Cyprus – The Recent History

Situated at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, Cyprus has certainly had an eventful past. As an independent nation, Cyprus has existed for less than a generation, but its history stretches back much further. This sun-kissed Mediterranean isle has come under the control of various rulers who have all laid claim to this stunning drop in the Mediterranean Sea.

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. In 1914, at the beginning of World War I, Cyprus was annexed by the United Kingdom. In 1925, following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Cyprus was made a Crown Colony. Between 1955-59 Greek Cypriot nationalist military resistance organisation fought for the end of British rule of the island, for self-determination and for union with Greece (enosis). The EOKA aim to rid Cyprus of British rule was partially met when on 16 August 1960 Cyprus achieved independence from the United Kingdom the Republic of Cyprus with the exception of two “Sovereign Base Areas” (SBA) at Akrotiri and Dhekelia. The settlement explicitly denied enosis. Although Cyprus gained its independence, it came with a complex constitution and the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee – a security arrangement compromising of a three-way guaranteeship from Turkey, Greece and Britain that neither would annex the independent republic.

Internal conflicts between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities turned into full-fledged armed fighting between the two communities on the island which prompted the United Nations to send peace keeping forces in 1964; these forces are still in place today. Turkey invaded the island in 1974 and seized the northern third of the island which is still occupied today. The de facto state of Northern Cyprus was proclaimed in 1975 under the name “Turkish Federated State of Northern Cyprus”. The name was changed to its present form on 15 November 1983. The only country to recognise The “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” is Turkey itself. Turkey has repeatedly violated numerous UN Resolutions and refers to the Republic of Cyprus as the “Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus”.

After the southern, Greek speaking part of Cyprus became a member of the European Union, it adopted the Euro as its currency on January 1, 2008, replacing the previously used Cypriot Pound.

These days, however, if there’s any conquering to be done, it’s being done by tourists. Since the 1960s the agreeable Cypriot climate and its stunning landscape have combined to attract thousands of tourists every year. You can also be sure of a warm welcome from its genuinely friendly people who are renowned for their hospitality.