The oldest traces of human presence in Cyprus have been found on the Akrotiri Peninsula on the south coast of the island, where the native dwarf forms of forest elephant and hippopotamus were hunted and exterminated around 10,000 BC. Objects from a hunter and gatherer culture have been traced in the Tremithos Valley in the southeast.
The first findings about the stone age of Cyprus were made in 1924 by Einar Gjerstad, who later (1927-31) led the Swedish Cyprus expedition. See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Cyprus. Impressive remains of round huts with stone foundations from the first stone age of the younger Stone Age have been excavated. at Khirokitia, Cape Andreas and Tenta. Among other things, stone bowls were made with relief patterns. The younger Stone Age (c. 6000-3500 BC) is also represented by settlements at Hagios Epiktitos on the north coast and Sotira in the south.
Remains of the copper age have been investigated at Erimi and Kissonerga on the southwestern part of the island. From this period (c. 3500-2000) comes a model of a cult building, larger stone sculpture and exquisite small stone figurines.
The early Bronze Age, which began towards the end of the third millennium, is best represented by a burial ground at Vounous in Northern Cyprus. There, a shiny, red-polished pottery was produced with scenes in relief from daily life, e.g. victims scenes. During the middle Bronze Age, a beginning urbanization is evident. The copper industry was now gaining importance, contact with the outside world increased, painted ceramics became a significant feature.
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The Late Bronze Age was an internationally oriented period of contacts with the Aegean region, Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine and Egypt. Kil scripture texts from these areas mention the island as Alasia. Significant places were Enkomi, Hala Sultan Tekk言 and Kition. Powerful fortifications and bronze statues belong to this phase. One wrote a syllable, yet uninterpreted (see Cypro-Minoan writing). Around 1200 BC an immigration from Greece took place, whereby Greek customs and burial practices gained entry, as did the Greek language.
Rich tombs from the early Iron Age (from 1050 BC) have been excavated in the Paphos region; the Phoenician influence was now evident. The island consisted of the kingdom: Idalion, Kition, Soli and others. The kings submitted to King Sargon II of Assyria and stood (709-669 BC) under Assyrian supremacy. In a then free Cyprus, art flourished with magnificent manifestations in architecture, sculpture and crafts. Later, the island was first under Egyptian (570-55 BC), later Persian (545-331 BC) supremacy. A large palace was built in Vouni.
After vain attempts by King Evagoras (c. 400 BC) to liberate the island from the Persian supremacy, the Cypriot kings joined Alexander the Great, the island forming part of the Hellenistic world community during the Ptolemies. The island became a Roman province 58 BC Significant buildings and mosaics from this period have been excavated in Curium, Paphos, Salamis and Soli. After the death of Emperor Theodosius 395 AD Cyprus went to the East Roman Empire.
During the Byzantine Empire 395-1191
At the division of the Roman Empire 395 AD Cyprus went to the East Roman Empire. The Cypriot church was recognized as independent in 431. From the 6th century, the island was invaded repeatedly by the Arabs. Occasionally, the dominion over the island and its tax revenue was shared between the Byzantine Empire and the Caliphate. In 965, Cyprus was restored to the Byzantine Empire by Nikeforos II Fokas. Cyprus was an important station for pilgrims and knights on their way to the Holy Land. Rikard Lionheart and the French crusaders expelled from Palestine took advantage of the division in Byzantine Empire in 1191 and took the island.
Latin Kingdom 1192-1489
The island became a kingdom in 1192 under Guy of Lusignan, formerly king of Jerusalem. In addition to the ruling French-speaking class, which organized the island according to feudal principles, in Cyprus during the High Middle Ages there was an extensive merchant class, which came mainly from Venice and Genoa. The majority of the locals were Greek Cypriot. In addition, there were Maronite Christians and a large element of Armenians, among others. because of forced relocation during the Byzantine Empire. The new rulers tried to make Cyprus a stronghold for Latin culture, and the indigenous church was suppressed. The orientation towards Europe increased further as the last Crusader states on the mainland disappeared. Cyprus became the outermost outpost of the Caliphate and at the same time an important transhipment station for European trade with the Orient.
During Venice 1489-1571
In 1489, Venice took control of the island. The Turks had meanwhile conquered parts of Asia Minor and threatened Cyprus. The population was forced to build and strengthen defense facilities prior to the expected invasion. The concentration on the war preparations meant that both transit trade and exports of domestic products (including salt, silk and sugar) went down. After previous unsuccessful attempts, Selim II conquered Cyprus in 1571.
The Turkish Empire 1571-1878
The independence of the Orthodox Church was now restored, the feudal system was abolished and the quality of life abolished. The indigenous people were allowed to own, farm and inherit land. The island’s population had declined during the Venetians, and the Turks were forcibly transferring colonists from the mainland. Parts of the demobilized army also remained as farmers on the island. The island was ruled by a governor (beylerbeyi). Through the Turkish so-called millet system, each group of people was allowed to manage their own affairs. The Greek Orthodox people group was represented by the Archbishop, who could request direct preference from the Sultan. At the same time as the officials haunted the people with greater charges than they were entitled to, Cyprus became a loss business for the Turkish state. After several uprisings during the 18th and 19th centuries, i.e. in the context of the Greek War of Independence,
The British Empire 1878-1959
In 1878 Britain entered into an agreement with the Sultan to take control of Cyprus against using the island as a base to protect the Turkish empire against the threat posed by Russia. However, Cyprus remained formally under Turkish rule. Therefore, due to the Turkish Cypriot minority, the United Kingdom refused to agree to the claims of enosis (association with Greece) put forward by the Greek Cypriots. The island had also, after the opening of the Suez Canal, in 1869 had great strategic importance for Britain’s contacts with India. The Enosis movement gradually intensified. The British offered Greece the island in 1915 against declaring its neutrality in the First World War, but the Greek government declined. By the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey recognized Britain’s supremacy over Cyprus, and in 1925 the island became a British crown colony.
