Major battle between the Georgian army of King Erekle II and the Turkish forces near Aspindza (in southern Georgia) on 20 April 1770. In 1760s, King Erekle II, and his father King Teimuraz II sought to establish a military alliance with Russia against the Ottoman Empire and Persia. During the Russo-Turkish war in 1769, Empress Catherine dispatched a Russian expeditionary force (1,200 men) under General Gotlib Totleben to Georgia and King Erekle II opened the second front against the Porte. In March 1770, the Russo-Georgian forces marched into the Borjomi Valley and seized Sadgeri fortress on 14 April. Three days later, they besieged the Atskhuri fortress, but Erekle and Totleben disagreed on strategy; the Georgian ruler wanted to take advantage of their earlier successes and advance quickly to Akhaltsikhe, the focal point of the Ottoman authority in the region. However, Totleben refused to support him and remained at Atskhuri.
In the meantime, the Ottoman pasha of Akhaltsikhe rallied his troops to relieve Atskuri. In a surprise move, on 19 April, Totleben lifted the siege and withdrew his forces from the theater of operations, effectively abandoning the Georgians. King Erekle had no other option but to retreat, pursued by superior Turkish troops who tried to cut his line of retreat near Aspindza. On 20 April, King Erekle routed the Turkish advance guard of 1,500 men and then allowed the main Ottoman forces of some 8,000 troops to cross the Kura (Mtkvari) River. During the night of 20 April, a group of Georgians, led by Aghabab Eristavi and Svimon Mukhranbatoni, destroyed the only bridge across the river, stranding the Ottomans on the riverbank. At dawn, the Georgians attacked, with King Erekle leading the center, David Orbeliani the right flank, and Giorgi Batonishvili the left flank. The Ottomans were routed—loosing over half of their strength, including their commander and several pashas; many of whom drowned trying to swim across the river.
Decisive battle between the supporters of King Teimuraz I and Giorgi Saakadze. In the early 17th century, Persia emerged as a powerful state under the capable leadership of Shah Abbas I and began aggressive expansion into Georgia. The attempts of Giorgi Saakadze, the mouravi of Kartli, to unite Georgian forces against foreign threats failed due to internal feuds of the nobility, and he was forced to flee to Persia where he became distinguished as a military commander. In 1625, Saakadze returned to Georgia where he raised a rebellion in Kartli and annihilated a Persian armed force in the battle of Martkopi on 25 March. He then quickly captured Tbilisi and campaigned in Kakheti, Ganja-Karabagh, and Akhaltsikhe. Teimuraz of Kakheti was invited to take the crown of Kartli, and thereby united both principalities. Although the Georgians suffered a defeat in the subsequent battle of Marabda in late 1625, Saakadze turned to guerrilla war, eliminating some 12,000 Persians in the Ksani Valley alone. His successful resistance frustrated Shah Abbas’ plans to destroy the Georgian states and set up Qizilbash khanates on Georgian territory. However, the rise of Saakadze embittered many powerful lords who feared losing their power at court and conspired against Saakadze. Shah Abbas also took advantage of this discontent and skillfully revived the feud between the Georgian nobles. An important aspect of this was a struggle between the gentry, who rallied around Saakadze, and the grand nobility who supported the king.
Decisive battle between the Persian and Georgian armies on 1 July 1625. In response to Persian encroachments on eastern Georgia, the Great Mouravi, Giorgi Saakadze, raised a rebellion in Kartli in the spring of 1625 and annihilated a Persian army in the battle of Martkopi on 25 March. He went on to capture Tbilisi and campaign in Kakheti, Ganja-Karabagh and Akhaltsikhe. King Teimuraz of Kakheti was invited to take the crown of Kartli and thereby unite both principalities. In response, Shah Abbas I dispatched a large Persian army to destroy the insurgents. The Persians entered Kartli in late June 1625 and bivouacked on the Marabda Field while the Georgian army took up positions in the Kodjori-Tabakhmela Valley. At the council of war, Giorgi Saakadze urged King Teimuraz and other lords to remain in position and wage a guerilla war since descending into the valley would allow the Persians to take advantage of their numerical superiority as well as firepower. However, powerful lords, especially the Baratashvilis, were concerned about the Persians ravaging their estates and threatened to defect unless the battle was given at once. Thus, Saakadze was overruled and King Teimuraz ordered the attack on 1 July 1625.
The Persians, armed with the latest gunpowder weaponry, were well prepared for the assault. Georgians, lacking firearms, suffered heavy casualties as their charged, but the impetus of their attack pierced the Persian lines and spread confusion among the enemy. As the Persians began to flee, a small group of Georgian troops pursued them while others began to plunder the Persian camp. At this moment, the Persian reinforcements arrived charging the befuddled Georgians; in the resultant confusion, Lord Teimuraz Mukhranbatoni was killed but the rumor spread that King Teimuraz had been killed, further demoralizing the Georgian host. The Georgians were defeated, losing about 10,000 killed and wounded; among the dead were the nine brothers Kherkheulidze who defended the royal banner to the last. The Persians suffered heavy losses as well, losing some 14,000 men. Following the battle, Saakadze again led the Georgian resistance and turned to guerrilla war, eliminating some 12,000 Persians in the Ksani Valley alone. His successful guerilla warfare frustrated Shah Abbas’ plans to destroy the eastern Georgian states and set up Qizilbash khanates on Georgian territory.
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