Nestled at the crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa, the island has been influenced with passing-by voyagers ever since. The early settlers came to Cyprus most probably from the nearby Mediterranean countries. The Neolithic and Chalcolithic period and first inhabitants dated back to 7500 B.C. It is well-proven by wealth of artifacts and unearthed settlements found where today is Kyrenia, Çatalköy and other cities in the south.
The Bronze Age (2500 - 1050 B.C.) in Cyprus is strongly connected with copper production and trade development. The period brought transformation of the settlements into commercial centres. The cult of Mycenean people left their traces in Cyprus, manufacturing decorative pottery and domestic implements.
During 1050 - 475 B.C the Iron Age took the lead as iron was harder than bronze. The period was marked with replacement of the Horned God, so much adored by Myceneans, by the cult of the Goddess Astarte, later known as Aphrodite. City kingdoms were also established.
Under Persian rule (475-325 B.C.) kings of Cyprus struggled hard for sovereignty, however, after several victories ended in failure and paid tribute to the Empire. Most powerful crusades were those of the kings of Evagoras and Alexander the Great.
Majestic monuments like Theatre of Kourio and Tombs of the kings in Paphos only proved flourishing of architecture during the Hellenistic period (325-50 B.C). To cultural and social development of Cyprus contributed at the time philosopher Zeno of Kitium (334-262 B.C.).
Although the Roman period (50 B.C-330 A.D) was marked with disasters like earthquakes and droughts, it also reflects flourishing architecture and prosperity. The sights that we see today like the Mosaics, the Odeion, the Theatre, the Asklepieion and the Agora in Paphos or Salamis ruins are typical of Roman period. Christianity is launched also.
It was during the Byzantine period (330 - 1191 A.D.) that the island was invaded by Arabic raid. They brought Islam to the country and left their palpable evidence here. Major fortifications were built, among which the castles of St Hilarion, Buffavento, and Kantara and also Kyrenia Castle.
Frankish rule (1192-1489 A.D.) in Cyprus is connected with Richard the Lionheart and feudal system of Medieval Europe. Oppression of the Orthodox religion was another change that the Lusignans brought to the island. Evidence of the period is the beautiful Gothic Bellapais Abbey in Kyrenia district.
When the Venetians (1489-1571) came to the island, they wanted to control it for purely mercenary motifs. Its strategic position made it an ideal point from which Venice could have the possibility to overwhelm all eastern trade routes. During this period Nicosia and Famagusta walls and gates were built to protect the cities against the Ottomans.
The Ottoman rule (1571-1878 A.D.) brought into Cyprus negative peculiar features like oppressive taxes, misrule, decline of trade as well as poverty and famine. Moreover, all the beautiful churches and cathedrals were converted into mosques - Agia Sofia in Nicosia and Agios Nikolaos in Famagusta converted into Selimiye Mosque and Lala Mustafa Mosque.
In 1878 Cyprus came under British control and occupancy and modern system was introduced encompassing new road construction. Significant improvement in agriculture, education and public services were recorded as well. British controlled the island until 1960.
Between 1955 and 1959, the Greek Cypriots struggled for liberation, via Enosis, Union with Greece. Refusing colonial rule of Britain they started armed offensive by EOKA (National Organization of Cypriot Fighters) led by George Grivas. The Republic of Cyprus reached its independence in August 1960.
Hatred between the Turks and the Greeks, after raid of the Greeks on Turkish suburb of Nicoisia, resulted in the Turkish intervention in 1974. Since then, island has remained divided into two parts, the northern part remained Turkish, while the southern one is Greek.
In 1983 the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was established, only recognized by Turkey which remains until today. South part is referred to as Republic of Cyprus since 1960.