Cyprus timeline

Cyprus map
Cyprus map, Coronelli, 1690

Chronology of key events

7000 BC
• First known signs of civilisation in Cyprus.

2500 BC
• Mycenaean Greek civilisation established in Cyprus.

1200 BC
• Archaean Greek civilisation: Archaean Greeks peacefully establish city kingdoms on the Mycenaean model. Greek art, literature and philosophy thrive.

540 BC
• Persian occupation of Cyprus.

498 BC
• Cypriot kingdoms join the Ionian revolt against Persian rule.

350 BC
• Macedonian Greek civilisation dominates Cyprus.

333 BC
• Alexander the Great, with support of Cypriot kings, defeats Persians.
• Macedonian control over Cyprus.

325–250 BC
• Hellenistic Period.
• Cyprus becomes a Hellenistic cultural province.

323 BC
• Death of Alexander the Great.
• Cyprus embroiled in struggles to succeed Alexander the Great.

294 BC
• Cyprus annexed by Ptolemy.
• Becomes part of the Hellenistic state of Egypt.

58 BC
• Cyprus becomes a Roman province.

30 BC
• The island becomes part of the Roman Empire.

45 AD
• Apostles Paul and Barnabas begin conversion of population of Cypriots to Christianity.

330 AD
• On the division of the Roman Empire, Cyprus becomes part of the Greek Byzantine Empire.
• Constantinople is inaugurated as capital of the Orthodox Christian Byzantine Empire.

• Arabs raid the island.

• The island is neutral following treaty between Emperor Justinian II and Caliph al-Malik.

• Cyprus is regained for Byzantium by Emperor Nicephorus II Phocas.
• St Hilarion, Kantara and Buffavento castles built on Kyrenia range as a defence against Arab raids.

• Isaac Ducas Comnenos takes over government of the island.

• King Richard the Lionheart takes possession of Cyprus.
• Cyprus is sold by Richard the Lionheart to the Knights Templar.

• The Templar resell the island to King Richard who induces Guy de Lusignan to acquire it.
• A Frankish dynasty is established.

• Despite Latin persecution, the Greek Orthodox church still flourishes.

• Genoese occupy Famagusta.

• Egyptians raid the island.

• The capture of Constantinople by the Ottomans signals the end of the Byzantine Empire.

• Cyprus is ceded to Venice by Venetian Queen Cornaro.

Seige of Nicosia by Ottoman troops in 1570
The seige of Nicosia by Ottoman troops in 1570

• Ottoman troops invade Cyprus.
• The island is plundered and thousands are put to the sword.

• Cyprus is annexed to Ottoman Empire.
• Turks transplanted to Cyprus to keep the indigenous Greek population under control.
• Latin church is expelled and the Orthodox Church upholds the existence of a Greek national identity.

• The archbishop is recognised as representative of the Christian population.

• Greece’s war of independence against Ottoman rule results in massacres and looting against the Greeks of Cyprus.
• Archbishop Kyprianos and three bishops are executed.

• Rebellions by the Greeks of Cyprus for enosis (union) with Greece are brutally suppressed.

Raising of the British flag, Nicosia, 1878
Raising of the British flag, Nicosia, 1878

• Britain signs an alliance with Turkey and assumes administration of Cyprus, which still remains part of the Ottoman Empire.

• First limited elections held in Cyprus for the legislative council.

• Turkey sides with Germany during the Great War.
• Britain annexes Cyprus.

• Britain offers Cyprus to Greece on condition Greece enters war. Greece refuses offer.

• Britain annexes Cyprus after Turkey’s defeat in Great War.

• Turkey renounces all claim to Cyprus in favour of Britain by the Treaty of Lausanne.

• Cyprus declared a crown colony. Greek members of the legislative council resign.

• Pro-enosis riots in Nicosia
• Government House is burnt down and the Constitution is suspended.

• Colonial Government of Cyprus convenes Consultative Assembly for study of proposals for limited self-rule.
• Proposals rejected by Greek Cypriots who demand complete self-rule.

