Population. – The demographic increase, although not significant, has nevertheless been constant. From the 1930 census there were 347,392 residents Later there were some estimates, which gave 361,000 residents in 1935, 372,800 residents in 1938, 424,600 residents in 1944. Finally, in 1946 a census was held, of which until today (August 1948) only the general results are known: the total population amounts to about 450,114 residents, with a density of 49 residents per sq. km. The most important center remains the capital, Nicosia, with 34,500 residents The other major centers are Limassol (22,800 residents), Famagusta (15,900 residents), Larnaka (14,750 residents).
Economic conditions. – Cereals, grapevines (especially on the southern, volcanic slopes), olive and fruit trees, cultivated everywhere in equal measure, remain the main products. In the last five years there have been from 540 to 570,000 q. of wheat per year (on about 82,000 ha.) and about 50,000 ha. screw. The production of white wine was 150 ÷ 220,000 hl. and that of raisins and table grapes, of 250 ÷ 400,000 q.
With regard to breeding, sheep (302,800 in 1944) and goats (208,000 in 1944) have increased in the last twenty years, and pigs have decreased vice versa (43,400 in 1944). Donkeys (60,200 in the same year) still feed an intense export to the whole of the Levant and Egypt.
Government. – The British government invited, in October 1946, all Cypriot political parties to form a Consultative Assembly for the promulgation of a constitutional reform which envisaged the participation of Cypriot elements in the local administration. A ten-year plan for the economic development of Cyprus was proposed and freedom was again given to the church of Cyprus in the election of the archbishop. However, this English decision had an unfavorable reception in the press and most of the Cypriot parties, which (with the exception of the Turkish one) in an ethnarchical council, which claimed to speak in the name of the entire island population, resolved to advance the project of union of Cyprus with Greece. Of course the London government rejected this project.
The systematic excavations that have taken place in the last twenty years have brought new data that profoundly modify what was known about the island in ancient times.
Chronology. – It was established in relation to that of other regions of the eastern Mediterranean on the basis of objects exported from Cyprus or imported to the island from other countries. Broadly speaking, the generally accepted correspondences and dates so far are the following:
According to a tablet of Mari, which changes the dating of the reign of Ḫammurabi, and the new excavations of Troy the beginning of the Middle Minoan (= Middle Cypriot) was lowered from 100 to 400 years. The result is a shift in the Cypriot chronology which has yet to be studied.
Religion. – The first sure cult occurs for the late Cypriot II in the sanctuary of Hagios Iakovos, but an earlier cult seems to be indicated by the bothros of the sanctuary itself: it is an open temenos with numerous votive gifts. Similar sanctuaries are numerous in Cyprus in all ages, but elements are lacking to define the character and ceremonies of the cult. The votive offerings were to be an important element, because there is no sanctuary in which they have not been found in considerable quantities. The temenos it is divided into various courtyards, the one furthest away from the entrance had a sacred character: in general there is an altar. The chapels at the end of the courtyards seem destined for worship, but some (eg Lefkonikò) must have served as a warehouse. The name of the divinity to whom they were dedicated is known only for some sanctuaries (Isis and Aphrodite in Soli, Artemis Paralia in Dali, Aphrodite Pafia in Kythrea, etc.); in the sanctuary of Hagia Irini a black oval stone was probably venerated. For Cyprus religion, please check thereligionfaqs.com.
The dead were always buried: in the Neolithic they were in a huddled position inside or next to houses, with a large stone on their chest or head, sometimes under a slab supported by supports. In Chirokitia it seems that the sacrifice of children was occasionally practiced in relation to funeral rites. Starting from the Bronze Age, the cult of the dead takes on enormous development. In family tombs – the single deposition is rare – the deceased is given a rich funeral outfit of food, drink, tools, weapons, etc. The offerings continued even after the deposition.
The so-called “cult vessels” with animals, usually doves, on the edge, found in some tombs, may not have been intended for worship. A terracotta from the end of the third millennium BC. Cyprus (Vounous) has been interpreted as a reproduction of the cult of the Great Mother or the serpent or the dead: the interpretation is hypothetical.
History. – Recent excavations have given occasion to very arbitrary deductions of a historical nature: here we are given only what seems to have been acquired with certainty. Cyprus has been inhabited since the Neolithic: it is not certain – as has been said – that this civilization originated in Anatolia, or Phrygia, or Cilicia, or Syria. The population lived in houses and caves. About the middle of the third millennium it is found dedicated to pastoralism and agriculture, but already around 2000 BC. Cyprus begins the working of copper (Ambelikou). Perhaps a consequence of this is the development of trade with Syria and Egypt which is observed in the middle of the second millennium. Relations with the West began only after the middle of the millennium, but soon developed significantly. The tradition knows a colonization or conquest of Cyprus by the Greeks. On archaeological bases some place it at the beginning of the century. XIV a. Cyprus: the Greek colonists would have brought the Mycenaean civilization; others at the beginning of the century. XII; others see a first current of Achaeans, or Anatolian populations led by Achaeans, in the 12th century and new migrations due to Doric pressure around 1100 BC. Cyprus It seems, however, that in the first quarter of the twelfth century. to. Cyprus Kourion already had the Greek name. Commercial relations with the West seem to cease in the 12th century (they are proven in the Cypriot-geometric with Crete), they continue instead with Syria and Palestine: at the beginning of the century. VII in el-Minā the Cypriot pottery prevails and throughout the VI the imports of Cypriot statuettes continue.