What was Georgia’s foreign trade like 100 years ago?

Foreign and Georgian officials involved in a 1919 meeting in the newly proclaimed independent republic. Photo: National Archives of Georgia.
Agenda.ge, 21 Jun 2018 - 17:50, Tbilisi,Georgia

What did the young Georgian Democratic Republic have to offer to its international trade partners a century ago?

History enthusiasts among the general public have been offered a glimpse of the young state’s exports in a single month in 1918, from the vaults of the National Archives of Georgia.

The historical document, preserved at the principal archive venue, shows products exported in November of the year Georgia proclaimed its independence.

See Agenda.ge's multimedia project about the First Democratic Republic of Georgia here.

Listed along with information on volume and price, the goods include raw materials, consumer products, agricultural produce and industrial items.

The top 10 of the list features the following exported products and items:

  • Manganese — 1,451,800 poods (a pre-metric system unit of mass; 1 pood equals about 16,38 kilograms, or 36,11 pounds)
  • Copper — 10,800 poods
  • Fleece — 6,200 poods
  • Wool — 2,700 rolls
  • Tea — 3,957 poods 33 grams
  • Cognac brandy — 34,240 bottles
  • Wine — 120,272 poods, 8 barrels and 100 boxes
  • Spirits — 452 poods
  • Borjomi mineral water — 57 train cars and 1851 boxes
  • Sheepskin — 1000 units 28 packs and 360 poods

The export list contains 60 entries in total, with coffee, carpets and ink also part of foreign trade.

Georgia’s main export today involves copper ores and concentrates, ferro-alloys and motor cars. These commodities comprised the major part of the export between January-May 2018, according to the National Statistics Office of Georgia.

The historical source on November 1918 exports has been published by the National Archives within frame of the ongoing year-long celebrations of 100th anniversary of the founding of the First Democratic Republic of Georgia.