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History, Early History

Guy of Lusignan, Ptolemies, Russo-Turkish War, Greek colony, Mediterranean countries

The recorded history of Cyprus begins with the occupation of part of the island by Egypt about or just before 1450 bc, during the reign of Thutmose III. In subsequent centuries seafaring and trading peoples from the Mediterranean countries set up scattered settlements along the coasts. The first Greek colony is believed to have been founded by traders from Arcadia about 1400 BC. The Phoenicians began to colonize the island about 800 bc.

Beginning with the rise of Assyria during the 8th century bc, Cyprus was under the control of each of the empires that successively dominated the eastern Mediterranean. Assyrian authority was followed by Egyptian occupation (550 bc), then Persian (525 bc). During the Persian occupation King Evagoras I, ruler of the Cypriot city of Salamis, made the first recorded attempt to unify the city-states of Cyprus. In 391 bc Evagoras, with the aid of Athens, led a successful revolt against Persia and temporarily made himself master of the island. Shortly after his death, however, Cyprus again became a Persian possession.

For almost a thousand years thereafter control of the island passed from empire to empire. Alexander the Great took Cyprus from Persia in 333 bc, and after his death in 323 bc the island again became an Egyptian possession, under the Ptolemies. Rome gained control in 58 bc. In ad 1191 Cyprus was seized by Richard I of England, who gave it to Guy of Lusignan, titular king of Jerusalem. The Lusignan dynasty built several large forts and castles, some of which are still standing. In 1489, Venice took control of Cyprus. The Ottoman Empire captured the island in 1571 and held it until 1878, when it was defeated in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877 and 1878. Fearing greater expansion by Russia, the Ottoman government induced the British to administer Cyprus.

Article key phrases:

Guy of Lusignan, Ptolemies, Russo-Turkish War, Greek colony, Mediterranean countries, Phoenicians, empires, Ottoman Empire, thousand years, Persia, castles, century bc, eastern Mediterranean, ruler, Arcadia, Venice, Rome, Alexander, occupation, traders, Richard, coasts, Egypt, death, Russia, bc, island, England, ad, control


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