The island of Cyprus has a rich history that is steeped with mythological gods and demi-gods. It is said that on this island that the gods mingled with humans. No one can really say for certain when Cyprus was founded.
This beautiful island can be dated as far back as 6,000 B.C. Many ancient historical events took place on the island of Cyprus. Alexander the Great fought the bloody battle, which freed Cyprus from Persian rule in 333. After his death, the beautiful Island fell under Roman rule, becoming the first country to be ruled by Christian missionaries such as Saint Paul and Saint Barnabas.
Around the 1st century B.C. a series of earthquakes destroyed everything on the island of Cyprus and it was not until the 1st century A.
D. that they were able to begin rebuilding. Frank Guy de Lusignan ruled Cyprus ruled Cyprus. This era was known as the Lusignan era. It was under Frank Guy de Lusignan rule that many of the buildings, rich in the gothic design of the era were built. The Cathedral of Ayia Sophia in the city of Nicosia, the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in the city of Famagusta and the Bellapais Abbey are just a few of the incredible buildings that were built.
The Lusignan rule ended when queen Catherina Cornaro relinquished her rule to Venice in 1489 to Venice. Venetian of this era viewed Cyprus as a strong hold, a strategic battleground that could become impenetrable. It was ordered that the beautiful gothic buildings be torn down and a great wall erected around the Island. This was monumental undertaking for the times, and when it was completed it was believed to be undefeatable. The men and women of Cyprus have fought many battles to keep their freedom. Some they have won and some they did not.
In 1570 A.D., the great wall was penetrated by ottoman troops and the city of Nicosia was slaughtered.
This was the greatest slaughter in the history of Cyprus, 20,000 people were killed. The Ottoman troops marched on throughout Cyprus forcing the Venetians to surrender. The Ottoman rule continued until the Greek War of Independence in 1821. Given the choice to convert their religion to Greek Orthodox or Islam, or be put to death, The Archbishop of Cyprus, his bishops and hundreds of community leaders chose death and were publicly executed.
The people of Cyprus have always fought to gain their independence. Some of the battles were won and some were lost. The struggle continues today, although it is through diplomatic methods instead of the old ways of war.
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