Cyprus History

Cyprus History

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During the 12th and 11th centuries B.C. Achaean Greeks came to the island bringing with them the Greek language, their customs, their religion and started the Hellenisation of the island. They build other cities like Paphos, Salamis, and Kition. By 1050 BC Cyprus can be considered as a Greek island. From 750 BC Cyprus is conquered more than a few times by Assyria, Egypt and Persia.

In 333 BC Alexander the Great defeats Cyprus becomes part of his empire. After Alexander’s death Cyprus came under the Hellenistic state of the Ptolemies of Egypt.

In 358 BC Cyprus became part of the Roman Empire. Saint Paul is converted to Christianity whilst in Cyprus and the island becomes the first country governed by a Christian. Destructive earthquakes occur during the 1st century B.C. and the 1at A.D. and cities are rebuilt. After the division of the Roman Empire Cyprus became part of Byzantium, with Constantinople as its capital. More earthquakes during the 4th century A.D. completely destroy the main cities. From 1192 to 1489 Cyprus is ruled under a feudal system and Catholicism becomes the official religion.

In 1489, the Venetians has the control of the island who takes steps to fortify the island and build walls around the towns of Famagusta and Nicosia.

In 1571 Ottoman troops invades the island and Cyprus becomes part of the Ottoman Empire. Islam is introduced to the island and Catholicism is expelled. The Greek Orthodox religion is restored.

In 1878 Britain assumes administration of the island, which remains formally part of the Ottoman Empire until 1914 when Britain annexes Cyprus, after the Ottoman Empire enters the First World War on the side of Germany. In 1923, Turkey renounces any claim to Cyprus. In 1925 Cyprus is declared a Crown colony .An Armed Liberation Struggle, after all means of peaceful settling of the problem are exchausted, breaks out in 1955 which last until 1959.

On 16th August 1960 according to the Zurich-London Treaty, Cyprus becomes an independent republic. It is now a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe. According to this Treaty, Britain retains in the island two Sovereign Bases, at Dhekelia and Akrotiri-Episkopi. In 1963 Turkish-Cypriot ministers withdraw from the Government in protest at proposed changes to the Constitution and Turkey threatens to invade.
In 1974 the Greek junta instigates a coup in Cyprus against the Cypriot Government and Turkey uses that as an excuse and invades the island. Since then, 37% of the island is under Turkish military occupation and 200,000 Greek Cypriots, 40% of the total Greek Cypriot population, were forced to leave their homes in the occupied area and were turned into refugees. The invasion of Turkey and the occupation of 37% of the island’s territory as well as the continuing violation of the fundamental human rights of the people of Cyprus have been condemned by international bodies, such as the UN General Assembly, the Non-aligned Movement, the Commonwealth and the Council of Europe.

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