7000-3900 BC NEOLITHIC
Remains of the
oldest known settlement in Cyprus dating from this period can be seen in
Khirokitia and Kalavassos (Tenta), off the Nicosia-Limassol road. This
civilization had developed along the North and South coasts. First only stone
vessels were used. After 5000 B.C., the art of pottery was invented.
establishments are found in Western Cyprus, where a fertility cult develops.
The copper of the island begins to be exploited and used.
Copper is more
extensively exploited bringing wealth to Cyprus. Trade is built up with the Near East, Egypt
and the Aegean. After 1400 BC, Mycenaeans from Greece reach the island, perhaps
as merchants. During the 12th and 11th centuries several waves of Achaean
Greeks come to settle on the island bringing with them the Greek language,
their religion, their customs. They build new cities like Paphos, Salamis,
Kition. Kourion. The island from now on is progressively hellenised.
There are ten
Kingdoms in the island. Phoenicians settle at Kition. The 8th century B.C. is a
period of great prosperity.
750-325 BC ARCHAIC
AND CLASSICAL PERIOD
The era of
prosperity continues, but the island falls prey to several conquerors. Cypriot
Kingdoms try to preserve their independence but come variously under the
domination of Assyria, Egypt and Persia. King Evagoras of Salamis (who ruled
from 411-374 BC) rebels against Persia and unifies the island but, after a great
siege has to conclude peace with Persia and loses control of the whole island.
Great defeats Persia and Cyprus becomes part of his empire.
succession struggles, between Alexander's generals, Cyprus eventually comes
under the Hellenistic state of the Ptolemies of Egypt, and belongs from now
onwards to the Greek Alexandrine world. The capital is now Paphos. This is a
period of wealth for Cyprus.
58 BC - 330 AD
part of the Roman Empire, first as part of the province of Syria, then as a
separate province under a proconsul. During the missionary journeys by Saints
Paul and Barnabas, the Proconsul, Sergius Paulus is converted to Christianity
and Cyprus becomes the first country to be governed by Christian. Destructive
earthquakes occur during the 1st century B.C. and the 1at A.D. and cities are
rebuilt. There is a great loss of life when the Jews who lived in Salamis rebel
in 116, and from the plague in 164 AD. In 313 the Edict of Milan grants freedom
of worship to Christians and Cypriot bishops attend the Council of Nicaea in
After the division
of the Roman Empire in two parts, Cyprus comes under the Eastern Roman Empire,
known as Byzantium, with Constantinople as its capital. Constantine the Great's
mother, Helena is said to have stopped in Cyprus on her journey from the Holy
Land, with remnants of the Holy Cross and founded the monastery of Stavrovouni.
More earthquakes during the 4th century A.D. completely destroy the main
cities. Cities lose their splendour and remain in ruins. New cities arise,
Constantia is now the capital, and large basilicas are built as from the 4-5th
century A.D. In 488, after the tomb of St. Barnabas is found, Emperor Zeno
gives the Archibishop of Cyprus full autonomy and privileges including holding
a sceptre instead of a pastoral staff, wearing a purple mantle and signing in
red ink. In 647 Arabs invade the island under Muawiya. In 688 Emperor Justinian
II and Caliph al-Malik sign a treaty neutralising Cyprus, but violations are
reported, and the island is also attacked by pirates until 965 when Emperor
Nicephoros Phocas expels Arabs from Asia Minor and Cyprus.
RICHARD THE LIONHEART AND THE TEMPLARS
self proclaimed governor of Cyprus, is discourteous to survivors of a shipwreck
involving ships of Richard I's fleet on their way to the Third Crusade. Richard
defeats Isaac and takes possession of Cyprus, marrying Berengaria of Navarree
in Limassol, where she is crowned Queen of England. Richard then sells the
island to the Knights Templars for 100,000 dinars but they resell it at the
same price to Guy de Lusignan, one of the Crusader Knights.
1192-1489 AD FRANKISH
Cyprus is ruled on
the feudal system and the Catholic church officially replaces the Greek
Orthodox, although the latter manages to survive. Many beautiful gothic
buildings belong to this period including the Cathedrals of Ayia Sophia in
Nicosia, Saint Nicholas in Famagusta and Bellapais Abbey. The city of Famagusta
becomes one of the richest in the Near East, and Nicosia becomes the capital of
Cyprus and the seat of the Lusignan Kings. The Lusignan dynasty ends when the
last queen Catherina Cornaro cedes Cyprus to Venice in 1489.
Cyprus as a last bastion against the Ottomans in the east Mediterranean, and
fortify the island tearing down lovely buildings in Nicosia to bring the city
into a tight encircled area defended by bastions and a moat which can still be
seen today. They also build impressive walls around Famagusta which were
considered at the time as works of military art.
1571- 1878 AD OTTOMAN PERIOD
In 1570 troops
attack Cyprus, capture Nicosia, slaughter the population (20,000) and lay siege
to Famagusta for a year. After a brave defense by Venetian commander Marc
Antonio Bragadin, Famagusta capitulates to the Ottoman commander Lala Mustafa,
who first gives free passage to the besieged but when he sees how few they are,
orders the flaying, drawing and quartering of Bragadin and puts the others to
death. On annexation to the Ottoman Empire, the Latin hierarchy are expelled or
converted to Islam and the Greek Orthodox faith restored; in time, the
Archibishop as leader of the Greek Orthodox, becomes their representative to
the Porte. When the Greek War of Independence breaks out in 1821, the
Archibishop of Cyprus, Kyprianos, three bishops and hundreds of civic leaders
Under the 1878
Cyprus Convention, 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 under the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey renounces any claim to Cyprus. In
1925 Cyprus is declared a Crown colony. In 1940 Cypriot volunteers serve in
various branches of the British Armed Forces throughout the Second World War. Hopes
for self-determination now being granted to other countries in the post-war
period are shattered by the British who consider the island vitally strategic.
An Armed Liberation Struggle, after all means of peaceful settling of the
problem are exchausted, breaks out in 1955 which last until 1959.
1960 REPUBLIC OF
According to the
Zurich-London Treaty, Cyprus becomes an independent republic on 16th August
1960. It is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the
Commonwealth as well as the Non-Aligned Movement. According to the above
Treaty, Britain retains in the island two Sovereign Bases, (158.5 sq km) at
Dhekelia and Akrotiri-Episkopi.
The 1960 Constitution of the Cyprus Republic
proves unworkable in many of its provisions, and this made impossible its
smooth implementation. When in 1963, the President of the Republic proposed
some amendments to facilitate the functioning of the state, the Turkish
community responded with rebellion (Dec. 1963), the Turkish ministers withdrew
from the Cabinet and the Turkish civil servants ceased attending their offices
while Turkey threatened to invade Cyprus. Ever since then, the aim of the
Turkish Cypriot leadership, acting on instructions from the Turkish Government,
has been the partitioning of Cyprus and annexation by Turkey. In July 1974, a
coup is staged in Cyprus by the Military junta, then in power in Athens, for
the overthrow of President Makarios. On 20 July 1974, Turkey launched an
invasion with 40,000 troops against defenseless Cyprus. Since 1974, 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