During the classical era independent kingdoms became established in what is now Georgia. The kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia adopted Christianity in the early 4th century. A unified Georgia reached the peak of its political and economic strength during the reign of King David IV and Queen Tamar in the 11th � 12th centuries. At the beginning of the 19th century, Georgia was annexed by the Russian Empire. After a brief period of independence following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1921, becoming the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. After independence in 1991, post-communist Georgia suffered from civil unrest and economic crisis for most of the 1990s. This lasted until the Rose Revolution of 2003, after which the new government introduced democratic and economic reforms.
Georgia is a member of the Council of Europe and the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development. It contains two de facto independent regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which gained limited international recognition after the 2008 South Ossetia war between Georgia and Russia. Georgia still considers the regions to be part of its sovereign territory.