A region in the western Caucasus, south of Russia and north of Turkey. Long under Turkish influence, the region of Georgia was conquered by Russia during 1810-78. In May 1918, following the withdrawal of German forces that had occupied the area during World War I, Georgia declared its independence. Georgia was recognized by the League of Nations, but on Feb. 25, 1921, it was occupied by Soviet forces. The Georgian Soviet Republic was merged into the Transcaucasian Federation of Soviet Republics in March 1922, and issues of the federation replaced those of Georgia on Oct. 1, 1923. Georgian nationalist sentiment remained strong under Soviet rule, provoking repression and massive purges after 1972. Despite this, illegal private enterprise and nationalism remained potent forces and brought further Soviet attempts at repression in 1989. Georgia declared its independence in April 1991. Its recent history has been marked by civil war during 1991-92 and by a rebellion in the province of Abkhazia, on the Black Sea. Supported by Russia, Abkhazia became autonomous in 1994.