The History of Cyprus

Cyprus is one of the most popular islands and the third largest in the Mediterranean Sea. It is surrounded by three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. As you can imagine it is a very desirable island!


Timeline of Cypriot History

Time Period Description
8200 – 3800 BC Neolithic Age, the first signs of permanent settlement in Cyprus.
3800 – 2400 BC Chalcolithic Age, Mycenaean Greeks joined Cyprus.
1650 – 1050 BC Late Bronze Age. More Greeks begin to settle in Cyprus.
1050 – 480 BC Geometric and Archaic Greek Periods. The first major development was the establishment of new city-kingdoms, all the large cities of the Late Bronze Age had been destroyed by natural causes. The second major development was the use of iron in metallurgy.
480 – 330 BC Classical Period. Cyprus became part of the Persian Empire. Evagoras I (King of Salamis) developed into one of the most important political and cultural centres of the Hellenic world.
310 - 30 BC Hellenistic Period. Persian (Iran) rule came to an end during the Hellenistic period, during Alexander the Great campaign to the East. Cyprus was mainly used as a military base by the Ptolemies (Hellinistic colony in Egypt). Ptolemies exploited the the island’s natural resources.
30 BC – 330 AD Roman Period. Roman (Italian) exploited Cyprus copper mines. Under Roman rule, as a result of trade, Cyprus enjoyed a three hundred year period of economy growth. During this period was the conversion of the island to Christianity by the Apostles Paul and Barnabas (45 AD).
330 – 1191 AD Byzantine Period. Roman Empire split into the Western Roman Empire and Byzantine Empire from 4th to the 12th centuries. Cyprus became a part of Byzantine Empire (Capital of Byzantium was Constantinopoli).
1192 – 1489 AD Frankish Period: Richard the Leonhard (King of England) conquered the island and sold it thereafter to the king of the Latin state of Jerusalem, Guy de Lusignan(French nobleman).
1489 – 1571 AD The last queen of Cyprus, Caterina Cornaro, ceded the island to Venice in 1489, where upon Cyprus became part of “the Most Serene Republic” of Venice.
1571 – 1878 AD Cyprus becomes part of the Ottoman Empire (Turkish). The Latins were expelled from the island and Moslem community was established in Cyprus for the first time.
1878 – 1960 AD British rule. Under a secret treaty established between Great Britain and the Ottomans, Cyprus ceded to the former.
1940 - 1945 AD (World War II) 6,000 Cypriot volunteers fought under British command during the Greek campaign in world war. This was particularly true after the invasion of Greece in 1940. British foreign secretary Anthony Eden, hinted Cyprus intinpentancy after the war had been won, never happened.
1955 – 1959 AD The Greeks of Cyprus continued to press on with their demand for national restitution and union with Greece but the British government continued to reject it. In 1955-1959, the political deadlock the Greek Cypriots faced led to the waging of the national liberation anticolonial struggle by the National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters (EOKA). The struggle resulted in the ending of British rule, but not to union with Greece. The British wasn’t really happy with the result and therefor they force Cyprus to except a constitution that has a lot of problems and they invent at that time the words Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. England kept lot of selective location for bases and made sure that the “Turkish Cypriots” would cause problems to the Greeks. Today we pay the price of asking our independency from the British government in 1950 by having Cyprus split in two.
1960 AD On 16 August 1960, Cyprus attained independence after the Zurich and London Agreement between the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey.
1974 AD On 20 July 1974, the Turkish army invaded and divided the island in two. Turkey sees the opportunity, given by the Greek “Hunta”, that 15th of July tried to killed president Makarios and take the manage of the island. “Hunta” stopped any actions in a few days’ time but Turkey refuses to redraw the occupation army and is trying to establish an illegal state on the occupied area. Last time that Greeks was occupied from the Turks was in 1453 and 368 years later in 1821 the Greek revolution took place and brought freedom to Greece. We hope that we won’t need to wait for so long for taking back what is actually belong to us but if we have to wait we, as Greeks we ‘ve done before, we can do it again.
2004 AD On the 1st of May 2004 Cyprus became a full member of the European Union.
2013 AD Cyprus economy collapsed.
2014 AD We are still alive and working for better future.

Cypriot Culture

Cypriot culture can be characterized sometimes as strange but rather fascinating. Cypriots are more likely to celebrate their Name Day instead of their birthday and parents are eager to name their children after their own parents; therefore you may well find cousins with the same name.

Moustache Man

Greek Cypriots are members of autocephalous Greek Orthodox Christian church, they visit the church every Sunday morning. 78% of Cypriot population is Christian Orthodox. Another strong and well-noticed characteristic of Cypriot people is that they are superstitious. This is also reflected in their culture as they believe in Tuesday 13th instead of Friday 13th. If a Cypriot approaches you and asks to shake your hand, do not be alarmed, it is just a friendly gesture and is the traditional way of greeting people. In general, Cypriots are welcoming to tourists, very friendly and will not hesitate to help in any way possible.

Cypriot Handshake