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Cyprus (/ˈsprəs/ (About this sound listen); Greek: Κύπρος [ˈcipros]; Turkish: Kıbrıs [ˈkɯbɾɯs]), officially the Republic of Cyprus (Greek: Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία; Turkish: Kıbrıs Cumhuriyeti), is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean. Cyprus is located in Western Asia, south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel, north of Egypt, and southeast of Greece.

The earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC. Archaeological remains from this period include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia, and Cyprus is home to some of the oldest water wells in the world. Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC. As a strategic location in the Middle East, it was subsequently occupied by several major powers, including the empires of the Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians, from whom the island was seized in 333 BC by Alexander the Great. Subsequent rule by Ptolemaic Egypt, the Classical and Eastern Roman Empire, Arab caliphates for a short period, the French Lusignan dynasty and the Venetians, was followed by over three centuries of Ottoman rule between 1571 and 1878 (de jure until 1914).

Cyprus was placed under British administration based on the Cyprus Convention in 1878 and was formally annexed by Britain in 1914. While Turkish Cypriots made up 18% of the population, the partition of Cyprus and creation of a Turkish state in the north became a policy of Turkish Cypriot leaders and Turkey in the 1950s. Turkish leaders for a period advocated the annexation of Cyprus to Turkey as Cyprus was considered an "extension of Anatolia" by them; while, since the 19th century, the majority Greek Cypriot population and its Orthodox church had been pursuing union with Greece, which became a Greek national policy in the 1950s. Following nationalist violence in the 1950s, Cyprus was granted independence in 1960. In 1963, the 11-year intercommunal violence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots started, which displaced more than 25,000 Turkish Cypriots and brought the end of Turkish Cypriot representation in the republic. On 15 July 1974, a coup d'état was staged by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta in an attempt at enosis, the incorporation of Cyprus into Greece. This action precipitated the Turkish invasion of Cyprus on 20 July, which led to the capture of the present-day territory of Northern Cyprus in the following month, after a ceasefire collapsed, and the displacement of over 150,000 Greek Cypriots and 50,000 Turkish Cypriots. A separate Turkish Cypriot state in the north was established by unilateral declaration in 1983; the move was widely condemned by the international community, with Turkey alone recognizing the new state. These events and the resulting political situation are matters of a continuing dispute.

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In 1878 as the result of the Cyprus Convention, the United Kingdom took over the government of Cyprus as a protectorate from the Ottoman Empire. The first British High Commissioner was Lieutenant-General Sir Garnet Joseph Wolseley (1833-1913).

While the Greek Cypriots had at first welcomed British rule hoping that they would gradually achieve prosperity, democracy and national liberation, they were soon disillusioned. The British imposed heavy taxes to cover the compensation which they were paying to the Sultan for having conceded Cyprus to them. Moreover, the people were not given the right to participate in the administration of the island since all powers were reserved to the High Commissioner and to London. A few years later the system was reformed and some members of the legislative Council were elected by the Cypriots, but in reality their participation was very marginal.

The British faced two major political problems on the island. The first was to contain the desire for union with Greece (enosis), after it became clear to the Greek Cypriots that it was not going to be granted. The second was the consequential problem of keeping the two communities in harmony once the Turkish Cypriots began to respond to enosis by calling for partition (taksim) as a defence against their being Hellenised and assimilation, as they saw it. The Greek Cypriots could easily claim that they had a strong case in history and they constituted between three quarters and four fifths of the population.

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Teucer's Salamis.

Selected biography

Portrait of Catherine Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus by Gentile Bellini, at the Magyar Szépmüvészeti Múzeum, Budapest

Catherine Cornaro (Italian: Caterina) (1454 – July 10, 1510), was Queen of Cyprus from 1474 to 1489 and declared a "Daughter of the Venetian Republic" in order that Venice could claim control of Cyprus after the death of her husband, James II ("James the Bastard").

She was born in Venice in 1454 and was the daughter of a well-known and powerful family of the Republic of Venice. The Cornaro family had produced four Doges. Her family had long associations with Cyprus, especially with regards to trade and commerce. In the Episkopi area, in the Limassol District, the Cornaro family administered various sugar-mills and exported Cypriot products to Venice. Her mother's side of the family was even more grand as they were descendants of the Emperors of Trebizond. She was painted by Dürer, Titian, Bellini and Giorgione

Did you know...

...Cyprus is the legendary birthplace of the goddess of beauty and love, the beautiful Aphrodite (also known as Kypris or the Cyprian). According to Hesiod's Theogony, the goddess emerged fully grown from the sea where the severed genitals of the god Uranus were cast by his son, Kronos, causing the sea to foam (Greek: Aphros).

Related portals

There are many portal sites full of information related to Cyprus on the internet today which can be searched via the search engines, one which is useful [1] which covers the south of Cyprus.

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“Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden.”
-Bible quotes.

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Cyprus topics

Here are some open WikiProject Cyprus tasks:
Culture: Cypriot literature, Culture of Cyprus
Diaspora: Cypriot Diaspora, Cypriot American, Cypriot Canadian, Cypriot Australian
Conflicts: Turkish invasion of Cyprus, EOKA, Turkish Resistance Organization (TMT)
Economy/Finance/Companies: Cyprus Airways 2012–13 Cypriot financial crisis
Geography: Troodos Mountains, Karpasia, Famagusta Bay, Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Demographics of Cyprus, Morphou Bay, Cape Apostolos Andreas, List of Cities in Cyprus
History: History of Cyprus, List of Archbishops of Cyprus, Cyprus under the Ottoman Empire
Personalities: Zeno of Citium, Stelarc, Tracey Emin, Michael Cacoyannis, Hussein Chalayan, Shaykh Nazim al-Qubrusi, Stel Pavlou, James Alexandrou, Little Natali, Archbishop Makarios III, Fazıl Küçük, Andreas G Orphanides, Anna Vissi, Leftheris Tapas, Giannos Kranidiotis, George Michael, Marcos Baghdatis, Michalis Konstantinou, Garo Yepremian, Pygmalion,Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, Panayiotis Zavos, Peter André, Vassos Lyssarides, Mick Karn, Theo Paphitis
Politics: Northern Cyprus, Foreign relations of Cyprus, List of political parties in Cyprus, Military of Cyprus, President of Cyprus
Religion: List of Archbishops of Cyprus, Cypriot Orthodox Church, Roman Catholicism in Cyprus, Apostolos Andreas Monastery, Machairas Monastery
Miscellaneous: Cyprus wine, Cyprus College, Intercollege, Larnaca International Airport, Paphos International Airport, Cuisine of Cyprus
Cleanup: Cleanup listing, Unreferenced BLPs
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