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Excursion into the history of Cyprus

Human presence on Cyprus has more than nine millennia. The first inhabitants came here in the Neolithic, creating their settlements in many parts of the island. Although scientists can not yet answer all the riddles of the past, there is no doubt that arose in Cyprus, an ancient civilization had a highly developed culture and perfect for the time level of the organization of society.


Choirkoitia. Neolithic settlement

Copper-rich subsoil and the people who owned the secret of making bronze, opened a new stage in the history of the island, known as the Bronze Age (2500 - 1050 years. BC. E.). In this era of copper mining on the island continuously increased, improved manufacturing process of metal products and, of course, the most expanded exports of copper in all the Mediterranean countries.

Existed at that time in Cyprus and its writing. The method that was used when writing the ancient Cypriots called boustrophedon, which means "turning bull": the letters of the first line went from right to left, the second - from left to right, and so on, as is his furrow a farmer, raising field.

At the end of the Bronze Age occurred the most significant event in the history of Cyprus: the island began to settle Achaeans. As a result, a single kingdom Alasia, then existed on the island, split into small city-state. Their base associated with the names of participants of the Trojan War. Achaean colonization that was not violent, making Cyprus one of the centers of the Mycenaean culture has left its imprint on the lifestyle of the indigenous population, its language and religion.

At the beginning of I millennium, when the Iron Age replaced the Bronze Age on the island by the Phoenicians settled ubiquitous. However, their colonies were not so great and they did not have a fundamental influence on the development of the culture and history of the island. In the VII century BC Cyprus was conquered by the Assyrian king Sargon II. Assyrians in 560 BC Egyptians ousted from the island, which replaced in 538 year came the Persians.


Tombs of the Kings. Paphos. III century BC

Persian empire ruled Cyprus for two centuries. Crushing victory over the Persians, Alexander the Great won. After his death, the island hosts were his heirs - Egyptian kings Ptolemy. Their Cyprus attracts many: proximity to Alexandria, the abundance of forests, rich deposits of copper and numerous harbors, comfortable furnishing seaports.

In the middle of the I century BC. e. Rome, who by that time the new Mediterranean power, forced to give Ptolemaic island. During the reign of Emperor Augustus Cyprus finally became a Roman province until the beginning of the IV century was driven by his lieutenants. Appeal to the Christian faith in the year 48 Roman proconsul Sergius Paulus made Cyprus the first country in the world where the rules of Christian.

At the beginning of the IV century the powerful Roman Empire was divided into East and West. Cyprus, due to its geographical position, became part of the Byzantine Empire, which, however, could not protect him from the ravages of pirate raids. Pirates for three centuries kept the island's population in fear. And only in the middle of X century pirates looting stopped, and the population has returned to creative work and restore relations with various regions of the Byzantine Empire.


Kyrenia castle. VII century

By the end of XII century Western Europe began its third crusade, the protagonist of which was the English King Richard the Lionheart. By chance, the ships of the Knights, one of which was Richard bride Princess Berengaria of Navarre, were shipwrecked off the coast of Cyprus.

Viceroy of the Byzantine Emperor Isaac Comnenus, without putting proper courtesy royal personage, took her captive. Angered by Richard hurried to help, and the rule of the Byzantines in Cyprus ended. However, Cyprus is not represented at the moment of interest for the English king, and he sold the island to the Knights Templar, who soon brought him back. Richard then resold the island deposed King of Jerusalem, Guy de Lusignan, whose descendants ruled Cyprus until the end of the XV century.

Cyprus won the Crusaders brought him to the island previously unknown culture of medieval Europe. However, the local population, who got into the feudal dependence, yet managed to keep old traditions, and Greek, and the Orthodox faith.

After completion of the Crusades Cyprus remained the sole outpost of the West in the eastern countries that came to the attention of the two vied trading cities of Italy - Genoa and Venice. And at sunset Lusignan rule one of the largest towns on the island - Famagusta - was captured by the Genoese.


Amphitheater of the Hellenistic era. Curio

In the second half of the XV century, the circumstances were in favor of the Republic of Venice. Abdicated, the last Queen of Cyprus Caterina Cornaro transferred all rights to possession of the island of Venice.

Once in power, the Venetians hastily began to build on the island of powerful fortifications, fearing attack by a new and growing force in the eastern Mediterranean - the Ottoman Empire. However, a century later, the formidable citadel did not survive the devastating onslaught of the Ottomans. And 1571 year Cyprus officially became part of the Ottoman Empire, which rule on the island spread over three long centuries.

In the second half of the XIX century, Great Britain, using Russian-Turkish war 1878 years, was on the side of Turkey, which in exchange for their support ceded Cyprus. Unceasing struggle began Cypriot independence. As a result, 16 1960 August, Cyprus was proclaimed a sovereign state, headed by the president of the Greek Cypriot and the vice-president of the Turkish Cypriots.

Lingering hopes to unite Cyprus with Greece did not materialize, and the island intensified intercommunal differences grew into open clashes. In Cyprus, the 1964 landed the first UN peacekeeping force.

Again the situation on the island escalated in 1967 year after the military coup in Greece. Athenian dictators hoped to strengthen his regime by combining all of the Hellenistic world, including Cyprus. After the military coup on the island in July, President Makarios 1974 was forced to leave the island. Under the pretext of protecting the Turkish minority in July 20 Turkish army invaded Cyprus, seizing its northern part. And although in the end the coup government fell, and Archbishop Makarios - the first president of independent Cyprus - returned home today and Turkish troops remain in the occupied territory.

On the tragic events of July 1974 to the present day resembles the so-called "Green Line", dividing the island into two parts, its capital, and the fate of people. Reach a political settlement to the Cyprus problem has not yet succeeded, despite all efforts of the international community and the membership of Cyprus to the EU.

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