Cyprus Brief History

By | November 1, 2021

According to aristmarketing, the goddess of love Aphrodite was born on the island of Cyprus and later a culture developed that paid homage to her. Cyprus was not the most beautiful place she could choose, but the island is interesting from several perspectives. Visitors are usually offered a lot of sun and heat, in the Troodos Mountains there are beautiful villages and around the island there are interesting sights, several of them are with UNESCO’s list of world cultural heritage. The island’s name can be traced to Cyprus, the Greek word for copper.

When I saw a tour operator advertise “last-minute trips” to Cyprus, I took the opportunity to visit my 80th country at a lower cost. For a week I traveled around the island by car and was thus able to visit sights, and hike, in different places with a focus on experiencing Cyprus beyond the beaches. My bases were Larnaca, Paphos and the village of Kakopetria in the Troodos Mountains. Thanks to the rental car, I was able to visit several of the UNESCO-listed sights and places on the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island.

I did nice hikes on the Akamash Peninsula and on Olympos, Cyprus’ highest mountain 1,992 meters high and I visited several beautiful, small mountain villages. I also visited some extremely tourist-oriented places and marveled at the “world” of charter travelers. For me, it is a mystery that people can stay in such an environment for a week, or longer. Of course I also took the opportunity to swim in the Mediterranean when I was still here!

Although Cyprus does not have the most beautiful nature I have seen, I enjoyed the island, the Cypriots and visiting various sights.

Cyprus history in brief

Cyprus, with its strategic location in the eastern part of the Mediterranean, has always been attractive to conquer and therefore the island has a long, interesting and bloody history. Throughout history, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Turks and Britons have ruled the island’s population. The various ruling ethnic groups have all left traces that reflect their regimes. The British heritage is still clearly visible today in the form of left-hand traffic and right-hand drive cars.

Some important years in the history of Cyprus (before Christ)

7000 – 3900

The Neolithic. During this period, the first settlements at Khirokitia and Kalavasos are established. The first settlers probably came from Asia Minor and lived on hunting and fishing. These settlers worshiped a form of “mother god”.

c: a 5,000

Starting with pot making in Cyprus

3 900 – 2 500

A fertility rite occurs on the island. Copper is used in utensils and jewelry. Ceramics are painted in red on white

2,500 – 1,050

The country’s Bronze Age falls

2,500 – 1,900

Immigrants come from Anatolia and settle on the island. Trade is established with Egypt and Syria


Copper begins to be exported from Cyprus and arms and other metal objects were traded with Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Crete

c: a 1 300

The first Greeks arrive in Cyprus. Their language and religion will affect the island’s population. They found cities like Kition, Kourion, Paphos and Salamis. The cult of Aphrodite is founded in Paphos

c: a 1 200

An Aphrodite cult is being developed in Paphos


A strong earthquake hits the island with great devastation as a result

1 050 – 750

The Iron Age of the country falls

700 – 560

Phoenicians from Tire found the city of Kition. Other important cities during this period included Paphos, Idalion, Lapithos, Tamassos Kurion

560 – 540

Cyprus belongs to Egypt

540 – 333

The Persians rule the island

411 – 374

King Evagoras overthrows the Phoenician king and rules from Salamis

333 A

Alexander the Great defeats the Persians and annexes Cyprus


Alexander the Great dies and thus Cyprus becomes a pawn in the game between two of his generals

325 – 58

The Hellenistic period fell and Paphos became the capital


Ptolemy I takes control of the island and economic improvements take place


The Roman period begins and Cyprus becomes a Roman province

Some important years in the history of Cyprus (after Christ)


The apostles Paul and Barnabas arrive in Cyprus. They convert the consul Sergius Paulus to Christianity and thus Cyprus becomes the first country with a Christian regent


Christianity became the official religion throughout the Roman Empire


Earthquakes destroy, among other places, the cities of Paphos and Salamis


Earthquakes again destroy the cities of Paphos and Salamis. Salamis was rebuilt and renamed Constantia

395 – 1191

The Roman Empire is divided. Cyprus belongs to the Byzantine Empire, ruled from Constantinople. During this period, prosperity prevails in the country

4 – 500s

Large basilicas were built in several cities


The coastal cities of Cyprus are often attacked and plundered by Arabs


Emperor Justinian II and Calif al-Malik reached an agreement declaring Cyprus neutral, ending Arab attacks

965 – 1185

Founded cities, or expanded, such as Episkopi, Famagusta, Keryneia and Limassol


Isaac Komnenos declares the island independent from Constantinople


Rickard Lejonhjärta, who was on his way to his third crusade, defeated Isak Komnenos and sold Cyprus to Guy de Lusignanill, former king of Jerusalem

1191 – 1489

The Lusignan (Frankish) period of feudal rule falls


Cyprus for war against Genoa

1374 -1464

The Genoese occupy Famagusta


Egyptian Mameluks destroy the cities of Larnaca and Limassol and imprison King Janus
1472 James II, the last Lusignan monarch, marries Venetian Catherine Kornaro

1489 – 1570

after the death of James II, his wife Catherine took over the country and thus begins the Venetian period


Nicosia fell after a seven-week Ottoman siege

1571 – 1878

The Ottoman period falls. Catholics are persecuted, expelled, killed, or forced to convert to the Greek Orthodox faith or to Islam. During this time, many churches were converted into mosques. Feudalism and servitude are abolished. 30,000 soldiers from the Turkish army receive plots of land on the island


The aqueduct is being built in Larnaca


Hala Sultana Tekka is being built near Larnaca


An uprising against Ottoman rule is taking place on the Greek mainland

1878 – 1960

The Cyprus Convention was signed at the Berlin Congress and the island came under British administration


Britain annexes Cyprus as Turkey supports Germany in World War I.


Cyprus becomes a British crown colony

the 1930s

Demands to get rid of British rule are increasingly being made by the population. The Énosis movement is founded, whose demand is for Cyprus to join Greece


The referendum showed that 96% of the population was in favor of enosis. The Archbishop of Cyprus Makarios III took the lead in the political struggle of the Greek Cypriots,

1955 – 1959

General Grivas is behind EOKA’s attempt to force Cypriot independence through guerrilla attacks on various ethnic groups and British soldiers

1956 – 1957

Makarios lives in exile in the Seychelles


Cyprus will become an independent republic on 16 August. Greek Cypriot Makarios is appointed president and Turkish Cypriot Fazil Küçük becomes vice president.


Proposals for constitutional amendments result in conflicts between Greeks and Turks


Killed over 500 people in various riots. The UN sends a peacekeeping force, UNIFICYP, to Cyprus


Makario’s government began regular negotiations with the Turkish Cypriots, which lasted until 1974 without any real results.


The first parliamentary elections were held since independence


On July 20, Turkey bombed Nicosia. At the same time, northern Cyprus was invaded and occupied


In February, the Turkish Cypriots declared their territory in the north a federal “state”.


Makarios died and was succeeded by Spyros Kyprianou


In May, the Turkish Cypriots suspended negotiations on Cyprus, after the UN General Assembly by a large majority stated that all foreign occupying powers would leave the island. In November, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was proclaimed. President was Rauf Denktash. Only Turkey has recognized this


Georghios Vassiliou was elected president of the southern part of the island


Applied to the Greek Cypriot Government for Cypriot membership of the EC (EU from 1 November 1993). The application fueled the contradictions both within and between the two ethnic groups


In the Greek Cypriot presidential election, Glafkos Klerides won


On the Turkish Cypriot side, Rauf Denktash wins the presidential election again


Glafkos Klerides wins the presidential election again

Cyprus Brief History