Cyprus as described in Historic Encyclopedias



Brockhaus 1809-1811, Pierer 1857-1865, Anskjaer 1858-1863, Nordisk Familje-Bok 1876-1899, Meyer 1885-1892, Nordisk Familje-Bok 1904-1926





Brockhaus Conversations-Lexikon 1809-1811, Article : Cypern (excerpts)
Cyprus, a island in the Mediterranean Sea, located between Asia Minor and Syria ... In the subsequent eras it was ruled by kings of the House of Lusignan, later was acquired by Venice which owned it until 1573, when the Turks under Selim II. conquered the island. It is still under Turkish rule, and because of the oppression by the latter no longer enjoys the level of civilization it is capable of. The capital is Nicosia. Cyprus is a domain of the grand vezir who rents it out; the inhabitants for the most part are Greeks..
source in German, posted by Zeno

Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, Article : Cypern
Cyprus (Kebris, Kobros), Eyalet in Ottoman Asia, consisting of the island of Cyprus south of Anatolia, west of Syria, 340 square miles, 110,000 inhabitants, almost triangular, traversed by a mountain range (highest peak Oros Stavros or Monte Croce, otherwise Olympos), promontories : Cape Satizzano, Kormatichi and San Andreas on the north coast, Greco and Gatta on the southern coast. The coasts are rich in bays, the mountains forested, between beautiful fertile valleys with evergreen trees and bushes and flowers. The climate is moderate in the north, in the interior where mountains are covered by snow for several monhs, severe and cold, while the south suffers from intense heat. The island suffers a shortage of water; the rivers generally dry up in the summer; the most important are the Padia (Wassilo Potamon, otherwise Pediäos), Hieropotamos (Klarios) and he Lapithos (Lapethos). Agriculture is completely neglected; earthquakes do much damage; poisonous snakes are found; the country annually is devastated by swarms of locusts. Very little grain (a little wheat, barley, millet, maize) is cultivated, among vegetables chick peas, beans, pumpkins, cucumbers, melons, for trade cotton, tobacco, hemp, madder, olives, oranges, lemons, figs, dates, capers; wine in many kinds, the best of which is called Kumantaria; forests (cedars, pines). Livestock keeping : sheep, goats, silkworms, bees, of metals are found iron, silver, gold, copper (already famous in antiquity), Amianth, theb "Diamond of Paphos", and marine salt. Industry is limited on the production of carpets, pottery, leather, coton and silk products. Exported are wine, wheat, silk, cotton, citrus fruit and drugs, especially Amica. The inhabitants are mostly Greeks, further Turks, Armenians and Maronites. The Greeks are under an archbishop, but have no institutions of higher learning. Coins are the Turkish ones, measurements the Pik 671,8 mm, the Medimno (fruit measurement) 75,997 liter, the Cossino about 18 liter, the Moosa about 213 liter, he Canca (wine measurement) 10,41 liter, has 16 Guze of 4 Boccali each, the Cass 4.731 liter. Weight : the Cantari = 100 Rotoli, 1 Rotolo = 12 Ounces = 750 Drachmai, the Oka = 400 Drachmai = 1,268 kilogram. The Rotolo oil contains 21 Oka. Cyprus is under the supervision of the Kapudan Pasha, but belongs to he domain of the grand vezir. The island is divided in 13 eparchies.
See : Mariti, Viaggi per l'isola di Cipro, Lucca 1769 and following, 9 volumes

