A CENTURY-old document calling for Georgian independence has been discovered and put online by the Bodleian.

The Oxford library has held the petition, which was presented to a 1907 international conference, in its collection since 1920 but has only just realised its significance after it was researched by academics.

It was signed by 3,000 people - the first time people from all social classes came together to speak up for the rights of Georgian people.

The petition outlines grievances against Russia and calls on the world’s great powers to take action to stop atrocities.

It was instigated by Georgian nationalist, Varlam Cherkezishvili, who had escaped from Siberian exile in the 1870s and settled in London, where he continued to campaign for Georgian rights.

It has never been made public before but can now be viewed on the Bodleian Libraries’ website.

Dr Beka Kobakhidze, Georgian Studies Fellow at the University of Oxford said: “I am honoured for that part I’ve played in making these signatures and many forgotten names public after 111 years.

“Looking through the petition I had a feeling that I was interacting with my ancestors, people who stood for national liberties while risking their lives.”

See digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk