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Essay/Term paper: Cyprus history of conflic

Essay, term paper, research paper:  College Papers

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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.


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
Liopetri, though it is not known whether they were just hunting parties
through or permanent settlers.

The first undisputed settlements are believed to have been established
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
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

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
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
more than a century. They brought with them to the island the Hellenic
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
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
ruled themselves, paying taxes to their conquerors. The island was
conquered in
succession by the Assyrians, the Egyptians and the Persians (800-332

The Classical Period

For more than a century, Cyprus was caught in the middle of the power
between Greece and Persia. In the 6th century BC Persia became the
power and the kings of Cyprus, while being allowed to retain their
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
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
Empire when the island became part of his huge Empire. Upon Alexander's
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
to at Delphi and Lemnos. The worship of Aphrodite was known throughout
region and the Temple of Goddess of Love and Beauty at Palaepaphos
pilgrims from all over the ancient world. The city-kingdoms of Salamis,
Paphos and others which were established at the time of Greek colonisation

flourished during this period and produced magnificent pieces of architecture
sculpture which survive till our days.

The Roman Period

As the Ptolemaic empire declined, Cyprus came under Roman domination
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
across the island to Paphos where they converted the Roman governor
Christianity and so Cyprus became the first country to be ruled by
a Christian.


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

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,
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
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

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


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

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

The Turkish Period

Though Cyprus on the whole became less prosperous under Ottoman rule,
were certain immediate benefits. Serfdom was abolished and the rights
of the
Greek Orthodox Church, which had been suppressed since the Franks,
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,
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
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
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
overthrow Archbishop Makarios. A week later Turkey invaded the island,

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

Al T. Lehman
(MY WEBSITE)> "http://www.geocities.com/southbeach/6743"

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