Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Situated at the maritime crossroads of the eastern Mediterranean basin, Cyprus has a rich and varied history. Many invaders, settlers and immigrants have come here over the centuries, and the island has seen Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Lusignans, Genoese, Venetians, Ottomans, British and Turks seek to take a part of Cyprus for themselves.

Cypriots, whether Greek or Turkish, are proud of their nation and feel a strong sense of national identity. The division of their island in 1974 is viewed by many as a temporary setback, and Cypriots look to the day when Cyprus will be a united island once again

In the later phase of the late Bronze Age (LCIIIA, 1200–1100 BC) great amounts of 'Mycenean' IIIC:1b pottery were produced locally. New architectural features include cyclopean walls, found on the Greek mainland, as well and a certain type of rectangular stepped capitals, endemic on Cyprus. Chamber tombs are given up in favour of shaft graves. Large amounts of IIIC:1b pottery are found in Palestine during this period as well. While this was formerly interpreted as evidence of an invasion ('Sea Peoples'), this is seen more and more as an indigenous development, triggered by increasing trade relations with Cyprus and Crete. Evidence of early trade with Crete is found in archaeological recovery on Cyprus of pottery from Cydonia, a powerful urban center of ancient Crete.

During the Greek War of Independence the Greek people fought for independence from the Ottoman Empire who ruled them. A number of Greek Cypriots rebelled on Cyprus, in return the Ottoman rulers of Cyprus tried to keep control by using draconian means of suppression. 486 Greek Cypriots were executed on 9 July 1821, accused of conspiring with the rebelling Greeks, including four Bishops and numerous prominent citizens—all beheaded in the central square of Nicosia, while Archbishop Kyprianos was hanged. Actions during the short period that followed caused a strengthening of that Greek Cypriot desire to become part of Greece, known as Enosis ("Union").
Many Cypriots again sought the incorporation of Cyprus into Greece when Greece became independent in 1830,[citation needed] but it remained part of the Ottoman Empire. The Russo-Turkish Warended the Ottoman control of Cyprus in 1878 when Cyprus was left under the control of the United Kingdom; with its conditions set out in the Cyprus Convention, although sovereignty of the island continued to belong to the Ottoman Empire until the Kingdom annexed the island unilaterally in 1914, when it declared war against the Ottomans at the First World War.
Under British rule the island began to enjoy a period of increased free-speech, something which allowed further development of the Greek Cypriots' ideas of Enosis.

Modern era[edit]

Cypriot demonstrations for Enosis (Union) withGreece.

Statue of Liberty symbolising the independence of Cyprus.
In 1878, as the result of the Cyprus Convention, the United Kingdom took over the government of Cyprus as a protectorate from the Ottoman Empire. In 1914, at the beginning of World War I, Cyprus was annexed by the United Kingdom. In 1925, following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Cyprus was made a Crown Colony. Between 1955–59 EOKA was created by Greek Cypriots and led by George Grivas to perform enosis(union of the island with Greece). However the EOKA campaign did not result union with Greece but rather an independent republic, The Republic of Cyprus, in 1960.
In 1960, the mostly Muslim Turkish Cypriots were only 18% of the Cypriot population. However, the 1960 constitution put in place a form of power-sharing, or consociational government, in which concessions were made to the Turkish Cypriot minority, for example there was a requirement the vice-president of Cyprus and at least 30% of members of parliament be Turkish Cypriots. Archbishop Makarios would be thePresident and Dr Fazil Kucuk would become Vice President. One of the articles in the constitution was the creation of separate local municipalities so that Greek and Turkish Cypriots could manage their own municipalities in the big towns.
Internal conflicts turned into full-fledged armed fighting between the two communities on the island which prompted the United Nations to sendpeacekeeping forces in 1964; these forces are still in place today. In 1974 Greek Cypriots performed a military coup with the support of military junta in Greece. Turkey used the coup as a pretext to invade the northern portion of the island. Turkish forces remained after a cease-fire, resulting in the partition of the island; an objective of Turkey since 1955. The intercommunal violence and subsequent Turkish invasion led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Cypriots.
The de facto state of Northern Cyprus was proclaimed in 1975 under the name "Turkish Federated State of Northern Cyprus". The name was changed to its present form on 15 November 1983. The only country to formally recognise The "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" is Turkey. Hundreds of thousands of Turkish settlers have been granted the right to illegally reside in the 'TRNC' and allowed to reside on Greek Cypriot land and property in order to change the island's demographic in favour of the Turkish Cypriots. The international community considers the North as occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey has repeatedly violated numerous UN Resolutions calling on it to withdraw its occupation.
In 2002 UN Secretary General Kofi Annan started a new round of negotiations for the unification of the island. In 2004 after long negotiations between both sides a plan for unification of the island emerged. The resulting plan was supported by UN, EU and the US. The nationalists in both sides campaigned for the rejection of the plan but Turkish side accepted the plan while Greek side rejected it.
A former British colony, Cyprus received independence in 1960 following years of resistance to British rule. Tensions between the Greek Cypriot majority and Turkish Cypriot minority came to a head in December 1963, when violence broke out in the capital of Nicosia. Despite the deployment of UN peacekeepers in 1964, sporadic intercommunal violence continued forcing most Turkish Cypriots into enclaves throughout the island. In 1974, a Greek-sponsored attempt to seize the government was met by military intervention from Turkey, which soon controlled more than a third of the island. In 1983, the Turkish-held area declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," but it is recognized only by Turkey. The latest two-year round of UN-brokered direct talks - between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities to reach an agreement to reunite the divided island - ended when the Greek Cypriots rejected the UN settlement plan in an April 2004 referendum. Although only the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot-controlled Republic of Cyprus joined the EU on 1 May 2004, every Cypriot carrying a Cyprus passport will have the status of a European citizen. EU laws, however, will not apply to north Cyprus. Nicosia continues to oppose EU efforts to establish direct trade and economic links to north Cyprus as a way of encouraging the Turkish Cypriot community to continue to support reunification.

After Cyprus became a member of the European Union in 2004, it adopted the Euro as its currency on January 1, 2008, replacing the previously used Cypriot Pound; whilst the illegally occupied areas continued to use the Turkish Lira and on January 1, 2008 the New Turkish Lira.