source in German, posted by Zeno

Anskjaer, Geografisk-Statistisk Haandbog 1858-1863, Article : Cypern
Cypern, by the Turks called Kibris, an island in he eastern Mediterranean, close to the coast of Asia Minor and Syria, 160 square miles wih a population which in 1850 was estimated at 140,000, of whom about 100,000 were Greeks and the larger part of the remainder were Turks. The island is traversed in her entire length by a mountain chain which runs parallel to the northern coast, the highest points of which are given by some as 7,000 feet, by others as 10,000 feet. Of the many rivers, which are all small and dry up in the summer, the Poedia is the most important. It runs in easterly direction and crosses the islands largest plain. The soil by nature is fertile, and under Venetian rule nourished a population of 1 million. In the meantime, Turkish oppression has resulted in special consequences of barbarity : large stretches of land are uncultivated and covered by heather plants, which in some areas ae so dense that they are imprenetrable. Agriculture is in a very miserable condition, and the soil produces only a fraction of what it should, given its composition. The most important crops are cotton of excellent quality, wine, all kinds of fruit, tobacco and hemp. In antiquity, Cyprus was famous for its copper mines, to which came gold, silver and precious stones; but mining has stopped altogether. The island often suffers from swarms of locusts, which come here from the mainland, and from snakes, tarantulas and poisonous adders, which exist here in large quantity. The climate in the winter is rather cold, because of winds coming in from Asia Minor and from the mountains of Syria, in the summer the lowland is very hot, but is tempered by the sea wind. In the summer there is little rain. Cyprus seems first to have been colonized by the Phoenicians, and later by the Greeks. After the fall of the Persian Empire the island was conquered by Alexander the Great; when he died, the island fell to Egypt. M. Cato added it to the Roman Empire, and upon the partition of the latter it fell to the Eastern Roman Empire. Richard the Lion-hearted conquered Cyprus in 1191, and in 1192 donated it to Guy de Lusignan, the expelled king of Jerusalem, whose descendents ruled the island until the late 15th century, when it came under Venetian rule. The Turks conquered the island in 1570-1571, and held on to it ever since.
source in Danish, posted by Project Runeberg

Nordisk Familje-Bok 1876-1899, Article : Cypern
Cypern (Kreek Kypros, Lat. Cyprus, Turk. Kybris), Turkish island in the eastern Mediterranean, since 1878 under British protection. Area 9,256 square km (173 square miles), about 135,000 inhabitants of whom two thirds are Greeks and one third Turks, Armenians and Maronites. The island is traversed by two mountain chains stretching from east to west, of which one, which follows the northern coast, consists of limestone, while the other, which fills the southern part, is of volcanic origin. Cyprus' highest point is Oros Stavros or Monte Croce, the old Olympos, with 2012 m (6776 feet). The plan beween these mountain chains is watered by the Pedia (the old Pediaios), the largest river of Cyprus. The others are small and contain little water. The summer is very hot, the winter unusually cold. There are no spring and fall. In the winter it often rains for 4 or 5 weeks, causing the creeks and rivers to inundate the land. Between April and October it hardly rains at all. The land is fertile, the vegetation lush. On the mountain slopes forests of cedars, cypresses, pines, oak and other trees grow. In the plains grow olive and mulberry trees, wine, wheat, millet, maize etc. Under Turkish administration the by nature so beautiful island declined more and more. Only about one fifth of the arable land is under cultivation. The forests are cut down without a plan. Sericulture and beekeeping are neglected. Large swarms of locusts annually cause great devastation. All this disregarded, the island produces the following : wheat, grain, olives, pomegranades, madder, arnika, silk, cotton and wine. Salt is exported in quantity. Of other metals exist gold, silver, iron and copper. The latter is named after the island, the copper of which in Antiquity was famous. From 1870 to 1878 it formed a separate Turkish Eyalet, the capital of which was Levkosia (formerly Nicosia), on the Pedia. The most imporant port is Larnaca, on the island's southern coast.
.. on the occasion of the partition of the Roman Empire (395 A.D.) the island was allocated to the Eastern Roman Empire. Since, it was administrated by governors, which were selected from the House of Komnenos. One of these, Isak, made the island independent in 1182; he fell in 1191 in the fight against Richard the Lion-Hearted. In a few days the island was taken; Richard gave it to the expelled king of Jerusalem, Guido of Lusignan. In 1489 Cyprus was handed over to Venice, which ruled the island until 1571 when it was conquered by the Turks, after valiant defense by Marco Antonio Bragandino. From 1832 to 1840 the island belonged to Egypt. In the Convention of Constantinople of June 4th 1878 Turkey granted Britain the right o occupy the island, as long as Russia holds Batum, Ardahan and Kars. But the island continues to belong to the Ottoman Empire and shall pay an annual tribute into its treasury, the sum of which corresponds to the average suplus the island produced in the last five years Revenues minus expenses). The Porte maintains the right to maintain a court on the island responsible for matters of faith of the island's Muslim inhabitants, and to appoint a Turkish official who shall reside on he island, and who, together with a British official, shall administrate the the property of mosques, cemeteries and Muslim schools. he Turkish administration maintains the right to freely dispose over her property on the island. Britain has taken upon her to participate in Turkey's defense, if Russia were to acquire more of Asiatic Turkey, than was granted to it at the Berlin Congress (1878), and thet Britain in the case it were to early withdraw from the island, should not demand compensation for begun or completed public works and improvements. On July 11th 1878 the occupation of the island by Briish was proclaimed, widely acclaimed by the Greek population, and on the 12th of the same month the island was occupied by British and Indian troops under Admiral Hay. Sir Garnet Wolseley was appointed island governor. Cyprus was divided in five districts, Larnaca, Bapho, Chrysochus, Levkosia and Famagusta, which were administrated by a British Commissioner and a British judge.
See : R. Hamilton Lang, Cyprus, its history, present resources and future prospects (1878)

