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A former British colony, Cyprus became independent in 1960 A.D. following years of resistance to British rule. Tensions between the Greek Cypriot majority and Turkish Cypriot minority came to a head in December 1963 A.D., when violence broke out in the capital of Nicosia. Despite the deployment of UN peacekeepers in 1964 A.D., sporadic intercommunal violence continued forcing most Turkish Cypriots into enclaves throughout the island. In 1974 A.D., a Greek Government-sponsored attempt to seize control of Cyprus was met by military intervention from Turkey, which soon controlled more than a third of the island. In 1983 A.D., the Turkish-held area declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRNC), but it is recognized only by Turkey. The latest two-year round of UN-brokered talks - between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities to reach an agreement to reunite the divided island - ended when the Greek Cypriots rejected the UN settlement plan in an April 2004 A.D. referendum. The entire island entered the EU on 1 May 2004 A.D., although the EU acquis - the body of common rights and obligations - applies only to the areas under direct government control, and is suspended in the areas administered by Turkish Cypriots. However, individual Turkish Cypriots able to document their eligibility for Republic of Cyprus citizenship legally enjoy the same rights accorded to other citizens of European Union states. Greek, Turkish, and English are spoken.

Cy"prus (s"prs), n. Etym: [OE. cipres, cypirs; perh. so named as being first manufactured in Cyprus. Cf. Cipers.]

Defn: A thin, transparent stuff, the same as, or corresponding to, crape. It was either white or black, the latter being most common, and used for mourning. [Obs.]
Lawn as white as driven snow,
Cyprus black as e'er was crow. Shak.

---excerpt from the Illustrated Bible Dictionary.

Cyprus - One of the largest islands of the Mediterranean - about 148 miles long and 40 broad. It is distant about 60 miles from the Syrian coast. It was the "Chittim" of the Old Testament (Numbers 24:24). The Greek colonists gave it the name of Kypros , from the cyprus - i.e., the henna (see CAMPHIRE) - which grew on this island. It was originally inhabited by Phoenicians. In 477 B.C. it fell under the dominion of the Greeks; and became a Roman province 58 B.C.. In ancient times it was a centre of great commercial activity. Corn and wine and oil were produced here in the greatest perfection. It was rich also in timber and in mineral wealth. It is first mentioned in the New Testament (Acts 4:36) as the native place of Barnabas. It was the scene of Paul's first missionary labors (Acts 13:4), when he and Barnabas and John Mark were sent forth by the church of Antioch. It was afterwards visited by Barnabas and Mark alone (Acts 15:39). Mnason, an "old disciple," probably one of the converts of the day of Pentecost belonging to this island, is mentioned (Acts 21:16). It is also mentioned in connection with the voyages of Paul (Acts 21:3; Acts 27:4). After being under the Turks for three hundred years, it was given up to the British Government in 1878.


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