• Archbishop Makarios II holds plebiscite which shows 96 per cent of the Greeks of Cyprus are in favour of enosis. Makarios III elected Archbishop.

• Further British proposals for a legislative Council rejected.
• Georgios Grivas arrives secretly to organise the liberation struggle.

School students protest against British colonial rule of Cyprus
School students protest against British colonial rule of Cyprus

• EOKA (National Organisation of Cypriot Struggle) campaign against British colonial rule in Cyprus begins 1 April.
• Tripartite conference in London begins 29 August.
• Anti-Greek riots in Turkey, 6-7 September.
• Harding proposals for self-rule.
• State of emergency declared in Cyprus.

• Makarios exiled to the Seychelles, March.

• Radcliffe proposals rejected.
• Turkish Cypriot leadership declares aim of taksim (partition) of the island.
• Makarios released from the Seychelles, but banned from Cyprus.
• Outbreak of violence between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

• MacMillan plan proposed, a system of condominium of Cyprus by Britain, Greece and Turkey.
• Zurich Agreement between Greece and Turkey.
• Bomb explodes at Turkish press office in Nicosia (which was later revealed to have been planted by Turks). Turkish Cypriots riot, loot and burn Greek properties in Nicosia. • The tension culminated in the massacre of eight Greek Cypriots near the village of Geunyeli.

• London-Zurich agreements signed, February.
• Archbishop Makarios returns to Cyprus, March.
• Archbishop Makarios elected President, December.
• Dr Fazil Kutcuk elected Vice-President, December.

Archbishop Makarios and Fazil Kucuk sign the Zurich Agreements, 1960

• Cyprus gains independence, becoming an independent republic on 16 August. Britain, Greece and Turkey become guarantors of the constitution and territorial integrity of the Republic under the 1960 ‘Treaty of Alliance and Guarantee’.
• General elections to House of Representatives, July.
• Cyprus becomes 99th member of the United Nations and joins the Commonwealth.
• Britain retains sovereignty of 99 square miles of the island for military bases (Sovereign Base Areas).

• Cyprus becomes a member of the Council of Europe, the British Commonwealth and a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement.

• Archbishop Makarios submits proposals for amending the Constitution after constant deadlock in government, November.
• Turkey and Turkish Cypriots oppose proposals.
• Outbreak of fighting between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
• ‘Green line’ dividing the communities in Nicosia established, December.

• Turkish officials withdraw from administration.
• Turkish Cypriots move into enclaves and set up Turkish administration.
• United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) established.
• Turkey threatens invasion.
• President Johnson warns Turkish Prime Minister Inonu against invading Cyprus.
• Grivas returns to Cyprus and assumes command of the National Guard, June.
• Fighting in Tylliria area, August.
• Turkey bombs Tylliria, killing more than 50 people including 19 civilians.
• Cyprus National Guard established.
• Acheson plan to partition Cyprus between Greece and Turkey proposed by United States.

• Galo Plaza, UN Mediator, publishes report and proposals; rejected by Turkey and Turkish Cypriots, March.

• Joint communiqué signed by the Governments of Greece and Cyprus that any solution excluding enosis would be unacceptable, February.

• Military coup in Greece, 21 April.
• Fighting between National Guard under General George Grivas and Turkish Cypriots in the Kophinou area leads to Turkish ultimatum; accepted by the Greek junta, which withdraws troops and Grivas from Cyprus, November.
• Turkish Cypriots announce formation of ‘Provisional Cyprus Turkish Administration’, December.

• Makarios declares enosis is no longer feasible and fears ‘double enosis‘ ie the partition of Cyprus between Greece and Turkey.
• Makarios wins election against a pro-enosis candidate, winning 96.5 percent of the vote.

• Attempt on Makarios’ life in assassination attempt.

• Grivas returns secretly to Cyprus.
• Start of renewed campaign for enosis by EOKA-B.

• Police tactical reserves arrest EOKA-B members.

