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Georgian–Armenian War
Part of the aftermath of World War I

Democratic Republic of Georgia.

Date7–31 December 1918
LocationJavakheti and Lori districts
Armenia takes control of Lori district, which becomes a neutral zone
Georgia retains Javakheti district
 First Republic of Armenia  Democratic Republic of Georgia
Commanders and leaders
Drastamat Kanayan Giorgi Mazniashvili
Giorgi Kvinitadze
Valiko Jugheli

The Georgian–Armenian War was a border war fought in 1918 between the Democratic Republic of Georgia and the First Republic of Armenia over the control of territories in Lori, Javakheti, and Borchalo districts which, until 1917, had been part of the Tiflis Governorate of the Russian Empire.

At the end of World War I, some of these territories were occupied by the Ottoman Empire. When Ottoman forces withdrew from the region, the majority Armenian population claimed control. The dispute degenerated into armed clashes on 7 December 1918. The hostilities continued with varying success of Georgia until 31 December when a British-brokered ceasefire was signed, leaving the disputed part of Borchalo district under joint Georgian and Armenian administration until the establishment of Soviet rule in Armenia in 1920.


During the final stages of World War I, the Armenians and Georgians had been defending against the advance of the Ottoman Empire. In June 1918, in order to forestall an Ottoman advance on Tiflis, Georgian troops entered the Lori district, which had a 75% Armenian population. The Georgians offered a quadripartite conference including Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus in order to resolve the issue, which the Armenians rejected. Within days, hostilities commenced between the two republics.[1]


On 5 December 1918, Armenia sent troops to occupy Borchalo and Akhalkalaki districts. The first military clashes occurred on 9 December. Three days later, the Armenians scored a victory in the village of Sanahin in the Lori district, took over the village and its surroundings after surprise attacks, to build up effective defensive positions. The main advancing forces were halted and the Georgian Army mounted a counteroffensive, winning a battle at Shulaveri on 29 December.[2] and forcing an Armenian retreat. Hostilities ended at the village of Sadakhlo on the night of 31 December, when the parties agreed to a British-brokered ceasefire.[3]


Both parties signed a peace agreement in January 1919 brokered by the British. Armenian and Georgian troops left the territory and both sides agreed to begin talks on designating a neutral zone. The neutral zone later was divided between the Armenian SSR and Georgian SSR. The immediate consequences of the conflict have been summed up by historian Firuz Kazemzadeh as:

The Armeno-Georgian war inflicted great injury on the cause of the independence of the Transcaucasian republics. The old hostilities of the Georgians toward the Armenians flared up and reached an intensity unparallelled before, making impossible united ArmenoGeorgian action at the Paris Peace Conference. The West was treated to a sad spectacle of two peoples, ruled by parties which were members of the Second International and professed peace to be their chief aim, fighting over a few strips of land in the manner of a Germany or a Russia. Those who were called upon to decide the destinies of mankind at Paris could never again trust Georgia or Armenia. The enemies of Transcaucasia's independence were provided with excellent material, on the basis of which they could, and did, argue that Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan ruled by the Dashnaks, the Mensheviks and the Musavatists, were incapable of preserving order and of guaranteeing a peaceful existence to their peoples. Even in Transcaucasia, doubts were raised whether this land could stand on its own feet.[4]

See also


  1. Armenian the Survival of a Nation, Christopher Walker pg 267-268
  2. INDEPENDENT GEORGIA (1918-1921), David Marshall Lang
  3. ARMENIA/KARABAKH: 1918 - 1920, Andrew Anderson
  4. Firuz Kazemzadeh (1981). The struggle for Transcaucasia, 1917-1921. Hyperion Press. p. 182. ISBN 978-0-8305-0076-5. Retrieved 24 June 2012. 

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