|South Ossetia (əˈsiːʃə)|
|Georgian name: Tskhinvali, Also called: South Ossetian Autonomous Region a disputed region in Georgia on the S slopes of the Caucasus Mountains; in 1990 it voted to join Russia, leading to armed conflict with Georgian forces; it became an autonomous region in 1997 but later lost this status under a nationwide reorganization of local government; it declared itself an independent republic in 2008 following armed conflict in the region between Russian and Georgian forces. Capital: Tskhinvali. Pop: about 70 000 (2000 est). Area: 3900 sq km (1500 sq miles)|
region, north-central Georgia. South Ossetia occupies the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus mountains. The region is populated largely (about two-thirds) by the Ossetes, a Caucasian people speaking an eastern Iranian language. (Many Ossetes also live in the neighbouring republic of North Ossetia-Alania in Russia, which occupies the northern slopes of the Greater Caucasus.) Most of the remaining inhabitants of South Ossetia are Georgians. Its capital is Tskhinvali. Pop. (1989) 98,500; (2005 est.) 49,200
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