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North Cyprus history

The first settlements in Cyprus are believed to exist in 8500 BC. Cyprus has had many names but most of scientists agree that the present name comes from the word “copper”. An alternative theory supposes that Cyprus comes from the Greek work “kypros” which means henna.

Cyprus strategic location between East and West resulted in repeated invasions every of which has brought changes to the life and culture of the island’s inhabitants.

Cyprus was colonised by Phoenicians, Achaeans, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, and Greeks in different periods.

In 58 BC Cyprus was annexed to Rome and in 43 AD Christians came to Cyprus. In 330 AD the island became part of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire.

In 1191 Cyprus was conquered by Richard the Lionheart who was going to the Holy Land to fight the third Crusade. A year later Richard sold the island to Knights Templar but they returned it back to Richard who sold it for the second time to the French nobleman Guy de Lusignan. The Lusignan density ruled the island for the next 300 years.

In 1489 the Lusignan King James died leaving the Kingdom to his Venetian wife who abdicated giving Cyprus to Venice.

In 1571 the Ottomans arrived in Cyprus and instated the Orthodox Church as the Church of Cyprus. The population had to choose between Orthodox religion and Islam as Catholic religion was prohibited by the Ottomans. The majority chose Orthodox religion but the result was that the population began to take on the ethnic structure which Cyprus still possesses today, namely Greek and Turkish.

After the Ottoman Empire was defeated in the First World War Cyprus became a part of British colonies. In 1960 following the Treaty of Zurich Cyprus gained independence. The treaty was mainly protecting the rights of the Turkish Cypriot population and it had to be guaranteed by Britain, Greece and Turkey.

However the relations between two ethnic groups separated by language and religion were getting deteriorated. In 1974 Greece attempted a military coup in conjunction with the Greek National Guard in a bid to achieve ENOSIS (Idea of union with Greece).

In 1974 Turkey entered Cyprus with Peace-Keeping Action to protect the Turkish Cypriot community. This was in exercise of the powers of guarantee agreed in the Treaty of Zurich.

Since this time the island has remained divided. In 1983 the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was proclaimed.


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