History and Politics
The early days in Cyprus
Remains of a settlement from the Neolithic Age have been found on Cyprus. People left their first traces there 9000 years ago. It is believed that the name of the island derives from the term Cyprium, which means “copper”. The copper trade flourished in the period up to approx. 1000 BC BC, with the Middle East, but also in the entire Aegean region.
Cretan-Minoan culture in Cyprus
From 1400 BC The Greeks began to colonize various places along the Mediterranean. This also included Cyprus. Here they built new cities. The Cretan-Minoan Linear A script was discovered in Cyprus, a script that has not yet been accurately deciphered. In the first millennium BC The island was struck by earthquakes that repeatedly destroyed cities.
One after the other, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians and finally Alexander the Great came to the island and took over rule. The Romans followed, who made Cyprus a Roman province. After them came the Byzantines, because after the division of the Roman Empire, Cyprus fell to Byzantium. The first Christian ones appeared early onMissionaries on the island. The Christianization that began at that time was completed in the 4th century. The apostle Barnabas (died 61 AD) in particular began very early to spread Christianity in Cyprus.
Venetians and Ottomans
Richard the Lionheart conquered the island on one of his crusades in 1191. Another crusader followed, Guy de Lusignan, who also had many Christian buildings such as monasteries and churches built. The Orthodox Church was subordinate to the Catholic Church during this period.
In 1489 Cyprus came to Veneto. The widow of the last Lusignan king sold Cyprus to the Venetians. But these should not rule there for a whole century. Huge fortifications originate from this time, which should serve as a bulwark against the Ottoman Empire.
But even these fortresses could do nothing against the power of the Ottomans. One after another, the cities of Cyprus were taken by the Ottomans. After the expulsion of the Venetians in 1571, the 300-year Ottoman rule began. Churches were converted into mosques during this period. More and more Turkish settlers came to the island. Because Great Britain had assisted the Ottomans in the war against Russia, it received the right to administer Cyprus in 1878, but the island was still in Ottoman possession.
British rule over Cyprus
The location of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean was important for trade, but also for the military. When the Ottoman Empire teamed up with the German Empire in World War I, the British annexed Cyprus.
After the Second World War, the Greeks in Cyprus wanted to unite with Greece, which met resistance from the Turkish minority. Greek and Turkish resistance movements against British rule in Cyprus formed.
In 1960 Cyprus gained independence from Great Britain. A man named Makarios was elected President of the Republic of Cyprus. But there shouldn’t be long silence. Fighting broke out between the Greek and Turkish ethnic groups, each supported by their “mother countries”. As early as 1964, UN troops came to Cyprus with the task of establishing peace. The soldiers are still there today.
Division of Cyprus
In July 1974 the head of state was evicted and conspirators killed both Greeks and Turks. Turkey took this as an opportunity to send troops and occupy the north. A large resettlement program followed. The Greek-born population from the north moved to the south and vice versa. Since then, the border has formed a “green line” that is still controlled by the UN soldiers today.
In 2004 there was a referendum in Cyprus, in which the Cypriots voted for accession to the European Uniondecided. But they decided against a union with the northern part. On May 1, 2004 Cyprus became a member of the European Union. However, European law does not apply in the northern part. Turkey, in turn, does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus. In return, the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” is only recognized by Turkey.
The borders between the north and south are now open, but the differences still exist. It is not yet clear how the conflict will be resolved in the long term.
As a country located in Europe detailed by constructmaterials, Cyprus has been a member of the European Union since 2004. But when Greece got into the so-called “debt crisis” in 2012, this also had an impact on Cyprus (see also Greece / Economy). Cyprus had to borrow money and the previously quite low unemployment rate rose to 15 percent. In 2016 it was 12 percent.
About 17 percent of the total area in Cyprus is used for agriculture. But here it is usually necessary to irrigate artificially. Potatoes, citrus fruits, but also grapes, olives and various types of vegetables are grown mainly in the plain between the two mountains – in the Messaria plain. Livestock is of great importance. However, only two out of 100 people in Cyprus are employed in agriculture.
What has Cyprus got to do with copper?
Cyprus is known for its copper deposits. Some attribute the name of the island to the “copper”. There is also chrome, asbestos and clay. But mining is no longer of great importance. In the industry, mainly food is processed. But textiles and wood products are also manufactured.
What is the main source of income in Cyprus?
Most important for the economy of Cyprus are the services and especially tourism. Many tourists are drawn to the country’s coasts year after year. Long sandy beaches invite you to sunbathe here. But the country with its history also has a lot of culture to offer and those who like hiking will also get their money’s worth.
Cyprus also has a merchant fleet. The favorable location of the island in the sea and close to different continents also promotes trade, which takes place mainly in fruits and textiles.