Remains of the oldest
known settlements in Cyprus date from this period. This civilization
developed along the North and South coasts. First, only stone vessels
were used. Pottery appeared on a second phase after 5000 BC
BC CHALCOLITHIC AGE
between the Stone Age and the Bronze Age. Most Chalcolithic settlements
are found in Western Cyprus, where a fertility cult developed. Copper
is being discovered and exploited on a small scale.
BC BRONZE AGE
Copper is more extensively
exploited bringing wealth to Cyprus. Trade develops with the Near
East, Egypt and the Aegean, where Cyprus is known under the name
of Alasia. After 1400 BC Mycenaeans from Greece reach the island
as merchants. During the l2th and 11th centuries. mass waves of
Achaean Greeks come to settle on the island spreading the Greek
language, religion and customs. They gradually take control over
Cyprus and establish the first city-kingdoms of Paphos, Salamis,
Kition and Kourion. The Hellenisation of the island is now in progress.
BC GEOMETRIC PERIOD
Cyprus is now a
Greek island with ten city.Remains of the oldest known settlements
in Cyprus date from this period. This civilization developed along
the North and South coasts. First, only stone vessels were used.
Pottery appeared on a second phase after 5000 BC
BC ARCHAIC AND CLASSICAL PERIOD
The era of prosperity
continues, but the island falls prey to several conquerors. Cypriot
Kingdoms become successively tributary to Assyria, Egypt and Persia.
King Evagoras of Salamis (who ruled from 411-374 BC) unifies Cyprus
and makes the island one of the leading political and cultural centers
of the Greek world. 333-325 BC The city-kingdoms of Cyprus welcome
Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia, and Cyprus becomes part
of his empire.
BC HELLENISTIC PERIOD
After the rivalries
for succession between Alexander's generals, Cyprus eventually comes
under the Hellenistic state of the Ptolemies of Egypt, and belongs
from now onwards to the Greek Alexandrine world. The Ptolemies abolish
the city-kingdoms and unify Cyprus. Paphos becomes the capital.
BC - 330 AD ROMAN PERIOD
Cyprus comes under
the dominion of the Roman Empire. During the missionary journey
of Saints Paul and Barnabas, the Proconsul Sergius Paulus is converted
to Christianity and Cyprus becomes the first country to be governed
by a Christian. Destructive earthquakes occur during the 1st century
BC and the 1st century AD and cities are rebuilt. In 313 the Edict
of Milan grants freedom of worship to Christians and Cypriot bishops
attend the Council of Nicaea in 325.
-1191 AD BYZANTINE PERIOD
After the division
of the Roman Empire Cyprus comes under the Eastern Roman Empire,
known as Byzantium, with Constantinople as its capital. Christianity
becomes the official religion. Empress Helena visits Cyprus and
founds the Stavrovouni Monastery. New earthquakes during the 4th
century AD completely destroy the main cities. New cities arise;
Constantia is now capital, and large basilicas are built from the
4th to 5th century AD. In 488, after the tomb of St. Barnabas is
found, Emperor Zenon grants the Church of Cyprus full autonomy and
gives the Archbishop the privileges of holding a scepter instead
of a pastoral staff, wearing a purple mantle and signing in red
ink. In 647 Arabs invade the island under Muawiya. For three centuries
Cyprus is constantly under attack by Arabs and pirates until 965,
when Emperor Nikiforos Fokas expels Arabs from Asia Minor and Cyprus
Kingdoms. The cult of the Goddess Aphrodite flourishes at her birthplace
Cyprus. Phoenicians settle at Kition. The 8th century BC is a period
of great prosperity.
1191-1192 RICHARD THE LIONHEART AND THE TEMPLARS
Isaac Komnenus self
proclaimed 'Emperor' of Cyprus behaves discourteously to survivors
of a shipwreck involving ships of Richard's fleet on their way to
the Third Crusade. Richard in revenge defeats Isaac, and takes possession
of Cyprus marrying Berengaria of Navarre in Limassol where she is
crowned Queen of England. A year later he sells the island for 100,000
dinars to the Knights Templars who resell it at the same price to
Guy de Lusignan, deposed King of Jerusalem.
