Cyprus History

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History[edit | edit source]

The Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean It is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel, north of Egypt, and southeast of Greece.

Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC. As a strategic location in the Middle East, it was subsequently occupied by several major powers, including the empires of the Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians, from whom the island was seized in 333 BC by Alexander the Great. Subsequent rule by Ptolemaic Egypt, the Classical and Eastern Roman Empire, Arab caliphates for a short period, the French Lusignan dynasty and the Venetians, was followed by over three centuries of Ottoman rule between 1571 and 1878.

Cyprus was placed under British administration based on the Cyprus Convention in 1878 and was formally annexed by Britain in 1914. While Turkish Cypriots made up 18% of the population, the partition of Cyprus and creation of a Turkish state in the north became a policy of Turkish Cypriot leaders and Turkey in the 1950s. Following nationalist violence in the 1950s, Cyprus was granted independence in 1960. In 1963, the 11-year intercommunal violence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots started, which displaced more than 25,000 Turkish Cypriots and brought the end of Turkish Cypriot representation in the republic.

On 15 July 1974, a coup d'état was staged by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta in an attempt at the incorporation of Cyprus into Greece. This action precipitated the Turkish invasion of Cyprus on 20 July, which led to the capture of the present-day territory of Northern Cyprus in the following month, after a ceasefire collapsed, there was displacement of over 150,000 Greek Cypriots and 50,000 Turkish Cypriots. A separate Turkish Cypriot state in the north was established by unilateral declaration in 1983; the move was widely condemned by the international community, with Turkey alone recognizing the new state. These events and the resulting political situation are matters of a continuing dispute.

The international community considers the northern part of the island as territory of the Republic of Cyprus occupied by Turkish forces. The occupation is viewed as illegal under international law, amounting to illegal occupation of EU territory since Cyprus became a member of the European Union.

Cyprus is a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean and has been a member of the Commonwealth since 1961 and was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement until it joined the European Union on 1 May 2004. On 1 January 2008, the Republic of Cyprus joined the eurozone.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

1473 - The Republic of Venice assumed control of the island of Cyprus
1489 - Venice formally annexed the Kingdom of Cyprus
1570 - A full-scale Ottoman assault with 60,000 troops brought the island under Ottoman control and Ottoman forces capturing Cyprus massacred many Greek and Armenian Christian inhabitants
1570 - 1878 Cyprus was under Ottoman Control
1777 – 1778 47,000 Muslims constituted a majority over the island's 37,000 Christians By 1872, the population of the island comprised of 44,000 Muslims and 100,000 Christians
1877 - 1878 In the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish War and the Congress of Berlin, Cyprus was leased to the British Empire which de facto took over its administration
1925 -Cyprus was declared a British crown colony
1959 - Cyprus became an independent republic
1963 - Intercommunal violence erupted when two Turkish Cypriots were killed at an incident involving the Greek Cypriot police. The violence resulted in the death of 364 Turkish and 174 Greek Cypriots, destruction of 109 Turkish Cypriot or mixed villages and displacement of 25,000–30,000 Turkish Cypriots
1974 - Around 150,000 settlers from Turkey are believed to be living in the north—many of whom were forced from Turkey by the Turkish government
2003 - Northern Cyprus unilaterally eased border restrictions, permitting Cypriots to cross between the two sides for the first time in 30 years. In March 2008, a wall that had stood for decades at the boundary between the Republic of Cyprus and the UN buffer zone was demolished.

Population Statistics[edit | edit source]

The population of Cyprus in A.D. 1000 may have been approximately 150,000 persons. These were Greek speaking inhabitants. The population rose to 200,000 by 1500. The population was reduced by the Turkish invasion in 1570. After the Turks gained control the population gained a substantial portion of Turks, but wars and plagues continued to reduce the total number of people. By 1600 the total stood at 120,000 but dropped to 110,000 by the year 1700. The population rose to 150,000 by 1850, 180,000 by 1875, and 230,000 in 1925. The census of 1960 reported 577,615 inhabitants. The 1975 population was 640,000. In 1998 there were a total of 729,800 people on Cyprus including Greeks, Turks, and others. Among the “others” are English and Armenians. Major cities (with 1992 population) are: Nikosia (177,000); Limassol (136,000); Larnaka (60,000); and Pafos (32,000). Another large city, Famagusta, now under Turkish occupation, had a population of 39,000 in 1982.

References[edit | edit source]