Following a temporary decline in the agitation for enosis in connection with Greece’s defeat in a war with Turkey in 1920-23, the British governor’s palace was burned down by extensive demonstrations in 1931. Several political leaders were exiled. AKEL, a newly formed continuation of the previously banned Communist Party, sought strikes and protests along with the Conservatives to promote enosis. The British were forced in 1946 to allow the political leaders to come back from their exile and to release a number of trade union leaders, who had been convicted earlier that same year.
From the end of the 1940s, the question of enosis was driven by Archbishop Makarios III. The church conducted a referendum in 1950, according to which 96% of voting Greek Cypriots voted for enosis. In 1955, the EOKA liberation movement was formed under the leadership of Colonel Georgios Grivas, who started a guerrilla war against British colonial power. The independence movement reached its peak when Makarios was deported from Cyprus in 1956 by the British. In mid-1958, the fighting resumed, which now targeted the Turkish Cypriot organization VOLKAN-TMT, which advocated a division of the island between Turkey and Greece. Under strong pressure from the British and Greek governments, Makarios was finally forced to approve the agreements concluded between 1959 and 1960 between the UK, Greece and Turkey. According to them, Britain would relinquish sovereignty over Cyprus, which would become an independent republic and waive the requirement for enosis. Cyprus’ independence would be guaranteed by the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey.
Independent Republic from 1960
The first president of the Republic of Cyprus became Makarios. The seats in government and parliaments would be appointed after general elections within each group and distributed according to the 7: 3 ratio. In addition, each population group would have its own chamber for issues of religion, culture and education. According to the Treaty, Greece and Turkey would station 950 and 650 soldiers in Cyprus, respectively. When Vice President K邦ç邦k vetoed the integration of the Cypriot defense force instead of being made up of ethnically separate entities, Makarios responded by proposing to amend the constitution. Meanwhile, former EOKA and TMT leaders had prepared an armed confrontation, and fighting broke out in 1963.
Following unsuccessful mediation attempts by the UN and NATO, the United Nations deployed a peacekeeping force (UNFICYP) in 1964. The Turkish Cypriots, who had previously lived scattered throughout the island, gathered in enclaves, i.e. Nicosia and Famagusta. While President Makarios and the Greek government considered that the UN intervention replaced the rights of the guarantors to intervention, Turkey argued that the Security Council’s decision instead marked a strengthening of that right. Several mediation attempts were made to resolve the Cyprus issue.
The officer junta who had been in power since 1967 in Greece supported the officers of the National Guard, most of whom came from Greece, in order to achieve enosis. That’s why they wanted to overthrow Makarios. The bishops of Cyprus declared that Makarios must choose between being a spiritual leader or president. This triggered mass demonstrations in favor of Makarios. However, the attacks against him continued. Makarios asked the Greek government in 1974 to call home the Greek officers who served on the island. Instead, they carried out a coup against him, and he was forced to flee abroad. In this situation, Turkey carried out a long-planned invasion. The UN troops could not prevent this. About 180,000 Greek Cypriots fled to the southern part of the island, while about 50,000 Turkish Cypriots fled to the northern part.
In the following years, many attempts were made to find a federal solution to the question of the unification of Cyprus. In 1983, negotiations were interrupted and Turkish Cypriots proclaimed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Only Turkey recognized the new republic. The measure was criticized by the UN Security Council and a consequence was that all international trade and communications with Northern Cyprus were stopped and forced to make their way across Turkey. This led to weak economic development and strong dependence on support from Turkey.
The Cypriot government (Republic of Cyprus) applied for membership in the EC (EU) in 1990. Negotiations on reunification continued, but without success. On both sides there were political actors who wanted to bring about a reunification, but the conditions were not agreed. In 2004, Cyprus gained membership in the EU. This included all of Cyprus, but in practice everyone agreed that the EU acquis would only apply to the Greek Cypriot southern part of the island. The pressure on a solution to the Cyprus issue led UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to present a proposal in 2004. Referendums were organized on both sides. The campaign activity for and against the proposal was intense and there was great international interest. The result of the vote was that a majority of Greek Cypriots voted no and a majority of Turkish Cypriots voted yes.
Negotiations on a solution to the Cyprus issue have continued, but there are still strong forces on both sides that oppose the proposals put forward. Most recently, the question has been whether a federalization of Cyprus would be possible, ie. that the north and south would become autonomous states with common policies only in certain central areas, e.g. economy. However, the political debate in recent years has not given rise to hopes of any swift solution to the Cyprus divide.
The Republic of Cyprus has long managed relatively well financially thanks to increased tourism and support from the EU. However, the economic crisis that erupted in 2008 hit hard on the Cypriot economy. Low growth, high government debt and large budget deficits have contributed to the Cyprus economy being in an acute crisis. In 2012, the Cypriot government sought help from the eurozone rescue fund. However, this would greatly increase government debt and criticism from some EU countries was directed at resolving the country’s crisis in this way. Cyprus’ financial sector was also subject to sharp criticism, as the banks were considered to have contributed to international money laundering. This delayed financial crisis management.
The Northern Cyprus economy has also suffered a decline in recent years and dependence on support from Turkey has increased.