The History of Cyprus – In a Nut Shell

| George Martin Jr

The history of Cyprus is depicted by its numerous ancient monuments, monasteries and churches of a civilization period of over 9000 years Lying at the crossroads of three continents namely, Africa, Asia and Europe, Cyprus, although it is only a small island it is steeped with history and rich in cultural heritage. . However, it has a tumultuous past consisting of several attacks and has paid a huge price in order to gain independence in recent times.There is a lack of evidence to suggest exactly when the first habitation of human form took place on the island. However, the history of Cyprus leads us to believe the earliest of a definite nature goes back to 8500 BC and we know this from a tool kit which was found within a cave dwelling in the Akrotiri Peninsula.Settlers came from Asia Minor on rafts during the Stone Age or Neolithic period and put down at Kastros, Khirokitia, and Tentra. The remains of these beehive style stone houses can still be spotted today from the road between Nicosia and Limassol. Following on from this, between 2500 and 1050 BC the Bronze Age saw a large number of immigrants arrive from Anatolia and Mycenae.Settlements in Morphou, Nicosia and Sotira began to flourish between 2300 and 1900 BC and the latter part of that period saw many fortresses erected as a means of protection from attackers trying to conquer the island. Certain areas developed into significant trading centers and people from the countries around Cyprus began to arrive. At this point the history of Cyprus advanced in culture and the relationship with Greek nationals was made stronger in as far as customs, language and religion were concerned.The Achaeans arrived between 1230 and 1190 BC and this saw the building of many new cities which later developed into city states and kingdoms of independence.During 1190 to 1150 BC the land was continuously raided by Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians. Around this time a series of disastrous earthquakes totally destroyed many cities in Cyprus and the following century was spent re building the old cities along with new ones. Up to 750 BC Phoenicians came and took control at a place called Kition. This became their stronghold which prospered along with towns such as Salamis, Paphos, Curium and Amathus.Shortly after the Assyrians rule which was between 709 and 669 BC the history of Cyprus shows a very unusual era of independence and this lasted for just under a hundred years. Then came the conquering by the Egyptians which allowed the Cypriot Kingdoms to remain self governing but taxes had to be paid to Egypt. In 546 BC the Persians took over for around 200 years until the King of Salamis, Evagoras I, fought and defeated the Persians and Cyprus once again came under the authority of Egypt with all of the Cypriot Kingdoms being abolished by 312 BC.In 58 BC when Rome ruled Cyprus, Christianity multiplied nation wide and the first dioceses were established when Apostles, Paul, Barnabas, Mark and Paul landed on the island. At the end of the Roman period Cyprus became part of the Byzantine Empire, otherwise known as the East Roman Empire and the history of Cyprus shows that this was a time of great prosperity.Richard the Lion Heart, King of England, stopped during bad weather at Limassol while on one of his crusades and conquered the island, in order to sell it to raise money for further adventures. He sold it to the Knights Templars who after realizing what a bad investment they had made, in turn sold it back to him at a loss.Richard then disposed of it to another crusader, Guy de Lusignan who managed to reduce the Cypriots to the status of serfs. The Latin Church took over and the Orthodoxy was persecuted. The island prospered greatly because of trade and the city of Famagusta took the title of one of the richest cities of the Eastern world. However, following the death of Peter I, the Lusignan influence weakened, numerous and frequent raids of the island took place and widespread devastation was caused.The Genoese took Famagusta and asked the Venetians for assistance who decided to take Cyprus for themselves. The Medieval era was brought to an end when the Queen of Cyprus handed Cyprus over to the Venetians, who persecuted the Greek Orthodox Church. Huge defences were built as protection against the threat of Ottoman invasion but the Venetian period was finally over when the Turks took Nicosia and Famagusta by storm.And so, the Turks ruled. The Orthodox Church prevailed once more and the Latin Church was banned. At this point the history of Cyprus saw a clear economic fall and in 1878 Cyprus was given to the British for defense and administration purposes but it still remained the Sultans property. The Treaty of Lausanne dated 1923 shows that Turkey renounced all claims to the island and once again Cyprus started to flourish and prosper under British rule.More recent history of Cyprus shows that in the 1950’s Cypriots asked for recognition and independence and in 1958, Harold Macmillan, British Prime Minister, put forward plans and following Greco-Turkish discussions, Cyprus became an independent state as detailed in the Zurich Agreement.During 1970’s Cyprus was invaded by Turkey and the Turks still illegally occupy nearly 40% of the country. The North of the island was declared as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. However, this is a fact that is only recognized by Turkey itself and a green line on the map separates the South from the North of the island. The South has bloomed with tourism, and even though the North receives many tourists, the area has steadily declined while being occupied by the Turks. **Nothing on this website should be confused with financial or legal advice. If you need this, or any other type of advice, please seek the help of a competent professional. In addition, because real estate laws change all the time and differ from state to state, and even city to city in the same state, everything in these pages should be considered general marketing advice and ideas. Please see link to full Disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Aly Chiman

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