A solitary island in the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus has had a rich history of being visited by seafaring travellers from neighbouring countries and empires. The first inhabitants are said to have settled in Cyprus around 7 000 BC. Between the years 3000-700 BC, Cyprus became a trading centre with significant copper mines. It became a strategic location at the crossroad of East and West. The new settlers were bringing new architecture, ceramics and metal works to the island.
In 6th century BC, Cyprus was used as a base for war with Greece by Persians. This war ended in 333 BC when Alexander the Great brought the Persian Empire to an end. The Ptolemies of Egypt then ruled the island until the invasion of Romans but their reign lasted just few years, as Julius Caesar gave the island to his lover, Cleopatra, as a demonstration of his love to her. The reign was then returned to the Roman Empire after Cleopatra's death.
Until 965 AD, Muslim and Byzantine inhabitants lived together on the island as mixed communities arrived from 1st to 10th centuries. In the 12th Century AD, Cyprus was targeted by the Crusaders and was captured by King Richard the Lion Heart. During this time Maronite settlers arrived in Cyprus. Richard the Lionheart then sold the island to the Knights Templar.
The island later fell into the occupation of the Lusignans who retained control of the island until 1489. During their reign, the architecture of the island was flourishing. The period of the Ottoman reign is dated to 1571 and lasted more than three centuries. Two communities - Turks and Greeks - prevailed. In 1869, Britain took over the rule of the Cyprus.
Independence was then granted to the island - after the signing of the Treaty of London and Zurich in 1960. However, the relations between the communities of Turks and Greeks became strained due to attempts by the Greek Cypriots to unite Cyprus with Greece (ENOSIS) which culminated in a military coup and civil war broke out. Turkey intervened to stop the fighting in 1974 exercising its right as a guarantee power under the 1960 constitution. Afterwards the communities were divided by the United Nation by creating the Green Line.
The state of Northern Cyprus was proclaimed in 1975 under the name "Turkish Federated State of Northern Cyprus". The name was changed to its present form (the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) on 15 November 1983.