The Mingrelians are a subethnic group of Georgians that mostly live in Samegrelo (Mingrelia) region of Georgia. They also live in considerable numbers in Abkhazia and Tbilisi. In the pre-1930 Soviet census, the Mingrelians were afforded their own ethnic group (natsional'nost) category. The Mingrelians speak the Mingrelian, and are mostly bilingual also in Georgian. Both these languages belong to the Kartvelian (South Caucasian) language family. The Mingrelians are descendants of several Colchian tribes (Such as: Manraloi, Heniochi, Machelones, Macrones, Mossynoeci, Drilae, Zydretae) and constitute one of the building blocks of the unified Georgian nation that emerged after the kingdoms of the west (Colchis) and east (Iberia) were united under Christianity in the middle of the first millennium AD. Early in the Middle Ages, Mingrelian aristocracy and clergy, later followed by laymen, adopted the national Georgian tongue as a language of literacy and culture.
Contributions by Kober, Jorjadze, and PlatonPskov.