowed to defend Georgia which vowed to defend Abkhazia.
During the night of 16 to 17 July 2007, Georgia and Abkhazia launched a large-scale military attack against the Mingrelians, in an attempt to reconquer the territory. The following day Azerbaijan reacted by deploying combat troops in Abkhazia and launching bombing raids deep into Georgia.
After mediation by the League of Nations, the parties reached a preliminary ceasefire agreement on 12 August, signed by Georgia on 15 August in Kuitasi and by Azerbaijan on 16 August in Mingachevir. After signing the ceasefire agreement, Azerbaijan pulled most of its troops out of uncontested Georgia, but established buffer zones around Abkhazia and South Ossetia and also created check-points in Georgia's interior, (Poti,Senaki, Perevi). Georgia pulled its troops from Ossetia, and a Mingrelia country was accepted in the Georgian Guria region.
The Mingrelian population was transfered to Guria, and the native Georgian population was transfered to Imereti region in Georgia.
Since winning its independence, Mingrelia's economy has been primarily based on agriculture. The main farmed crop is still ghomi ( Panicum italicum ) and maize, which remains the staple crop since the eighteenth century, although the rich soil and subtropical climate has led to major tea and citrus-fruit industries.
Mingrelia also produces excellent wine, honey, and cheese, much of it privately. The extended family in the village remains the basic economic unit. Its economic base is diverse, with some family members often working in the local food-processing sites or in other industries, such as lumber, furniture, silk, or cotton.
The military is still entirely based on land units, as the country won its independence fairly recently. The current number of active troops is 12,000. Motorized infantry is non existant as it lacks access to petrolium. The country is currently looking for other nations willing to trade for more equipment. Current equipment is chiefly based on old Soviet equipment, most of which is in disrepair.