Imeritia (ĭmərĭshˈə) [key], geographic and historic region, Georgia, in the upper Rion River basin. Kutaisi (the historic capital) and Chiatura are the main cities. Imeritia is an agricultural region, noted for its mulberry trees and vineyards. There are also manganese deposits. The Imeritians, now numbering about 500,000, speak a Georgian dialect and probably represent a very early branch of the Caucasians. Imeritia has been known since 1442, when the Georgian ruler Alexander I divided his kingdom into three parts among his sons; one part was Imeritia. From 1510 it was often invaded by the Turks, to whom it was forced to pay tribute. It was an independent kingdom from the 16th to 18th cent. In 1804, Russia forcibly obtained an oath of allegiance from Imeritia, which, however, continued to fight until its annexation to the Russian Empire in 1810.