Abkhazia is legally part of Georgia, of which it has been an autonomous republic since 1931.
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Subsequent Georgian settlement in Abkhazia reduced the Abkhaz population to a minority. Tension increased in 1992, when Abkhazia attempted secession. In 1993 Georgian troops sent to pacify Abkhazia were defeated, and Georgian residents evicted. In 1999, Abkhazia unilaterally declared independence. The republic remains a
flashpoint and, although Russia does not recognize Abkhazia, the Russian authorities unofficially offer support. The flag of Abkhazia has a red canton carrying an open and (an ancient Abkhaz symbol). The seven green and white stripes represent the seven traditional Abkhaz regions.