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Cyprus

island, britain, miles, bushels, egypt, six, till, bc, annexed and empire

CYPRUS, an island under British protec torate, lying south of Asia Minor, and the most eastern in the Mediterranean, near the mouth of the Bay or Gulf of Iskanderun. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean, and, stretch lug from southwest to northeast, is about 148 miles long, with a width varying from 100 miles to 1$ miles at a narrow peninsula in the north. Area 3,584 square miles. The main physical features of Cyprus consist of a range of mountains running along a large part of the northern coast, and a range parallel to it occupying a consider ablepart of the island on the south, with a broad tract of plain, called the Messaria, be tween, extending on either side to the sea. The second range culminates in Mount Troiidos (6,406 feet). Cyprus is deficient in water, its streams being chiefly mountain torrents, which dry up in summer. The climate is in general healthy, excepting in various places during the heats of summer, which, causing a rapid evap oration, give rise to malarial fever. The forests were formerly very extensive, and in ancient times yielded wood much valued by the Phoe nicians for ship-building, but owing to indiscrim inate cutting, the depredations of goats, etc., they now cover a comparatively small area, with the result that the fertility of much of the soil has been impaired. The forests are now under government supervision, and eucalypti, pines and other trees are being planted. Although about one-third of the cultivable land is under cultivation, agriculture is in a rather backward state. The chief products in 1914 were : wheat, 1,937,000 bushels; barley, 1,965,000 bushels; vetches, 195,000 bushels; oats, 412,000 bushels. The cultivation of the vine and the production of wine is increasing, most of it being sent to Egypt and France. Much mischief is sometimes done by locusts, but measures have been taken, under the supervision of the government, by which their numbers have been greatly dimin ished in recent years. The extensive pasture lands of the island support numbers of sheep and goats. Cyprus possesses much mineral wealth, and in early times was celebrated for its copper, a metal the English name of which can be traced to that of this island. The copper is again being worked, as are also quarries of sandstone, marble, granite, limestone, etc. Salt in large quantities is obtained from works at Limasol and Larnaca. The sponge-fishery is of some importance. In addition to wine the chief articles of export are carobs, cotton, silk cocoons, cereals, raisins, skins, wool, cheese and fruits. The imports in 1914 were valued at 1496,744, with exports of about the same value. Ships entered and cleared (1914) 581,926 tons. The revenue (1914-15) was f290,110 and ex penditure £316,411. There were 628 elementary schools (1914-15) with a total enrolment of 36,661. A complete system of justice has been established. Roads and telegraphs have been constructed throughout the island, and there is a short railroad. Cables connect it with Syria and Egypt. About one-fourth of the people are Mohammedans, the rest are mostly members of the Greek Church.

The Phoenicians established themselves in Cyprus about 1100 or 1200 B.c Greek colonists followed later; and for a time it was under Assyria. The Phoenicians introduced the wor

ship of Astarte, which afterward passed into that of the Greek goddes Aphrodite (Venus). Amasis brought the island under the Egyptian yoke, 550 B.C. In 525 B.c. it was subdued by Cambyses and annexed to the Persian Empire, but it again became a dependency of Egypt under Ptolemy Soter toward the end of the 4th century ac. In this condition it remained till the year 57 ac., when it was made a Roman province. After the division of the Roman territories Cyprus continued subject to the East ern Empire. In 1182 Isaac Comnenus, a prince of the imperial family of Constantinople, made himself independent, but the island was wrested from him in 1191, during the third Crusade, by Richard I of England, who afterward bestowed it upon Guy of Lusignan on condition of his renouncing his claim to the title of king of Jerusalem. After the extinction of the legiti mate male line of 'Lusignan, James, an illegiti mate descendant, became the ruler. His wife was a Venetian (Catharine Cornaro), and as she had no children, at his death the Venetians took advantage of this circumstance to make themselves masters of the island (1489). They enjoyed the undisturbed possession of it till 1571, when, in the reign of Seim II, notwith standing a brave resistance on the part of Marco Antonio Bragadino, who defended Fama gusta 11 months, it was conquered by the Turks and annexed to the Ottoman Empire. In 1830 it was taken by the viceroy of Egypt, but was retaken by the Turks in 1840, and retained by them till June 1878, when it was ceded to Great Britain by the Convention of Constantinople, concluded during the negotiations consequent on the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. It nom inally formed a part of the Turkish dominions, the agreement being that it should be adminis tered by Great Britain so long as Russia should retain possession of Batoum and Kars. Great Britain was also bound to pay a subsidy to the Porte, which amounts annually to 192,868. It was not paid directly, however, but retained as an offset to British claims against Turkey. This arrangement came to an end on 5 Nov. 1914, when, as a result of Turkey's entry into the Great European War on the side of the Central Powers, Great Britain annexed the island. Nearly a twelvemonth after, on 20 Oct. 1915, it was officially announced that, as an inducement for Greece to enter the war on the side of the Entente, Great Britain had offered to cede to her the island of Cyprus. This offer was, however, declined for the time being and accordingly it lapsed. The island is governed by a high commissioner, assisted by an executive council of six, and a legislative assem bly of 18 members. Six of the last named are office-holders and 12 elective for a term of five years, three by the Mohammedan and nine by the non-Mohammedan population. The island is di vided into six districts, each presided over by a commissioner, and each having a district court. In recent years a vast quantity of interesting archeological remains have been found in Cyprus. Pop. 274,108 (56,428 Ottoman Turks and 214,480 Christians of the Cypriote Church). The capital is Nicosia (pop. 16,052).