Facts about Cyprus

Area: 9,251 sq km
Capital: Nicosia
Language: Greek, Turkish
Currency: Euro
  Turkish Lira
Population: 784,301
Coastline: 648 sq km

Home > General Info > History > Expansion and Trade

Expansion and Trade

The Early and Middle Bronze Ages (2300-1600 BC) saw the first real towns and commercial centres developing. The export of copper expanded into Egypt and Asia Minor and cultural relations and contracts with neighboring countries continued to improve.

Much of the shipping went through the port of Enkomi and it has long been thought that Enkomi identifies with the town of Alasia referred to in ancient texts. However, inscriptions on fourteenth century BC tablets found at Tell al Armana in Middle Egypt cast doubt upon this theory. Currently being examined, they seem to pinpoint the copper-rich capital of Alasia as being one of two towns, Alassa Paleotaverna or Kalavassos Ayiosdemetrios in the southern side of the Troodos Mountains. Final proof has yet to be established. What is known is that the word copper is derived from the Greek kipris meaning ‘Cyprus’ so the two have long been synonymous.

The Mycenaean peoples who continued the development of cities around the island, such as Enkomi in the North and Paphos in the South brought Greek cultural methods with them and this shows in the style of the highly decorative pottery that has been found. They started to produce figurines, vases, highly decorative plates etc. These were produced not just for the home and domestic market but also for export. Much as we would find in a China shop of today, so the late Bronze Age traders were selling statues, not of pop idols and princes but of gods and goddesses of their pagan culture, horses, chariots, and various animals. Designs feature strongly on their plates, bowls, and other household vessels.

The continued prosperity and cultural growth of the people during the late Bronze Age appears to have been disrupted by a turbulent time when the island came under attack from a distant culture that has never been identified. These people are referred to as ‘The Sea People’ and where they come from and returned to is a matter of pure conjecture. During this time many cities were destroyed and rebuilt, fortified or abandoned. After causing considerable trouble and turbulence ‘The Sea People’ disappeared as mysteriously as they arrived.

At around this time Achaen settlers landed on the northern coast at what is now called at Achaens’ Beach and began the colonization which links the cities of Salamis, Soli, Paphos, and others with heroes from the siege of Troy. They brought with them their cultures and their pagan gods. Terracotta figures of both male and female deities bear strong resemblance to those found around Mycenae and Crete.

Early settlers

Expansion and trade

The Iron Age

Persian Rule

Hellenistic Period

Roman period

Byzantine rule

Three Hundred years of French Rule

Venetian Rule

Ottoman Rule

British Control

Union with Greece

The country remains divided

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