source in Swedish, posted by Project Runeberg

Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1885-1892, Article : Cypern
Cyprus (among the Greeks Kypros, Turkish Kibris), Turkish island in the Mediterranean, under British protectorate, located between 34 degrees 34 minutes and 35 degrees 43 minutes northern latitude in the northeastern corner of the aforementioned sea formed by the coasts of Syria and Cilicia, has roughly quadrangular shape, with a lengthy narrow peninsula stretching in northeasterly direction. The greatest length is 230 km, width 96 km, area 9601 square km (174.3 square miles). The most importanc promontories are : Cape Gatti (Kurias of old) in the south, Cape Greco (Pedalion), Cape St. Andrea (Dinareton) in the northeast, Cape Kormachiti (Krommyon) in the north, Cape Epiphanios (Akamas) in he northwest. The island's interior is traversed by two mountain chains stretching from east to west. The northern chain peaking in the Pentadactylon 756 m consists of limestone; of the Plutonic system the Troodos (Chionodes of old, 2010 m), to which the mountains Machäras (Aood 1440 m) and Stavrovuni (Olympos, 700 m) located further east, belong. Between both the Pidias (Pediaios), the most important river of Cyprus, flows; it feeds into the sea at the east coast. The other rivers largely dry out in the summer; in general, irrigation of the island is lacking.
The climate is hot in the summer, overly cold in the winter. In the spring (mid February until mid April) the entire island forms one large carpet of flowers. The east is warmer than the mountainous west. In the summer it never rains (under Emperor Constantine once it did not rain for 36 years, so that many inhabitants emigrated), in the winter often 30-40 days in a row so that the rivules inundate the land. The heat, namely on the coast, often causes fever. Agriculture is in a very poor condition. The island richly bestowed by nature in general is in a rather poor condition. The formerly rich forest have been expolited and devastated without a plan; only in the most recent times care for the planting of trees is invested. The soil has dried out, the capacity for cultivation has been compromised. More than half of the island is barren, only one fifth of it is under cultivation. In the farming districts, namely in the plain of the Pidias, irrigation of the soil is conducted with subterranean canals and with water wheels, but this could be done in a wider scope. The seed is sown at the end of September or early in January, i.e. before or after the winter rains dominating here. Harvest is done at the end of May. Wheat, barley, oats, lentals and sesame are preferedly planted, in the mountains the potato, in the plains the Colocasia; a little tobacco and cotton. Wine grows up to anm altitude of 1000 m and beyond, but is neglected; only c. 60 square km are covered by vineyards. Cypriot wine is famous since Antiquity. Unfortunately the British administration has maintained the pressing taxation on viticulture. The best grape is the Vino della Commanderia, so named because the stretch where it is produced once was a command of the Knights Templar. Cultivation of olive trees also is neglected, and because of the usage of imperfect presses a