The island of Cyprus, in the eastern Mediterranean, was divided in 1974 when Turkish troops invaded to stop Greek military plans for enosis (union) with Greece. Tensions between the Greek Cypriot majority and the Turkish Cypriot minority had been high since independence from Britain in 1960. Fighting in 1974 displaced more than a third of the population as some 180,000 Greek Cypriots fled south and 45,000 Turkish Cypriots went to the northern Turkish-occupied area (37 percent of the island). The UN patrols the dividing line and works to settle ethnic enmities. However, it failed to reunify the island before May 2004—when Cyprus joined the European Union. The northern area, known as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, is not recognized by the UN, so only the southern Republic of Cyprus could join the EU.

(source: National Geographic)







Life Expectancy:

GDP per Capita:

Literacy Percent:


Nicosia: 233,000

9,251 square kilometers (3,572 square miles)

Greek, Turkish, English

Greek Orthodox, Muslim



U.S. $9,700


Cyprus History

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 Chirokitia, 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.

Cyprus was placed under British administration based on Cyprus Convention in 1878 and 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, which led to the capture of the present-day territory of Northern Cyprus 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.


Cyprus Business Center

Cyprus has been developed over the years as a significant International business and financial center. The generous tax incentives, the efficient legal, accounting and banking system, the European standard of living, the hospitality, friendliness and the high level of competence of the Cypriot workforce as well as the strategic geographical location and the good social and industrial infrastructure are among the factors contributing to this success.

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