House of Shervashidze

Coat of arms of the Shervashidze 19th century

The Shervashidze, Chachba or Chachibaia (Georgian: შერვაშიძე-ჩაჩბა/ჩაჩიბაია) was a Georgian ruling family of Principality of Abkhazia. The family was later recognized as one of the princely families of the Russian Empire at the request of King Heraclius II of Georgia in accordance with the list of Georgian noblemen presented in the Treaty of Georgievsk.[1]

Although the surname is given in a standard Georgian form (particularly, the typical –dze suffix meaning "a son"), in the 12th century the family is said to have derived its original name from Shirvanshahs, a dynasty of Shirvan. According to the medieval The Georgian Chronicles, the Shirvanese princes were granted the possessions in the province of Abkhazia after David IV, one of Georgia's greatest kings, extended his kingdom to Shirvan in 1124.

Modern Abkhaz historians dispute the above genealogy and claim the family was of local origin referring to an oral Abkhaz tradition which holds that the Shervashidze/Chachba/Chachibaia were related to the earlier clan of Anchabadze/Achba (see Abkhazian Kingdom § Rulers).

The first representative of the dynasty assumed the princely powers under the authority of the Georgian kings circa 1325. It was not, however, until the final decomposition of the unified Georgian feudal state in the late 15th century, when the Abkhazian princes obtained their full independence, only to soon become vassals of the Ottoman Empire. That Turkish overlordship brought major changes in their palace culture and political leanings, with the Shervashidze gradually losing their ties with the Christian Georgian nobility.

In the late 18th century, the Shervashidze princes embraced Islam, but shifted back and forth across the religious divide, as the Russians and Ottomans struggled for controlling the area. The pro-Russian orientation prevailed, and Abkhazia joined Imperial Russia in 1810 while the Shervashidzes (Russian: Шервашидзе) were confirmed in the Russian princely rank in accordance with the Russo-Georgian Treaty of Georgievsk.

Today, the most senior branch of the family lives in Bulgaria and United States, where they emigrated after the First World War.[2]

See also


  1. (Russian) Stanislav Vladimirovich Dumin. Pyotr Grebelsky. The Noble Houses of the Russian Empire. Moscow, Russia: 1994. Думин С. В., Гребельский П. Х. Дворянские роды Российской Империи. — Москва, 1994
  2. "Abaza Duney - Interview of Nikita Georgevitch Shervashidze (Russian)". Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
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