Invading Turkish troops land at the shores of Kyrenia, 20 July 1974
Invading Turkish troops land on the shores of Kyrenia, 20 July 1974

• Grivas dies and EOKA-B comes under more direct control of Greece junta.
• Makarios demands withdrawal of Greek officers.
• Coup d’état against President Makarios, 15 July.
• Nicos Sampson installed as president by coupists.
• Turkish Prime Minister Ecevit flies to London, 17 July.
• Turkish invasion of Cyprus begins, 20 July under the pretext that Turkey is “restoring constitutional order”. Turkish military commits atrocities on Cypriot civilians including mass murder, torture, rape, enforced disappearances and ethnic cleansing.
• 23 July coup collapses as junta in Greece falls.
• Glafkos Clerides becomes acting President of Cyprus, 24 July.
• Turkey is condemned for its actions by the international community including the European Commission of Human Rights and United Nations.
• Peace talks between Britain, Greece and Turkey begin in Geneva, 25 July.
• British, Greek and Turkish Foreign Ministers sign the Geneva declaration precluding extension of area under military control and setting up of buffer zones, 30 July.
• Deadlock in negotiations; Turkey launches second invasion of Cyprus, 14 August.
• Further atrocities are committed by advancing Turkish troops.
• Approximately 200,000 Greeks become refugees or internally displaced as they flee the northern areas of Cyprus now unlawfully occupied by Turkish troops.
• Approximately 45,000 Turkish Cypriots, many of them under coercion of Turkish Cypriot leadership move to the occupied area within a year.
• Turkey occupies 37 per cent of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.
• Declaration of ‘Autonomous Turkish Cypriot Administration’, 22 August.
• President Makarios returns to Cyprus. In UN Assembly he rejects geographical federation, 1 October.

• Greek and Turkish Cypriots agree to resume negotiations on the basis of federal government, January.
• Turkey withdraws from the talks, February.
• ‘Turkish federated state of Cyprus’ declared in occupied Cyprus, 10 February.
• Partial arms embargo imposed on Turkey by US Congress (in defiance of Henry Kissinger) for using weapons supplied by the US in invasion of Cyprus.

• Death of Archbishop Makarios
• Succeeded by Spyros Kyprianou as president.

• End of US arms embargo on Turkey.

• UN-sponsored talks.

• Unilateral declaration of so-called ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ in occupied territories. Pseudostate is unrecognised by the international community.

• No agreement at talks between President Kyprianou and Turkish occupation representative Denktas.

• George Vassiliou becomes president of Cyprus.

• President Vassiliou and Denktash talks fail.
• Greek Cypriot property owner Titina Loizidou applies to European Commission of Human Rights in Strasbourg, filing an individual application against Turkey for violation of her property rights in the occupied areas.

• Cyprus applies to join European Community.

• UN Secretary-General Boutros Ghali ‘Set of Ideas’ submitted which proposes weak central government.
• Glafkos Clerides elected president of Cyprus.

• Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) submitted by UN Secretary-General. CBMs include the opening of Nicosia airport and return of Famagusta to UN for resettlement by Greek Cypriots. Cyprus Government accepts proposal, which is rejected by Denktash.

• CBMs amended by UN Secretary-General to meet Denktash’s objections. Proposal is again accepted by Cyprus Government and rejected by Denktash.
• UN Secretary-General report states “the absence of agreement [is] due essentially to a lack of political will on the Turkish Cypriot side”.
• European Court of Justice rules that all direct trade between occupied Cyprus and European Union is illegal.

• European Court of Human Rights delivers first judgment in the Loizidou v Turkey case on 23 March, rejecting Turkey’s objections.

• Three unarmed Greek Cypriots are murdered by Turkish regime. Tassos Issaac and Solomos Solomou were killed at anti-occupation demonstrations and Petros Kakoulli was killed after wandering into occupied zone.
• European Court of Human Rights delivers second judgment on 18 December, finding Turkey guilty of violating property rights of Titina Loizidou and reaffirms illegality of Turkey’s occupation regime.

