7000-3900 B.C.- Neolithic Age. The oldest settlements found on the island date from this period. Stone vessels and later, pottery was used.

3900-2500 B.C.- Chalcolithic Age. Chalcolithic settlements and evidence of a fertility cult, have been found in Western Cyprus. Copper discovered.

2500-1050 B.C.- Bronze Age. Cyprus was known as “Alasia” during this great trading period with its neighbors, partly because of its exploitation of copper. After 1400 B.C., the first of many waves of Greek merchants and settlers (Mycenaeans and Achaeans) reached the island, spreading the Greek language, religion and customs. They gradually took control and established the first city-kingdoms.

1050-750 B.C.- Geometric Period. The Hellenization of Cyprus was complete, with ten city-kingdoms. The cult of Aphrodite flourished in a period of great prosperity.

750-325 B.C.- Archaic and Classical Period. An era of prosperity and conquest. Cypriot kingdoms became tributary to Assyria, Egypt and Persia. But King Evagoras (411-374) unified the island, making it an important center of the Greek world.

333-325 B.C.- Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia, takes Cyprus as part of his empire.

kourion_ampitheatre75325-58 B.C.- Hellenistic Period. Alexander’s generals fought for succession, and Cyprus eventually came under the Hellenistic state of the Ptolemies of Egypt, belonging from then on to the Greek Alexandrine world. Pafos became capital.

58-B.C.-330 A.D.- Roman Period. Cyprus became part of the Roman Empire. But Saints Paul and Barnabas converted the Roman proconsul to Christianity, and he became the first Christian ruler in the world. In 313 freedom of worship was granted, and Cypriot bishops attended the council of Nicea in 325. The period was marked by earthquakes that required the rebuilding of cities.

mosaic_asinoustgeorge330-1191 A.D. - Byzantine Period. After the division of the Roman Empire, Cyprus became part of Byzantium, with Christianity becoming the official religion. Empress Helena visited the island and founded the Stavrovouni Monastery. The period again saw earthquakes and rebuilding, including large Basilicas. In 488, after the discovery of St. Barnabas’ tomb, the Church of Cyprus was granted full autonomy by Emperor Zeno. In 647 the first of a series of Arab raids occurred. The raids went on until 965, when Arabs were expelled from Asia Minor and Cyprus.

troodos_kykkosmonastery1191-1192- Richard the Lion-Heart and the Knights Templar. Richard, leader of the Third Crusade, took possession of Cyprus and married Berengaria of Navarre, crowning her Queen of England. A year later he sold Cyprus to the Knights Templar who resold it to Guy de Lusignan, deposed King of Jerusalem.

1192-1489- Frankish (Lusignan) Period. The Catholic Church officially replaced the Greek Orthodox Church, but the latter managed to survive. The city of Famagusta became one of the richest cities in the world in this period, which ended when the last queen Catherina Cornaro ceded Cyprus to Venice in 1489.

1489-1571- Venetian Period. The Venetians fortified the island against the Ottomans, building formidable walls around Nicosia and Famagusta, where the defenses were considered works of art in military architecture.

1571-1878- Ottoman Period. Cyprus fell to the Ottoman troops after much bloodshed. The Latin leadership was expelled and the Orthodox Church restored, with the Archbishop becoming the people’s representative to the Sultan. When the Greek War of Independence broke out in 1821, many prominent Cypriots, including the Archbishop, were executed. During this period a proportion of Cypriots and Latins succumbed to pressures and converted to Islam, thus creating the Muslim minority.

1878-1960- British Period. In 1878 Britain assumed administration of the island, subsequently annexing it in 1914, after the Ottomans entered the First World War on Germany’s side. In 1923 under the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey relinquished all rights to Cyprus, and in 1925 Cyprus became a Crown Colony. During the Second World War, Cypriot volunteers served in the British forces. Hopes for self-determination by the Cypriot people however, were denied by the British, who considered the island strategically vital. A national liberation struggle began in 1955 against Colonial rule and for the union of Cyprus with Greece, which lasted until 1959.

1960- The Republic of Cyprus. Cyprus became an independent republic in 1960, and a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth and the Non-Aligned Movement. Britain, however retained two sovereign bases. The given Constitution of the Republic proved unworkable, and in 1963 the President proposed some amendments. The Turkish Cypriot community responded with rebellion. Turkish Cypriot Ministers withdrew from the Cabinet, and Turkey threatened with invasion. Since then, the Turkish Cypriot leadership, acting on instructions from Turkey, has aimed at the partition of Cyprus and its annexation to Turkey. Using as a pretext a coup instigated by the Greek military junta against the Cyprus Government in July 1974, Turkey invaded and captured 37% of the island, violating all principles governing the UN Charter. As a result, approximately 40% of the Greek population were violently uprooted and are, to this date, deprived of the fundamental right of returning to their homes and properties. Repeated Security Council and General Assembly UN Resolutions have failed to convince Turkey to withdraw its troops. Moreover, more than 85,000 settlers have moved from mainland Turkey to the occupied area, while in 1983 the Turkish Cypriot leader declared the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”, an illegal regime recognized by no country except Turkey. Despite repeated rounds of talks, a solution has not yet been found, and Turkey maintains the island’s division by the force of arms.

Towards 2000. Culturally a Western nation, Cyprus expects to become a full member of the European Union by the turn of the century.

cyemblemFor more information of the history and government of Cyprus, visit the official Cyprus Homepage — the web site of the Republic of Cyprus provided by the Press and Information Office of Cyprus (PIO) — at http://www.pio.gov.cy