Brief History of Cyprus

Humans have inhabitated Cyprus back to the Paleolithic era, around 10,000 years ago. The island nation’s geographic position means Cyprus has been influenced by the various Eastern Mediterranean civilizations.

First settled by humans in the stone age, early inabitants shared the island with numerous dwarf animals such as dwarf elephants and pygmy hippos. The initial undisputed settlement happened in the 10th millennium BC and the settlers were agriculturalists.

During the 6th millennium BC, culture was characterized by roundhouses, stone vessels and an economy built on sheep, goats and pigs; cattle was unknown and fallow deer were hunted.

The foundations of myths on Cyprus has been documented which connect various Cypriot towns with Greek heroes in the wake of the Trojan war. For instance, Teucer, brother of Aias founded Salamis and the Arcadian Agapenor of Tegea replaced the native ruler Kinyras and founded Paphos. Scholars see this as a memory of early Greek colonization in the 11th century.

Cyprus gained temporary independence from about 670BC until it was conquered by Amasis around 570BC. The island was again conquiered by the Persians around 545BC and a Persian palace has been excavated in Marion on the North coast.

Full Hellenization happened under Ptolemaic rule and Phoenician and native Cypriot traits disappeared along with the antique Cypriot syllabic script.

The island kindom came to be dominated in the 14th century by Genoese merchants and sided with the Avignn Papacy in the Western Schism. The Mameluks made the kingdom a tributary state in 1426 before losing all independence in 1489. This is the historical setting for Shakespeare’s Ohello, the play’s title character being the Venetian garrison’s commander defending Cyprus against the Ottomans.

20th Century

When Greece became independent in 1830, many Cypriots wanted to see Cyprus merged into Greece. The island nation instead remained part of the Ottoman Empire which didn’t end until 1878 when Cyprus fell under British control. The Ottoman’s maintained control of the island until Great Britain annexed it in 1914 after declaring war against the Ottomans.

The 1960 consitution allowed for a form a shared power government where concessions were given to the Turkish Cypriots. Internal conflicts became all-out fighting between the islands two factions, the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, and the United Nations was forced to send peacekeeping troops in 1964.

Modern History

From January 2004 until April 2013, Cyprus’ history has been mixed. The initial four years saw optimism rising and everyone wanted to be a part of the economic boom. However, the number of houses exceeded buyers and little attention to detail was given regarding the infrastructure surrounding new building projects. Some were well done — others a mess.

When 2008 began, Cyprus joined the Euro just as the world’s financial crisis was starting. The going rate to convery Cyprus pounds to Euros was considered too high and severe inflation resulted. As the world-wide depression started Cyprus was already suffering. Visitors and expats spent less on eating out as the Euro led to banking expansion which proved to be unsustainable.

Nevertheless, each of these factors makes Cyprus attractive for persons interested in the nation’s citizenship-by-investment program. The country is a terrific place for vacation as well and more people come to visit — and stay — as the economy stabilizes.