Mingrelia, a district of Asiatic Russia, in the lieutenancy of the Caucasus, forming part of the government of Kutais, bordering on the Circassian districts, Imerethia, Guria, the Blaek sea, and Abkhasia; area, about 2,000 sq. m.; pop. about 240,000,or, including Sua-nethi and Samurzakan (together 1,500 sq. m.), which are embraced in the same government, 280,000. The surface is generally mountainous, but slopes gradually to the south, particularly toward the Rion, its principal river. The climate is warm and damp, and fevers are prevalent The soil is exceedingly fertile and vegetation rapid. The mountains are covered with magnificent forests, and much good land lies waste. The principal products are maize, wood, wax, and wool. Tobacco, rice, and mil-let are raised, and a good deal of silk, honey, and wine produced. There is an iron mine and a smelting furnace, and in 1865 gold was discovered in the valley of the Ingur. The district is without internal improvement, and has a savage and deserted appearance.
The inhabitants belong mainly to the Georgian race, but are generally inferior in appearance to the mountaineers of the Caucasus. The dominant religion is that of the Greek church. - Mingre-lia nearly corresponds with the ancient Colchis. It was long a part of the kingdom of Georgia, was afterward independent under a line of native princes, and became subject to Russia in 1804; but its prince remained nominally sovereign till Jan. 17, 1867, when he ceded all his rights to the emperor of Russia in consideration of 1,000,000 rubles. On the W. coast the Russians have established the forts of Redut-Kaleh and Anaklia.