Lost Kingdoms – Kingdom of Georgia

By Ec.Domnowall - CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
The Kingdom of Georgia was formed in 1008 when King Bagrat III of Abkhazia succeeded Gurgen of Iberia, and he effectively became the first King of the United Kingdom of Georgia. He was married to Martha, who was thus the first Queen of a united Georgia. She was the mother of his successor, but not much is known about her. Bagrat died in 1014 and was succeeded by his son, now King George I, who was still quite young. He was married to Mariam of Vaspurakan with whom he had one son and several daughters. They appeared to have divorced at some point so he could marry to Alde of Alania, with whom he had another son.

George also inherited a war against the Byzantine Empire, and he was eventually forced to sign a peace treaty, where he also had to give up his three-year-old son Bagrat as a hostage. He was released three years later in 1025. George died on 16 August 1027 and was succeeded by the young King Bagrat IV. His mother Mariam returned to court to act as regent for her son. Bagrat IV too had to deal with the Byzantine Empire and also had the added problem of the Seljuks under Alp Arslan who invaded the borders. Bagrat married Helena Argyre in 1032, but she had died within the year. He remarried to Borena of Alania with whom he had a son and a daughter. He brokered peace with the Byzantine Empire by marrying his daughter Maria to the co-emperor Michael VII Ducas. He married his niece to Alp Arslan. Bagrat reigned for an amazing 45 years, and he was succeeded by his son, King George II.

George was married to a woman named Helen, who is quite unknown, but she was the mother of his son, David. George was soon under attack again from the Seljuks, and many settlements were reduced to ruins. The Great Turkish Invasion from 1079 onwards resulted in severe depopulation and a weakening royal authority. The resulting crisis and an additional disastrous earthquake in 1088 saw George handing the throne to his 16-year-old son, now King David IV. He reportedly crowned his son with his own hands, and he died circa 1112.
David’s accession marked a new era. He married Rusudan of Armenia, and after their divorce, he married Gurandukht of the Kipchaks. He had seven children. David was actively involved in politics and was determined to bring order to the land. He reformed the army and allowed the population to grow again. His humane treatment of the Muslim population led to a standard for tolerance. He died in 1125 and was succeeded by his eldest son, now King Demetrius I.

Demetrius was not quite the success as his father in his military accomplishments. The name of his wife is not known, but they had at least four children, including two future Kings of Georgia. He was briefly forced to abdicate in favour of his eldest son who became King David V. David reigned for just one year, and he had a son named Demna with an unknown woman. His father was restored to the throne after his death, but Demetrius died in 1156. The young Demna was passed over in favour of his uncle, now King George III.

George had married Burdukhan of Alania in 1155, and they had two daughters together. In 1177, several nobles rose up in favour of the now-adult Prince Demna. The rebellion was crushed, and Demna was blinded and castrated. The next year, George appointed his eldest daughter Tamar as his successor. He died in 1184 and was indeed succeeded by Tamar, the first Queen regnant of Georgia.

Tamar and George III (public domain)

Tamar faced significant opposition, but she was able to neutralise this. Under Tamar, George reached its Golden Age. She managed to shield Georgia from further Turkish invasions. She married Yuri Bogolyubsky in 1185, and although he was an able soldier, the marriage soon turned sour. They divorced in 1187 and Yuri made two attempts at a coup. She remarried to David Soslan with whom she had a son and a daughter.

Tamar died in 1213 and was succeeded by her son, now King George IV. George reigned for ten years, but he never married though he did have an illegitimate son with a non-noble woman. He was succeeded by his sister, now Queen Rusudan. She had married the Seljuk Prince Ghias ad-din, and they had a son and a daughter. The invasion by the Khwarezmians in 1225 and by the Mongols in 1236 effectively ended the Georgian Golden Age. Rusudan died in 1245 while her son was away to gain recognition as heir apparent. So, her illegitimate nephew was hailed as King David. When her son finally returned her was recognised as co-king with his cousin. Eventually, the Kingdom was split in two. Rusudan’s son was married three times, and he had children by two of his wives. The other illegitimate David was married four times, and he had four children. The illegitimate David was succeeded in the Kingdom of Georgia by his son, now King Demetrius II, while the new Kingdom of Imereti from the other David was inherited by his son, now King Constantine I. The Kingdom of Imereti lasted until 1392 when it was annexed by the Kingdom of Georgia.

King Demetrius II of the Kingdom of Georgia was married three times, and he had children by all three of his wives. He was criticised for his bigamous marriages. He was thought to be involved in a plot and was beheaded at Movakan on 12 March 1289. He was succeeded by his cousin Vakhtang II of Georgia who died after a reign of just three years. He was succeeded by Demetrius II’s eldest son, now King David VIII. He was married twice, and he had a son, the future George VI “the little.” George VI reigned for just two years, and when he died in 1313, he was still a minor. He was succeeded by his uncle, King George V (the numbering is due to a brief reign from 1299-1302). The identity of his wife is not known, but he had at least one son, the future King David IX. David was married to Sindukhtar with whom he had a daughter and a son. He died in 1360 and was succeeded by his son, now King Bagrat V. The Black Death, which had come to Georgia in 1346, attributed to Georgia’s political and military decline. It is said to have wiped almost half of the Georgian population.

In 1367, Bagrat had married Anna Megale Comnena, and they had four children. Bagrat and his family were imprisoned in 1386 after a siege and Bagrat secured his release by becoming a Muslim. His son George finally managed to free him. George succeeded his father as King George VII in 1393. He never married and had no issue. Upon his death in 1407, he was succeeded by his brother Constantine I. Constantine was married to Natia Amirejibi and they had three sons. Constantine was taken prisoner after the Battle of Chalagan, and he was executed in 1412. He was succeeded by his son, now King Alexander I.

Alexander married Dulandukht Orbeliani in 1411, and they had two sons and a daughter. She probably died after three years of marriage. He remarried in 1414 to Tamar of Imereti, and they had three sons. He appointed his son as his co-rulers in Kakheti, Imereti and Kartli to keep rebellions in check but it further damaged the integrity of the Kingdom. As the problems in the Kingdom began to overwhelm him, he abdicated in favour of his eldest son, now King Vakhtang IV. He died in 1446 without having had any children by his wife, Sitikhatun. He was succeeded by his brother, now King George VIII who already ruled Kakheti. There is some confusion over his wife/wives, but he had at least five children. In 1456, Bagrat of Imereti (a grandson of Constantine I of Georgia) seized control of Tbilisi and declared himself King of Georgia. He was succeeded in the Kingdom of Kakheti by his son, now King Alexander I.

Bagrat of Imereti became King Bagrat VI of Georgia. He was married to a woman named Elene, and he had three sons by her. He was succeeded in both Imereti and Georgia by his son, now King Alexander II. Alexander was expelled from Georgia by a rival Prince, a grandson of Alexander I of Georgia, who then became King Constantine II of Georgia. Alexander remained as King of Imereti until his death in 1510. Constantine was married to a woman named Tamar, with whom he had 11 children. By then the Kingdom of Georgia had fallen into three independent Kingdoms, Kartli (central to eastern Georgia), Kakheti (eastern Georgia), and Imereti (western Georgia). Constantine’s son was known as King of Kartli and no longer as King of Georgia.

The Kingdoms of Kartli and Kakheti forged an alliance with the Russian Empire in the 18th Century and was annexed in 1801, followed by the Kingdom of Imereti in 1810. Georgia became a Union Republic in 1936, and they declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

About Moniek Bloks 2698 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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