History of Cyprus
Cyprus is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean The earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC. Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in the 2nd millennium BC.
As a strategic location in the Middle East, it was subsequently occupied by several major powers, including the empires of the Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians, from whom the island was seized in 333 BC by Alexander the Great. Subsequent rule by Ptolemaic Egypt, the Classical and Eastern Roman Empire, Arab caliphates for a short period, the French Lusignan dynasty and the Venetians.
This was followed by over three centuries of Ottoman rule between 1571 and 1878. Cyprus was placed under British administration in 1878 and formally annexed by Britain in 1914.
Languages of Cyprus
The official languages of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish. 80.4% of Cypriots are proficient in the English language as a second language. Usefully for those taking advantage of the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment programme, Russian is widely spoken among the country’s minorities, residents and citizens of post-Soviet countries. Russian, after English and Greek, is the third language used on many signs of shops and restaurants, particularly in Limassol and Paphos
Cyprus is a presidential republic. The head of state and of the government is elected by a process of universal suffrage for a five-year term. Executive power is exercised by the government with legislative power vested in the House of Representatives whilst the Judiciary is independent of both the executive and the legislature.
The Economy of Cyprus
Cyprus has an advanced, high-income economy. The International Monetary Fund estimates its per capita GDP (adjusted for purchasing power) at $30,769, above the average of the European Union.
The Republic of Cyprus has been a member of the Commonwealth since 1961 and joined the European Union on 1 May 2004. On 1 January 2008, the Republic of Cyprus joined the eurozone.
Cyprus has been sought as a base for several offshore businesses for its low tax rates. Tourism, financial services and shipping are significant parts of the economy.
In recent years, significant quantities of offshore natural gas have been discovered in the area known as Aphrodite in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ)