Introduction to Cyprus History

The history of Cyprus is one of the oldest recorded in the world. From the earliest times Cyprus´ historical significance far outweighed its small size. Its strategic position at the crossroads of three continents, as well as its considerable supplies of copper and timber combined to make it a highly desirable territorial acquisition.

The first signs of civilization go back to the 9th millennium BC, while the discovery of copper on the island brought wealth and trade to the island. Around 1200 BC a process began that was to stamp the island with an identity that it still has today; the arrival of Mycenaean – Achaean Greeks as permanent settlers, who brought with them their language and culture. Cyprus was subsequently conquered by various nations but, nevertheless, managed to retain its Greek identity, language and culture intact.

The Turkish Cypriots came much later. They were descendants of the Ottoman Turks who occupied the island for more than 300 years between the 16th and 19th century, and have contributed their own heritage to the country.

Christianity was introduced to the island during the 1st century AD by St. Paul himself and St. Barnabas, founder of the Church of Cyprus.

Source: Press And Information Office, Republic Of Cyprus, 2005