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Map Source: Parliament of Georgia

Population: 204,900

Size: 6,413 sq. km

Main Town: Akhaltsikhe (pop: 18,200)

Average salary: 83.4 GEL ($46) per month

Principal economic activities: Subsistence agriculture, livestock

Minorities: Armenians make up 54.5 percent of the population, Georgians 43 percent. Small communities of Russians, Ossetians, Greeks, and Ukrainians account for the remainder.

Birth Rate: 2.1 per 1,000

Death Rate: 2.1 per 1,000

Nutshell History: Constant migrations and deportations mark Samtskhe-Javakhetiís recent history. Armenians resettled here in the 1830s and 1870s, and in 1915 when many fled persecution by the Ottoman Empire. The Dukhobors, a Russian religious minority group, were resettled in Samtskhe-Javakheti in the mid-1800s; in 1944, Joseph Stalin deported the regionís Meskhetian Turks to Central Asia. During the Cold War, Samtskhe-Javakheti became a high security zone. In the early 1990s, local ethnic Armenian political parties Javakh and Virk initiated calls for greater autonomy from Tbilisi.

Claim to Fame: The $3 billion Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline runs through Samtskhe-Javakheti, and the Shah Deniz gas pipeline is being built through the district of Borjomi. This construction and Borjomiís mineral springs and famous bottled waters help support the Georgian economy. Prolific contraband and the impending withdrawal of Russiaís 62nd military base from Akhalkalaki pose important challenges to President Saakashviliís government.

Statistics Source: State Department for Statistics of Georgia

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