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by Archaeology Newsroom

Cyprus under the Turks

The conquest of Cyprus by the Turks in 1571 put an end to the Western domination of the island that had already lasted for almost four centuries.

The Turkish conquest did not simply add a new land to the vast Ottoman territory but cut the island violently off from the direct cultural influence of the West and transfered it into the domain of Ottoman despotism. The occupation of Cyprus was completed with the fall of Ammochostos (Famagusta) in August of 1571, almost a year later than the surrender of the capital, Nicosia. The Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878 had a serious impact on the history of Cyprus. At the end of this war England managed to persuade Turkey that the latter would benefit, if the island were conceded to England; England, in exchange, would stand by Turkey in case of Russian attack. The relevant treaty was signed on July 4, 1878 during the Berlin Congress and the first English governor arrived at Cyprus on July 22, 1878. The Cypriots considered the English domination of the island rather a temporary situation and a transitional stage for the fulfillment of their national pursuit.