History of Batumi
Archaeological works on the fortress located at the northern entrance of the city revealed that people inhabited there in the first millennium B.C. The earliest cultural layer should be dated back to the 8th and 7th centuries BC. Imported artefacts earliest of which date from the 6th century BC testify trade relations with the Greek colonies. Under Emperor Hadrian (117-138), the old citadel of the settlement was converted into a Roman fort with a harbour.
It is believed that “so-called Deeps” (τα καλούμενα βαθέα) mentioned by Aristotle ((384-322 BC) in his Meteorologica refers to Batumi. Aristotle’s information was later repeated by Pliny the Elder and Arrian. The copy of the fifth-century map known as Tabula Peutingeriana shows Portus Altus on the place of modern Batumi, which actually is the Latin translation of the Greek toponym and means “deep harbour”. In the Middle Ages, Batumi doesn’t appear in the chronicles up until the 14th century. However, some scholars think that Megale Polis mentioned in the seventh-century Chronicon Paschale may refer to Batumi.
Garrisoned by the Roman and later Byzantine forces, Batumi was formally a possession of the western Georgian kingdom of Lazica until being occupied briefly by the Arabs. In the ninth century Batumi became a part of the Tao-Klarjeti (Kartvelian) Kingdom and in the late tenth century of the unified kingdom of Georgia.
In the late 15th century, after the disintegration of the Georgian kingdom, Batumi passed to the princes Gurieli, governors of a western Georgian principality. In 1547, the Ottoman Turks conquered the city. It was recaptured by the Georgians several times, first in 1564 by Rostom Gurieli, who lost it soon afterwards, and again in 1609 by Mamia Gurieli. In 1723 Batumi again became part of the Ottoman Empire.
Under various names, Batumi is drawn on the 14th -17th centuries European maps, atlases and portolan charts: the Catalan Atlas (1375), Luxoro Atlas (early 15th c.), maps of Pietro Vesconte (1318), Pizzigani brothers (1367), Gratiosus Benincasa (1461-1480), etc.
The Georgian geographer Prince Vakhushti (1696–1757) describes Batumi as a town with an excellent citadel, while the French traveler Adrien Dupré, who visited the city in 1807, reports it being just a large village with the population of 2,000. According to A. Dupre, trade was weakly developed and only small ships entered the harbour with a limited quantity of good. During the nineteen century, Ottomans put some effort for the development of the city. In 1860s, they built new fortifications and expanded the port.
In 1878, under the Treaty of San-Stefano, Batumi together with whole region of Adjara was incorporated into the Russian Empire. It was declared a free port until 1886. The city saw a rapid development in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
From 1921, Batumi is the capital of Adjara Autonomous Republic of Georgia.
One of the painful leaves from the history of Georgia is 1924 year – rebellions in different regions of Georgia against the Russian conquerors. Participants of anti-Soviet activities have been judged and shot without any preliminary investigation. Among them was an active participant of the battle for liberation Batumi from Ottomans- Major-General Giorgi Purtseladze, who held the post of the head of fortification staff.
After entering the Soviet borders Adjara was awarded status of autonomy, as if for the difference in religion. Batumi city and its inhabitants got used with the socialist life style. Batumians took active part in the World War the Second. Out of 12258 soldiers called up, 4728 haven’t come back.
After beginning the national-liberation movements of Georgia in 1989-91 years and reestablishment of independence of Georgia in may 26. 1991, Adjara was governed by Aslan Abashidze. “The Rose Revolution” of Georgia (2003) was followed by logical overthrowing of the separatist regime of Abashidze In May 2004.