large part of the valuable oil is lost. Concerning is the increase of the locusts (Stauronotus) which can only be effectively fought with the plough. Similarly neglected are livestock keeping and sericulture as well as once so famous beekeeping, which still produces c. 800,000 kg honey and 200,000 kg wax annually. Of livestock only goats, sheep and hogs are kept. Population in 1881 186,173 (95,015 male, 91,158 female, about 3/4 Christians, 1/4 Muslims, by language 42,638 Turks, 140,793 Greeks, further a couple of 100 Arabs and Britons). Other main occupations of the islanders are limited to the production of carpets, cotton and silk wares, pottery and fine leather. Exports, except for wine, consist mainly of salt, heavy boots, raisins, carob beans, cotton; imports namely in textiles, sugar, tobacco, rice. The island's capital is Levkosia (once called Nicosia), seat of an archbishop, under which are the bishops of Bapho, Larnaca and Kerynia, the best port and trading place is Larnaca. Famagusta is located on the east coast, Bapho on the west coast, the Paphos of old. The island, divided in six districts, is administrated by a High Commissioner appointed by the Queen of Great Britain, whio simultaneously functions as commander-in-chief; he is supported by a legislative council of 4-8 members, one half of which consists of officers of the crown, the other half of respected citizens. In 1884-1885 the revenues were 172,063 Pound Sterling, the expenses 112,037 Pd. St., to which the tribute to Turkey of 92,746 Pound Sterling has o be counted, so that Britain had to cover a deficit of 32,720 Pound Sterling.
... One of his descendants, Jacob II., had married a Venetian, Caterina Cornaro; in 1489 she transferred her rights regarding Cyprus to the Republic of Venice, which held on to the island until it was conquered in the name of Sultan Selim II. in 1570, after overcoming the valiant resistance of Marco Antonio Bragandino, who defended Famagusta for 11 months.In the conquest, 20,000 Christians were cut down, 2000 enslaved,large treasures looted. In the conquest of Cyprus the Turks are said to have lost 50,000 men.Mehmed Ali in 1832 took control of the island and was formaly enfieffed with it in 1833, but already in 1840 the island fell back to the Porte. By agreement of June 4th 1878 Cyprus was ceded o Britain, but the Sultan maintained his sovereign rights as well as the budget surplus. Later Britain took on the obligation to pay a tribute of 92,746 Pound Sterling to the Porte. In 1882 Cyprus got a new constitution.
See : Engel, Kypros (Berlin 1841); Unger and Kotschy, Die Insel Cypern (Wien 1865); von Löher, Cypern, Reiseberichte (Stuttgart 1878); J. ^[correctly : S. W. f?r Samuel White] Baker, Cypern im Jahr 1879 (deutsch, Leipzig 1880); Cesnola, Cypern, seine alten Städte, Gräber und Tempel (deutsch, Jena 1879); Mas Latrie, Histoire de l'?le de Chypre sous le r?gne des princes de la maison de Lusignan (Paris 1851-61, 3 vols.); Derselbe, L'?le de Chypre, sa situation pr?sente, etc. (Paris 1878); von Löher, Cypern in der Geschichte (Berlin 1878); Holwerda, Die alten Kyprier in Kunst und Kultus (Leiden 1885). A detailed map of C., drawn by Kitchener and Grant, published in London 1885 (15 sheets in 1:63,360).

