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Essay/Term paper: Cyprus

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Geography

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               Cyprus, an island in the Eastern Mediterranean, at the cross-roads of three

               continents - Europe, Asia and Africa - has one of the oldest histories of the



               world, dating back 9000 years.
 
 



               Its strategic position, its wealth in forests and mineral deposits, as well as its



               skilled craftsmen, made it the prized possession of the powers of the day.
 
 



               Cultural influences came from all directions - all major regional civilisations left



               their mark on the island, contributing to the development of a very rich and



               diverse cultural  heritage. 






                                 ANCIENT TIMES
 
 



              The Stone Age
 
 



              The first signs of human life on the island date back to c. 8500 BC during the



              Palaeolithic period. Evidence of human activity was found in cave dwellings near



              Liopetri, though it is not known whether they were just hunting parties passing



              through or permanent settlers.
 
 



              The first undisputed settlements are believed to have been established towards



              the end of  the 8th millennium BC.  Vestiges of such early communities are found



              all over the island, such as at Khirokitia, Kalavasos-Tenta, Apostolos Andreas-



              Kastros, Phrenaros, Petra tou Limniti.
 
 
 
 
 
 



              Neolithic Cypriots built circular houses



              with small undressed stones for the



              lower structures and sun-dried



              mudbricks and  clay for the middle and



              superstructure. The Khirokitia neolithic



              settlement in Larnaca district stands out



              as a striking example of prehistoric



              architecture. 


 



                                              The Neolithic settlement of Khirokitia
 
 
 



              The Bronze/ Copper Age
 
 



              Large copper deposits brought fame and wealth to the island and may have even



              given it its name. It has been documented that during the bronze age Cyprus had



              intense commercial relations with the main commercial and cultural centres of that



              time. During this period metallurgy and pottery flourished while close relations



              developed, particularly with Crete, which are also expressed in the



              Cypro-Minoan script which appeared in Cyprus around 1500 BC.
 
 



              Of special significance for the future of Cyprus was its colonisation around 1200



              BC by  Mycenaean  and Achaean Greeks, a migration process that lasted for



              more than a century.  They brought with them to the island the Hellenic language,



              culture and religion. Legend has it that the first Hellenes who settled in Cyprus



              were heroes of the Trojan war. The arrival of the Achaeans greatly influenced



              town planning, architecture, and pottery. Since then Cyprus has remained



              predominantly Greek in culture, language and population despite influences



              resulting from successive occupations.
 
 



              Iron Age
 
 



              More and more people from the Greek world came to live in Cyprus.  They built



              city along the lines of the Greek ones.  There were about eleven city kingdoms in



              all:  Kourion, Paphos, Soloi, Marion, Lapithos, Salamis, Kition, Kyrenia,



              Amathus, and Idalion.
 
 



              Although Cyprus was conquered by other peoples, these city kingdoms mostly



              ruled themselves, paying taxes to their conquerors. The island was conquered in



              succession by the Assyrians, the Egyptians and the Persians (800-332 BC).
 
 



              The Classical Period
 
 



              For more than a century, Cyprus was caught in the middle of the power struggle



              between Greece and Persia. In the 6th century BC Persia became the dominant



              power and the kings of Cyprus, while being allowed to retain their autonomy,



              were obliged to pay tribute to the Persian King and place their military forces at



              his disposal. Persia's domination, however, was not maintained easily and there



              were several attempts tooverthrow the Persian yoke, the most significant being



              the Ionian revolt and an attempt by King Evagoras I of Salamis to unite all of



              Cyprus' city-kingdoms under him. attempts failed.
 
 



              The Hellenistic Period
 
 



              Cyprus stayed in Persian hands until Alexander the Great defeated the Persian



              Empire when the island became part of his huge Empire. Upon Alexander's death



              Cyprus fell to one of his generals, Ptolemy I, the ruler of Egypt. From then on



              Cyprus, under the Ptolemies,  was an integral part of the Hellenistic World until its



              integration with the Roman Empire in 30 BC.
 
 



              During this time Cyprus experienced significant cultural activity and close contacts



              with the city kingdoms of the Hellenic World. Cypriot athletes took part in the



              Olympic and Panathenian Games and the names of Cypriot sculptors are referred



              to at Delphi and  Lemnos. The worship of Aphrodite was known throughout the



              region and the Temple of Goddess of Love and Beauty at Palaepaphos gathered



              pilgrims from all over the ancient world. The city-kingdoms of Salamis, Amathus,



              Paphos and others which were  established at the time of Greek colonisation



              flourished during this period and produced  magnificent pieces of architecture and



              sculpture which survive till our days.
 
 



              The Roman Period
 
 



              As the Ptolemaic empire declined, Cyprus came under Roman domination and



              was a colony in 58 BC. Romans also left their legacy on the island in the form of



              Roman amphitheatres, public baths, mosaics and other architectural edifices. One



              of the  most significant events during this period was the visit to the island of the



              Apostles Paul and Barnabas, the latter being considered the founder of the



              Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus. The Apostles travelled all



              across the island to Paphos where they converted the Roman governor to



              Christianity and so Cyprus became the first country to be ruled by a Christian.
 
