A former British colony, Cyprus became independent in 1960 following years of resistance to British rule. Tensions between the Greek Cypriot majority and Turkish Cypriot minority came to a head in December 1963, when violence broke out in the capital of Nicosia. Despite the deployment of UN peacekeepers in 1964, sporadic intercommunal violence continued forcing most Turkish Cypriots into enclaves throughout the island. In 1974, a Greek Government-sponsored attempt to overthrow the elected president of Cyprus was met by military intervention from Turkey, which soon controlled more than a third of the island. In 1983, the Turkish Cypriot-occupied area declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" ("TRNC"), but it is recognized only by Turkey. In February 2014, after a hiatus of nearly two years, the leaders of the two communities resumed formal discussions under UN auspices aimed at reuniting the divided island. The talks are ongoing. The entire island entered the EU on 1 May 2004, although the EU acquis - the body of common rights and obligations - applies only to the areas under the internationally recognized government, 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.
copper, pyrites, asbestos, gypsum, timber, salt, marble, clay earth pigment
arable land: 9.06%
permanent crops: 3.54%
other: 87.41% (2011)
1,172,458 (July 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
Greek 77%, Turkish 18%, other 5% (2001)
Greek Orthodox 78%, Muslim 18%, other (includes Maronite and Armenian Apostolic) 4%
Greek (official) 80.9%, Turkish (official) 0.2%, English 4.1%, Romanian 2.9%, Russian 2.5%, Bulgarian 2.2%, Arabic 1.2%, Filippino 1.1%, other 4.3%, unspecified 0.6% (2011 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.7%
female: 98.1% (2011 est.)
note: a separation of the two ethnic communities inhabiting the island began following the outbreak of communal strife in 1963; this separation was further solidified after the Turkish intervention in July 1974, following a Greek military-jun
16 August 1960 (from the UK); note - Turkish Cypriots proclaimed self-rule on 13 February 1975 and independence in 1983, but these proclamations are only recognized by Turkey
Independence Day, 1 October (1960); note - Turkish Cypriots celebrate 15 November (1983) as "Independence Day"