• JEMAL KARALIDZE Doctor of History, Professor of Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University, N35 E. Ninoshvili st. Batumi, Georgia


Modern Batumi is one of the most significant economic, administrative, and cultural centers of Georgia. Its maritime location played a decisive role in its formation as an important center not only of Georgia but also of the Caucasus and the Black Sea coast. Batumi has one of the most favorable natural bays on the Black Sea. Nevertheless, it was not an important port until the 19th century. 19th century Since the founding of Batumi, Russia has been particularly interested in Batumi, which had an active rivalry with England and France for dominance in the Middle East. One of the main goals of the wars with the Ottomans in the 19th century was the possession of Batumi for Russia. Russia was able to achieve its goal when, as a result of the war of 1877-1878, Adjara Batumi passed under the jurisdiction of the Russian Empire. According to the decision of the Congress of Berlin, Batumi belonged to Russia with the status of Porto-Franco. From now on, the period of rapid development of Batumi began. The export of Bacops oil on the world market acquired a decisive importance. At that time, Russia was the largest oil exporter in the world market. Newly incorporated Batumi was the most convenient place from this point of view, which accelerated the construction of the railway to Batumi in 1883, then the construction of the new harbor of Batumi, and later the connection of Baku-Batumi with an oil pipeline. The held events have especially increased the role of Batumi as an oil and oil products export center. The feedback of the growth rate of oil export from Batumi was visible - at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, Batumi took third place in the Caucasus in terms of trade and industry, after Tbilisi and Baku.

The development of the port was of vital importance for the promotion of Batumi. It has been reconstructed several times, expansion of the harbor area and, an increase in the berthing lane. However, it still could not meet the demands of the ever-increasing cargo turnover. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, port expansion and reconstruction projects were developed several times, but they could not be implemented due to the government's passivity and the changed situation in the world oil market. 20th century Since the 1990s, the cargo turnover of the Batumi port has been growing at a fast pace, which required an increase in the port's capacity. In 1911, the government approved a 10-year plan for the expansion and development of the Batumi port, and the first phase of work began in 1912, but the World War that began in 1914 made its full implementation impossible.


Kay words:  Batumi; Russia; Porto-Franco; Port of Batumi; export of petroleum products; export of manganese; reconstruction of the harbor.