 
 



                               THE MIDDLE AGES
 
 
 



              The Byzantine Period
 
 



              The Christian civilisation was consolidated in



              the island during the Byzantine Period



              (330-1191 AD) at which time the island was



              an important spiritual focus. Wonderful



              churches and magnificent monasteries



              containing fine wall paintings and mosaics



              survive to our times and are testimony to the



              importance of Cyprus in the East Roman



              Empire.
 
 
 



                                                   St Bartholomew, mosaic from the



                                                  Kanakaria Church. 6th century AD



 



              With the emergence of Islam in the 6th and 7th centuries AD, Cyprus became an



              object dispute between Christendom and Islam. The Arabs, who with their



              repeated incursions, spread death and destruction in coastal settlements, were



              finally pushed away in 965 AD by Emperor Nicephorus Phocas and restored



              Cyprus as a province of the Byzantine Empire.
 
 



              The western Crusaders influenced a great deal the development of the history of



              Cyprus. It was Richard the Lionheart, King of England, who during the Third



              Crusade captured the island defeating its ruler, Isaac Comnenos in 1191. Richard



              tried to sell Cyprus to the Knights Templars, who nevertheless, were not able to



              resist the revolt of the people of Cyprus. Thus the island went back to the English



              King, who sold it again this time to the Frankish King of Jerusalem, Guy de



              Lusignan.
 
 



              The Frankish Period
 
 



              The rule of the Franks in Cyprus lasted until 1489 and during that time life on the



              island  was organised on the basis of the feudal model of the West, oppression of



              the indigenous population being its main characteristic. The Lusignan period left



              numerous monuments on the island - mainly Gothic churches and mountain



              fortifications.
 
 



              During the 14th century Cyprus is an important point of contact between East and



              West. Within a network of contradictions, a complex cultural creation took shape



              both in the letters and in the arts with the pronounced seal of a variety of



              influences.
 
 



              The end of the Latin period in Cyprus came with the Venetian rule from 1489 to



              1571. The Venetians held the island for its strategic position in the area of the



              Eastern Mediterranean on the way to the vital Silk Route to China. Venice,



              wished in this way to underline its prominence among the western powers of the



              time and attempted to keep to road to the East open despite the growing menace



              of the Ottomans. The Venetians also left their mark on the island's cultural



              heritage with their fortifications around Nicosia and Famagusta. These, built with



              the intention of fending off the Turks, proved inadequate and Cyprus fell to the



              Turks in 1571, becoming part of the Ottoman Empire.
 
 
 



                                 MODERN TIMES



              The Turkish Period
 
 



              Though Cyprus on the whole became less prosperous under Ottoman rule, there



              were certain immediate benefits. Serfdom was abolished and the rights of the



              Greek Orthodox Church, which had been suppressed since the Franks, were



              restored. However, there was very harsh rule and harsh taxation which



              impoverished the people, and there were continual revolts. In 1821 an attempt by



              Cypriots to support the Greeks in their revolt against Ottoman rule was brutally



              crushed, with the Archbishop being publicly hanged and many others, including



              three bishops, put to death.
 
 



              Cyprus remained under Ottoman rule until 1878 when, with the Treaty of Berlin,



              the Sultan in his effort to secure British support in his conflict with the Russians



              leased Cyprus to Great Britain. Then in 1914, following the entry of Turkey in



              World War I on the side of Germany, the British government annexed Cyprus



              and turned it into a Crown colony in 1925. In the meantime Turkey surrendered



              all claim on Cyprus with the  Lausanne Treaty it concluded with Greece in 1923.
 
 



              The British Period
 
 



              British rule left its mark on the island's complex culture with the adoption by the



              people Cyprus of some of the customs of their colonial masters, the legacy of



              some British colonial buildings, and, most importantly, the tradition of the British



              administration especially in the civil service.
 
 



              Cypriots fought alongside the allies against fascism and nazism during World War



              II. The British, however, refused to keep their word and offer the island the right



              of self determination at the end of the war. There followed the Enosis referendum



              of 1950,  when 96% of Greek Cypriots voted for Enosis,  Union with Greece. In



              April 1955 the EOKA Liberation Struggle, against the colonial rulers, resulted in



              the granting of independence to the island on the basis of the Zurich and London



              Agreements of February 1959.
 
 



              Independence and invasion
 
 



              The independent Republic of Cyprus came into being in August 1960. Its first



              President was Archbishop Makarios. Over the first three years of independence



              relations between  the Greek and Turkish Cypriots deteriorated, mainly as a



              result of flaws in the  constitution which gave disproportional rights to the Turkish



              Cypriot community including the right to block the passing of laws. In 1963



              intercommunal violence broke out following which many Turkish Cypriots



              withdrew to enclaves. Attempts to bring the two sides back together were made



              through the United Nations who sent a contingent to the island.
 
 



              On 15 July 1974 the Junta ruling Athens at the time organised a coup to



              overthrow Archbishop Makarios. A week later Turkey invaded the island,



              claiming this was to restore constitutional order. However, when the rightful



              government was restored, Turkish troops stayed on, implementing a long-held



              policy of partitioning the island. They went on to occupy more than a third of



              Cyprus, forcing  200,000 people to lose their homes and become refugees. The



              area under Turkish occupation unilaterally declared independence in 1983, an act



              condemned by the UN and other international organisations. No country in the



              world other than Turkey has recognised this illegal state.
 
 



              The political issue, despite efforts to solve it, remains virtually frozen since 1974



              and the occupation of part of Cyprus by the Turkish army still continues.
 
 

 

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