• S-300 ground to air missiles are ordered from Russia by Cyprus Government.
• UN sponsored talks between President Clerides and Denktash fail.

• S-300 missiles are deployed in Crete after threats by Turkey to attack them on arrival.
• President Clerides re-elected to a second term.
• European Union lists Cyprus as a potential member.

• Cyprus Government takes part in UN-sponsored ‘proximity talks’.
• Turkey threatens to annex occupied areas.

Turkey threatens to annex the occupied north of the island if the Republic of Cyprus joins the European Union prior to a settlement.

• President Clerides and Denktash commence UN sponsored negotiations.
• United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan presents the Annan plan for Cyprus, envisaging a confederation of two constituent parts.
• European Union summit in Copenhagen invites Cyprus to join the EU in 2004.

• Tassos Papadopoulos defeats Clerides in presidential elections in February.
• No agreement reached on UN sponsored plan which is rejected by Denktash in March.
• Turkish Cypriot regime authorities some easing of restrictions in April on crossing of occupation line. Greek and Turkish Cypriots cross for first time in 30 years.

• Elections in occupied areas. Mehmet Ali Talat of Republican Turkish Party invited to form coalition of parties in December.

• Talat forms coalition with Democratic Party which is headed by Serdar Denktash, the son of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, in January.
• Twin referenda, 24 April, in government controlled area and in occupied area on the Annan plan. Plan is overwhelmingly rejected by the Greek Cypriots.
• Cyprus joins the European Union with ten other states on 1 May.
• Turkey continues its illegal occupation of 37 percent of the island in violation of over 120 United Nations and Security Council resolutions.

• Parliament ratifies proposed EU constitution in June.
• Turkey delivers additional American-made military tanks and armoured vehicles directly to Ammochostos to supplement existing occupation force. Turkish occupation force three times stronger than the Cypriot National Guard.

• UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appoints Australian former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer as his new special envoy for Cyprus

• UN-sponsored negotiations begin in April between Cyprus President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
• Negotiations included 13 working groups and technical committees.

• Elections in occupied areas in April.
• Hard-liner Dervis Eroglu elected as leader of Turkish Cypriots. He has ruled out any concessions to Greek Cypriots or the return of any occupied land as part of a settlement.

•  Cyprus begins exploratory offshore drilling for hydrocarbons.
• Turkey sends a research vessel with a military escort into the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Cyprus.

• Financial crisis – Cyprus appeals to European Union for assistance as banks are exposed to economy of Greece.

• Nicos Anastasiades of Democratic Rally elected president of Cyprus.
• President secures €10bn bank bailout from the European Union and IMF.

• ‘Joint declaration’ by President Anastasiades and occupation regime representative Eroglu, setting the basis for UN-sponsored negotiations.
• Cyprus suspends talks with occupation regime in protest against intimidation by Turkey to prevent exploration of hydrocarbons in Cyprus EEZ.

• Mustafa Akinci elected leader in Turkish occupied area of Cyprus.
• Negotiations resume.

•  Negotiations in Mont Pelerin, Switzerland fail, as President Anastasiades and Akinci fail to agree on ‘territorial adjustments’. Both agree to further negotiations.

• Geneva conference takes place to discuss ‘guarantees’ and security. No agreement is reached.
• Talks break off following decision by Cyprus parliament to hold an annual enosis 1950 referendum commemoration in public schools.
• Meetings held between President Anastasiades and Akinci.
• UN special adviser Espen Barth Eide is blamed for adopting pro-Turkish stance.
• Conference on Cyprus takes place at Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Britain, Greece and Turkey are participants. Republic of Cyprus is not officially represented. President of Cyprus attends as ‘leader of Greek Cypriots community’ and Akinci as leader of ‘Turkish Cypriot community’. Negotiations fail after Turkey refuses to agree to complete withdrawal of its troops and insists on maintaining ‘guarantor’ status.