FRANKISH (LUSIGNAN) PERIOD
Cyprus is ruled
on the feudal system and the Catholic Church officially replaces
the Greek Orthodox. Which though under severe suppression manages
to survive. The city of Ammochostos is now one of the richest in
the Near East. It is during this period that the historical names
of Lefkosia, Ammochostos and Lemesos are being referred to as Nicosia,
Famagusta and Limassol respectively. The era of the Lusignan dynasty
ends when the last queen Caterina Cornaro cedes Cyprus to Venice
Venetians view Cyprus
as a last bastion against the Ottomans in the east Mediterranean
and fortify the island, tearing down lovely buildings in Nicosia
to reduce the boundaries of the city within fortified walls. They
also build impressive walls around Famagusta, which were considered
at the time as works of military architecture.
In 1570 Ottoman
troops attack Cyprus, capture Nicosia, slaughter 20,000 of the population
and lay siege to Famagusta for a year. After a brave defense by
Venetian commander Marc Antonio Bragadin, Famagusta falls to the
Ottoman commander Lala Mustafa who at first allows the besieged
a peaceful exodus but later orders the flaying of Bragadin and puts
all others to death. On annexation to the Ottoman Empire the Latin
leadership is expelled or converted to Islam and the Greek Orthodox
Church restored; in time, the Archbishop, as leader of the Greek
Orthodox becomes the people's representative to the Sultan. When
the Greek War of Independence breaks out in 1821, the Archbishop
of Cyprus, Kyprianos, three bishops and prominent Cypriots are executed.
The Muslim minority during the Ottoman period eventually acquires
a Cypriot identity.
Under the 1878 Cyprus
Convention, Britain assumes administration of the island. It remains
formally part of the Ottoman Empire until the latter enters the
First World War on the side of Germany, and Britain in consequence
annexes Cyprus in 1914. In 1923 under the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey
relinquishes all rights to Cyprus. In 1925 Cyprus is declared a
Crown colony. In 1940 Cypriot volunteers serve in the British Armed
Forces throughout the Second World War. Hopes for self-determination
being granted to other countries in the post-war period are shattered
by the British who consider the island vitally strategic. After
all means of peaceful settling of the problem are exhausted. a national
liberation struggle is launched in 1955 against colonial rule and
for union of Cyprus with Greece, which lasts until 1959.
REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS
According to the
Zurich-London Treaty. Cyprus becomes an independent republic on
l6th August 1960. It is a member of the United Nations the Council
of Europe the Commonwealth and the Non-Aligned Movement. According
to the above treaty. Britain retains two Sovereign Bases (158.5
sq. km) on the island at Dhekelia and Akrotiri- Episkopi. The 1960
Constitution of the Cyprus Republic proves unworkable in many of
its provisions and this makes its smooth implementation impossible.
In 1963 the President of the Republic proposes some amendments to
facilitate the functioning of the state and the Turkish Cypriot
community responds with rebellion. The Turkish Cypriot ministers
withdraw from the Cabinet and Turkish Cypriot civil servants cease
attending their offices while Turkey threatens to invade Cyprus.
Since then the aim of the Turkish Cypriot leadership acting on instructions
from the Turkish Government has been the partitioning of Cyprus
and its annexation to Turkey. Using as a pretext the coup of July
1974 instigated against the Cyprus Government by the military Junta,
then in power in Athens, Turkey invades
Cyprus on July 20, 1974 violating all principles governing international
relations and the UN Charter. As a result approximately 37% of the
island is occupied, 40% of the Greek Cypriot population violently
uprooted and thousands of people, including civilians, killed, ill-treated
or disappear without trace. The continuation of Turkish military
occupation and the violation of the fundamental human rights of
the people of Cyprus have been condemned by international bodies,
but until today Turkey refuses to withdraw from Cyprus and maintains
the island's division by the force of arms.
Turkey has established the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, an illegal state, recognized only by Turkey and continues to maintain the division of the island through force.
Following the signing of the EU Enlargement Treaty in Athens on April 16, 2003 and its subsequent ratification by the Cypriot House of Representatives, Cyprus has officialy joined the EU on May 01 , 2004.