|Kingdom of Imereti |
|Religion||Georgian Orthodox Church|
|Government||Feudal Monarchy (1460-1610)
Centralized Monarchy (1610-1646)
The Kingdom of Imereti (Georgian: იმერეთის სამეფო) was a Georgian monarchy established in 1455 by a member of the House of Bagrationi when the Kingdom of Georgia was dissolved into rival kingdoms. Before that time, Imereti was considered a separate kingdom within the Kingdom of Georgia, to which a cadet branch of the Bagration royal family held the crown beginning in 1260 by David VI after he revolted against the Mongolian rule and fled to Abkhazia. This was due to the Mongolian conquest of the 13th century which decentralized and fragmented Georgia, forcing the relocation of governmental centers to the provinces. Imereti was conquered by Giorgi the Brilliant, who was subject to the Mongols, and united with the east Kingdom of Georgia. From 1455 onward, however, the kingdom became a constant battleground between Georgian, Persian, and Turkish forces.
Rise under Giorgi IIIGiorgi III ascended the throne of Imereti in 1605, succeeding his Half-Brother Rostom. At the time of his crowning, Kingdom of Imereti was stuck in Period known as Feudal Anarchy, during which various subjects of Imeretian crown (most notoriously the Dukes of Megrelia) challenged the king's authority and constantly revolted. King Giorgi III sought to end the Anarchy. His Only Loyal Vassal was Duke of Svaneti and with his help, In 1607, he had his rival, Duke of Racha assassinated and his estates confiscated. the Duke of Megrelia, Manuchar I, fearing the same fate, assembled an army and marched toward Imereti. Manuchar Began raiding western parts of Imereti, taking many hostages and laying waste to the land. As soon as news reached him, Giorgi assembled his army and traveled west to meet his rival.
Battle of Tekhuri
Manuchar was informed of an approaching menace, so he abandoned his campaign and began to retreat to his lands. He requested aid from his vassal dukes of Guria and Abkhazia, both of whom agreed. Giorgi Caught up with Manuchar near river of Tekhuri on 10 September and a bloody battle ensued. Giorgi seemed to have an upper hand at first but on 11 September Manuchar was reinforced by his Allies. Seeing that Battle was lost, Giorgi ordered his forces to retreat. Manuchar wanted to pursue his enemy but his had been weakened, so he returned to his Base in Zugdidi. After this battle Giorgi realized that he had to modernize his forces in order to defeat his unruly vassals.
Modernization of Army
In order to defeat his enemies, Giorgi III began The Grand Reformation of Army. Giorgi realized that times of Feudal Armies were gone and that European-Style Regular Army was required. Giorgi Began recruiting petty serfs into his army, this move was protested by reactionary dukes and barons, who were afraid of losing their former position. The king prevailed, however, and recruitment continued. Giorgi began Mass Purchasing Gunpowder weapons for his new Army. He also invited foreign Generals to train his armies in art of Musketry. He settled Mountainous Tribes in his lands in return for their service in his army, he also attracted support of Kartlian people. By 1613 Giorgi possessed a well trained, well disciplined army, and he was ready for his revenge.
End of Feudal Anarchy
In Spring of 1614, Giorgi invaded Megrelia with an army of 50,000 warriors. he intended to end Megrelian golden age once and for all. His Army quickly reached capital of Megrelia, where Manuchar's 17 year old son, Levan, was entrenched. Siege lasted for 20 days, and the capital was overrun after Giorgi's cannon fire demolished most of the fort. Levan was killed in action. After the demise of Megrelia, Giorgi set his eyes on Abkhazia and Guria. By 1618, Giorgi had completely subjugated western Georgia.
Non-Stop war with Unruly vassals ruined Imeretian economy, Giorgi had to support his army somehow. George established Economic ties with Poland-Lithuania and various Italian Merchant republics. In 1619 First Genoese trade post was established. Long-Lasting peace allowed peasants to finally start producing again, which started the Economic Upheaval of Imeretia.
Black Sea Expedition
By 1620 Imeretia had a Good Army and a functioning economy, Giorgi III decided to expand his realm but he was reluctant to attack other Georgian kingdoms, so he turned his eyes on Ubykhia. Ubykhia was an independent Circassian Tribal Chiefdom located on Black Sea Coast. In the 1460s Ubykhians took advantage of Civil war in Georgia and occupied lands from them. In the summer of 1620, Giorgi led a modest army into Nikopsia and occupied it. He oversaw construction of a new fort there. He stopped nine Ubykh assaults.
1620-1640 was marked by rapid development of Economy and Growth of Population in Imereti, Giorgi III exchanged embassies with king Sigismund III of Poland and managed to form an alliance with him, this Move angered Ottomans, who Tried to Break up Imereti from inside, but since the power of Nobles had declined, they failed to incite a rebellion. Ottomans ordered Crimean Tatars and Circassians to raid into Imereti. The Era of Peace had ended.
Giorgi III was reluctant to fight the Ottomans, as he was afraid that he would not be able to defeat them, but Tataro-Circassian raids on Abkhazia didn't end. Giorgi III passed away in 1639, and was succeeded by his oldest son Alexander. Alexander III decided to take a more aggressive stance toward his enemies. In 1639 Alexander attacked a combined Tataro-Circassian Army which had laid siege to Nikopsia. Alexander managed to capture the son of Crimean Khan, Crimean raiders escaped to their homeland. Alexander then started a punitive war against Circassians. Circassians offered a fierce resistance but nevertheless, Georgian forces took over numerous Circassian Chiefdoms. Alexander unified Circassian chiefdoms into Princedom of Circassia, He gave the Princedom to his brother, Mamuka, for his valiant service. At this point, Alexander posed a threat to The Sublime Porte, so they ordered to Pasha of Akhaltsikhe to depose Alexander. Alexander's spies informed him of this threat, so Alexander raised his Army and Marched towards Akhaltsikhe. Alexander successfully ambushed Pasha's Army North of Akhaltsikhe, Pasha was killed in acton and his army was slaughtered. Alexander used this as a casus belli and occupied Adjara and Akhaltsikhe. Ottomans attempted to retake lost lands but to no avail. Poland, Being the ally of Imereti sent an ultimatum to Ottomans. Reluctant to fight a war on Two Fronts, Ottomans accepted, and Treaty of Erzican was signed.
Treaty of Erzican
- Sublime Porte will no longer meddle in Internal and Foreign affairs of Imereti.
- Sublime Porte will recognize Polish-Imeretian Alliance.
- Ottomans must let Imeretian ships through Bosphorus.
- Imereti gains some border territories.