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GEORGIAN INDEPENDENCY: La Géorgie turque. Lasistan, Trébizonde et contrée du Tchorokh


[Turkish Georgia. Lazistan, Trebizond and Chorokh Region]


8°.52 pp. with a black and white map and illustrations, later dark red cloth binding with gold lettering (age-toned with small soiling to t he title page, sporadic leaves loose, binding with minor wear and tiny annotations on the inner side of the boards, but otherwise in a good condition).



The text, accompanied with charts and illustrations, describes the Georgian inhabitants in the south-eastern coastal regions of the Black Sea. It was printed in Berne in 1919, at the end of World War I, when many countries were fighting to gain their independency.

The book was published in 1919, a year after Georgia declared independence on May 26, 1918, and when the future of the Georgian inhabitants of the discussed coastal area, at the time still a part of the Ottoman Empire, was unclear. In the same year Georgian general Giorgi Mazniashvili was leading the attack against the White Army in the East coast of the Black Sea.

The author Grigor Veshapeli (1892-1926) was a Georgian politician, publicist, journalist and member of the founding assembly of the Democratic Republic of Georgia. He studied in Moscow, where he also first published this text in 1916, probably as an article in a newspaper. Upon his return to his homeland, he became an active pioneer of the politics of independent Georgia, but soon had a fall-out with his party.

After the Soviet annexation of the country in 1921, Veshapeli fled to Paris, but surprisingly soon turned into a keen Soviet sympathizer, spreading the Soviet propaganda and trying to convince often appalled Georgian immigrants to return to their country and embrace the new regime. When in 1925, Veshapeli attempted to establish “Georgian Soviet Colony” in Paris, in Café La Voltaire, he faced a violent reaction from his fellow countrymen, who escaped the Soviets. A year later, Grigor Veshapeli was shot to death by another Georgian in Paris. He was first buried at the Montparnasse cemetery, but his body was two years later transferred to Tiblisi.

References: OCLC 504869107, 962928056, 1143030286, 26671255. Nagendra Kr Singh – Abdul Mabud Khan, Encyclopaedia of the World Muslims Tribes, Castes and Communities, 2001, Volume 2, p. 840.

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