Many tomes have been written about the mythology and history of Cyprus, too much to write here! From mythology we have Aphrodite who rose from the foam of the sea and was carried by the gentle warm breeze (Zephyr) to the shores of Paphos. The moment the Goddess set foot on the fertile soils of Paphos, beautiful flowers sprang up, anemones and capers, which still grow amongst the rocks in Paphos. The daughters of Zeus ran to welcome Aphrodite to Cyprus and thereafter the Island became the only place she wanted to be. Here she met Adonis, fell in love and the rest they say is history!
History in Cyprus dates as far back as 7000BC, the Neolithic age, with settlements along the north and south coasts of the Island. After 1400BC the first Greeks came to the Island, Mycenean merchants who started the Hellinisation of the Island. By 1050BC Cyprus was considered to be a Greek Island with the language, culture and religion of Greece well established. Cyprus had ten city kingdoms and by 800BC was a flourishing and prosperous country. From 750BC Cyprus was conquered several times by Syria, Egypt and Persia.
In 333BC Alexander the Great claimed Cyprus for part of his empire. Cyprus continued to be part of the Hellinistic Empire until 58BC, when it became part of the Roman Empire. Saint Paul was converted to Christianity whilst in Cyprus thus making Cyprus the first governed country by a Christian. After the division of the Roman Empire, Cyprus became part of the Byzantium with Constantinople as its capital. In 1191AD Cyprus was defeated by Richard the Lionheart and the Island was sold to the Knights Templar who re-sold it to Guy de Lusignan. From 1192 to 1489 Cyprus was ruled under a feudal system and Catholicism became the official religion.
In 1489 control of the Island passed to the Venetians who took steps to fortify the Island and build walls around the towns of Nicosia and Famagusta.
By 1571 Ottoman troops invaded the Island and Cyprus became part of the Ottoman Empire. Islam was introduced to the Island and Catholicism was expelled. The Greek Orthodox religion was restored. In 1878, under the Cyprus convention, Britain assumed administration of the Island although part of the Island remained in the Ottoman Empire. However in 1914 when the Ottomans entered the First World War on the side of the Germans, Britain annexed the Island. In 1923 Turkey relinquished all rights to Cyprus and in 1925 Cyprus was declared a Crown colony.
An armed struggle broke out in 1955 against colonial rule which lasted until 1960 when the Island was granted independence. In 1963 Turkish-Cypriot ministers withdrew from the Government in protest at proposed changes to the Constitution and Turkey threatened to invade. In 1974 the Greek Junta instigated a coup against the Cypriot government and Turkey used this as an excuse and invaded the Island.
Turkey continues to illegally occupy 37% of the Island violating the UN charter. It has established the Turkish Republic of Cyprus an illegal state recognised only by Turkey and continues to maintain the division of the Island by force.