POPULATION OF THE OCCUPIED TERRITORY OF SAMACHABLO IN THE MIDDLE AGES

Giorgi SOSIASHVILI

The significant part of Shida Kartli – Georgia`s historical region has been occupied since the Russo-Georgian August War of 2008. The territory, which was inhabited by the Georgian population from the ancient times and was an integral part of the Georgian area, was turned into South Ossetian Republic by the efforts of the so-called Ossetian separatists and Russian support. The current occupied territories of Didi Liakhvi Gorge were part of Samachablo in the Middle Ages. Samachablo was the feudal land of the representatives of one of the ancient Georgian noble family – the Machabeli. The present work shows the life of Georgians throughout centuries in Samachablo.Traces of population in the Big  Liakhvi Gorge can be seen from ancient times, however, there is a lack of statistical data on the exact number of population until the XVIII century.

Thus, a comparative analysis of the census ledgers and other documentary material reveal that both, in Tskhinvali and in the villages of the Big  Liakhvi Gorge, where the peasants of the Georgian royal family, various noble families and, for the most part, the Machabel feudal house lived, were predominantly Georgians. The Ossetians settled from the North Caucasus in the XVII-XVIII centuries lived only in the mountainous area of Shida Kartli (including the upper part of the Big  Liakhvi Gorge). was facilitated by the royal government and various feudal houses (including the Machabels) in order to re-assimilate the deserted villages and increase the number of taxpayers. The migration of the Ossetians living in the mountainous villages to the lowland villages started more on that later.

Thus, based on the analysis of the presented documents, we can conclude that the territory of Samachablo, which is forcefully separated from the Georgian area, throughout centuries was inhabited only by Georgians (together with them fragmentarily lived Armenians and Jews, and later, particularly from the XVII century Ossetians, who came from the North Caucasus settled in the mountainous villages of Samachablo). After the August War of 2008, the inhabitants of Didi Liakhvi Gorge, Georgians, have become refugees in their own homeland.

Keywords: Samachablo, Georgians, Ossetians, Didi Liakhvi Gorge, Occupation.