Cyprus through the Ages

History

Cyprus through the Ages


With a history dating back to the Neolithic Age, scholars from around the world have a recognised our island as one big archaeological site.  Dig deep enough – anywhere – and some traces of history are likely to surface !

8200-3900 Neolithic Age – The exceptionally well-preserved ancient site of Choirokitia (32 km from Larnaca) dates back to this period.

3900-2500 BC Chalcolithic Age – Between the Stone Age and the Bronze Age, copper was discovered in Cyprus and exploited on a small scale.

2500-1050 BC Bronze Age – Cyprus is known by the name of Alasia.  Trade develops with the Near East, Egypt and the Aegean.  After 1400 BC Mycenaean merchants from Greece arrive on the island.  During the 12th and 11th centuries, waves of Achaean Greeks bring their language, religion and customs to the island.

The first city-kingdoms of Pafos, Salamis Kition and Kourion are established.

1050-750 BC Geometric Period – Cyprus is now firmly Greek, with ten city Kingdoms.  The cult of Aphrodite flourishes around her legendary birthplace on the island at Petra tour Romiou.

750-325 BC Archaic and classical period – The island is conquered successively by Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians.  King Evagoras of Salamis unifies Cyprus which welcomes Alexander the Great and becomes part of his empire.

325-58 BC Hellenistic Period – After Alexander’s death, Cyprus comes under the Hellenistic rule of Ptolemies of Egypt, who abolish the city-kingdoms and unify Cyprus, with Pafos as its capital.

58 BC-330 AD Roman Period – Cyprus comes under the Eastern Roman Empire, known as Byzantium, with Constantinople as its Capital, Christianity is the official religion.

Between 647 and 695 the Arabs raid the island repeatedly until they are expelled by Emperor Nicephoros Phocas.

1191-1192 Richard the Lionheart and the Templars Richard the Lionheart takes possession of Cyprus.  A year later he sells the island to the Knights Templars who resell it to Guy de Lusignan, deposed King of Jerusalem.

1192-1489 Lusignan Period – The feudal system takes hold on the island, and the Catholic Church officially replaces the Greek Orthodox, which survives despite severe suppression.  The era of the Lusignan dynasty ends in 1489 when Cyprus is delivered to the Venecians.

1489-1571 Venetian Period – The Venetians view Cyprus as the last Bastion against the Ottomans, and fortified the cities of Lefkosia and Ammochostos with impressive walls.

1571-1871 Ottoman Period - The Ottomans attacked Cyprus in 1571 and the island falls after a long siege.  The Latin leadership is expelled, the Greek Orthodox Church is restored and the Archbishop eventually accepted as the people’s representative.  A Muslim minority acquires Cypriot identity.

1878-1960 British Period – Under the 1878 Cyprus Convention, Britain assumes administration of the island, which is annexed after World War 1, and eventually declared a Crown colony in 1925.  A national liberation struggle takes place from 1955 – 1959.

1960 Republic of Cyprus - According to the Zurich-London Treaty Cyprus becomes an independent republic on 16 August 1960.  Turkey invades Cyprus on the 20th July 1974 and occupies 37% of the island.

Efforts to find a fair and viable solution to the Cyprus problem and to reunite the island are currently at their height.

Please call Alan or Cathryn: 00357 97745985