Cyprus History Timeline  Cyprus Ancient History nutshell


Cyprus is a small island in the eastern Mediterranean. It is situated at the edge of three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa.  This prime position has made it prey of the dominant powers in the region, all through the ages.  Its inhabitants descent from the ancient Greeks that first set foot on the island in 1700 BC.



cyprus-food-history  Cyprus History Timeline


1.    Cyprus Stone Age (5800-3000 BC)

StoneThe use of stone and bones for making weapons and tools is the main characteristic of this era. The islanders of this time were farmers, herdsmen and hunters.  Choirokitia (Ke-ro-ke-tiah) settlement is an excellent representative of that age.

2.    Cyprus Bronze Age (3000-2300 BC)

bronzeBronze takes over as the ore of choice for making tools, weapons and domestic containers, thus making life easier for the islanders. They start trading with neighbouring settlements.  Bronze Age sites are situated in Kalavasos, Ereme and Egomi.  
3.    The Achaeans in Cyprus (1225 BC)

AchaeansA great number of Achaeans came to the island at the end of the Trojan War.  They established kingdoms, one of which was the kingdom of Teukros (Teucer) in Salamis.  The Achaeans introduced the 12 Olympian gods to the islanders, which gave special honour to the goddess Aphrodite (Venus), the goddess of fertility.  They believed she was born – fully grown - out of waves in the sea near Paphos.  
4.    The Phoenicians in Kition (1100 BC)

AchaeansThe Phoenicians were keen traders all over the Mediterranean. They established a trading port in Kition, which was where modern day Larnaca is situated today.
5.    The Assyrians in Cyprus (709 BC)

AchaeansThe Assyrian king Sargon the 2nd occupied the island in 709 BC.
6.    The Egyptians in Cyprus (560 BC)

egyptAfter the Assyrian decline, the Egyptians became the dominant power on the island of Cyprus. This, however, lasted only 25 years.
7.    Persian Dominance in Cyprus (522-486 BC)

PersiansKind Darius I made Cyprus part of the fifth satrapy. An important person of this time was King Evagoras, who fought against the Persians for 10 consectutive years.  His city, Salamis (Salamina), was one of the most important Hellenistic centres of the time. Many precious artefacts were found there.
8.    Cypriots form an allegiance with Alexander the Great (332 BC)

Age-of-Alexander-2-iconAs Alexander the Great marched east to conquer the Persian Empire, he received help from the Cypriots.  In 332 BC, 120 Cypriot ships took part in Alexander’s siege of the city of Tyre in modern day Syria.  In return, the Cypriot kingdoms received fullautonomy.
9.    The Ptolemies in Cyrpus (294 – 58 BC)

egyptThe Ptolemies of Egypt had the upper hand in Cyprus for two and a half centuries, using the island as a base in order to boost their dominion over the Mediterranean region.
10.    Romans and Christianity (58 BC)

RomanCato the Younger annexed Cyprus in 58 BC.  Apostle Paul and Barnabas introduced Christianity to Cyprus.
11.    Byzantine Times (395 AD)

ByzantineWhen the Roman Empire was divided Cyprus became part of Eastern part.  It suffered from repeated Arab raids and so, in order to defend the island, the Byzantines organised a special defending force (Akrites) for the protection of the most vulnerable places.  Additionally, they built several mountain castles.  
12.    Franks in Cyprus (1192-1489 AD)

FranksWith the introduction of feudalism in Cyprus by the Franks, the local wealth fell into the hands of the knights, the nobility and the merchants.  The common people became poorer and some of them ended up as serfs.
13.    Venetian Period (1489-1571 AD)

veniceThe dire economic situation of the islanders continued. The Venetians, due to the many potential attackers, undertook the reinforcement of the existing defensive infrastructure and the creation of new forts.
14.    The years under the Ottoman rule (1570-1878 AD)

OttomanIn 1570 the Ottomans attack the Venetians in Cyprus and take over Nicosia and later Ammochostos (Famagusta).  The condition of the locals did not improve, however.  The heavy burden of taxation and constant pillaging was greatly felt.
15.    The British in Cyprus (1878 – 1960 AD)

BritishCyprus was the trophy of Britain when Turkey lost the war with Russia.  The British did improve the quality of life for the Cypriots.  They built roads and organised the civil government. But after several years, the Greek Cypriot population started longing for independence.  In April 1st 1955, guerrilla fighting began under the leadership of EOKA (National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters) and in February 1959 the Zurich treaty signed the London Accord which granted Cyprus its independence.   
16.    Cyprus gains its independence

Cyprus-idependanceIn August 16, 1960 Cyprus became officially an independent Republic with Archbishop Makarios as its first President. The Greek Cypriots, however, felt that the Zurich treaty favoured the Turkish Cypriot population and before long the two communities were in conflict. To combat this, the UN created a buffer zone and some Turkish Cypriot communities were moved to specific enclaves along the Nicosia-Keryneia area.   

cyprus-dividedMeanwhile, in 1967 a military coup took place in Greece. The junta attempted to usurp the political power of President Makarios. Turkey’s reaction to the attempted coup was quick. Turkish military forces invaded the island and armed battles ensued. A 40.000 strong Turkish military force managed to occupy the northern 37% of the island.  The northern Greek Cypriot communities had to flee for their lives and it is estimated that 200.000 of them became refugees in their own island.




Christodoulos Kikas

Written by Christodoulos Kikas


Translated by Anthea Papa