source in German, posted by Retro-Bibliothek

Nordisk Familje-Bok 1904-1926, Article : Cypern (1906)
Cyprus, Greek Kypros, Latin Cyprus, Turkish Kibris, English Cyprus, an island belonging to Asia in the eastern half of the Mediterranean, by size the third largest island in hat sea, located between 34 degrees 33 minutes and 35 degrees 41 minutes northern latitude and between 32 degrees 20 minutes and 35 degrees 41 minutes eastern longitude. Regarding the island's size there are conflicting data. A calculation made in Gotha at the end of the 1870es gives 9,601 square km, Strelbitsky (1882) gives 9,589 square km; according to official sources 9,282 square km, he latter figure being used in most geographic and statistical publications. The greatest length is 230 km, the greatest width 96 km. The coasts lack good ports, but provide wide bays, such as Morphou Bay on the northwest, and Famagusta Bay on the east coast. In the northeast a lengthy narrow peninsula extends into the sea ending in the islands northernmost and easternmost point, Cape Andreas. The westernmost point is Cape Arnauti, the southernmost Cape Gata. The island is traversed by two mountain ranges, one running parallel to the northern coast, and the other further south. The former, which has several peaks higher than 1000 m (the highest Kornos, 1019 m), are part of a mountain range chain which runs from southwestern Asia Minor, is interrupted by he Eastern Mediterranean Basin, after having traversed Cyprus from Cape Kormakiti to Cape Andreas, it is again interrupted by the Mediterranean, but then reappears in Alexandrette Bay in the Alma-Dag. It consists of chalk, Flüsch formations, gabbro and serpentin. The southern mountain range is the island's most important mountain system. It consists almost exclusively of eruptive masses .. and cntains he island's highest elecation, Troodos (1,952 m). In its wild steep valleys still mountain forests are found, but otherwise the island almos entirely lacks forests. The mountains, often called the Troodos chain, descend in the west and south steeply toward the sea, in the north toward Mesorea Plain, in which several table mountains rise, and which is crossed by the Pidias, flowing in easterly direction, the island's most important river and the only one which does not dry up in the summer. This plateau consists of late tertiary and quarternary desposits (sand, marl), as well as volcanic sediment, and hs the character of a steppe.
Climate : Nicosia on Mesorea Plain has an annual average temperature of 18.8 degrees Celsius, ranging between 27.7 degrees (Juli) and 9.4 degrees (January), while coastal places such as Larnaca have warmer temperatures in January (12 - 12.5 degrees). In Larnaca October is warmer than April and sometimes even May, September warmer than June. The rainy season is from November to February, annual precipitation in Larnaca 331 mm, of which 265 mm fall in the aforelisted months. In July and August there is no precipitation. The heat in the warmest part of the year is unbearable, and causes fever along the coast.
Vegetation and Cultuivation. Cyprus in ancient times has been rich in forest, but presently forest is only found in remote mountain regions (cedars, cypresses, pines and Mediterranean foliferous trees). Elsewhere the forest has been destroyed, especially during he Turkish era. The island's former wealth in cypresses is expressed in the fact that the island was named after them. But even cypress groves are rare today. A consequence of the elimination of the forest has been torched soil, which prevents agriculture on large areas, as artificial irrigation here is not an option. Another problem for agriculture is formed by swarms of locusts which annually cause severe damage. Thus agriculture is of a low level, as it has hardly developed since the island came in British possession. Seed is sown at the end of September or in February, i.e. either at the beginning, or just after the rainy season; harvested is at the end of May. Wine is cultivated up to an altitude of 1000 m; Cyprus' viticulture has been famous in antiquity, but now Cypriot wines are not highly regarded. In 1900 1.5 million litres were produced, of which half was exported. The best wine is "Vino della Commanderia" from Limassol. Of importance is also the cultivation of the carob bean tree; but the cultivation of olive trees, and sericulture, are neglected, as is beekeeping which used to flourish. The latter still produced 800,000 kg of honey and 200,000 kg of wax annually. The most common livestock are goats (1903 239,348) and sheep (1903 215,280) as well as hogs. Cattle are only used as beasts of burden, horses do not have the importance as donkeys and mules do. Camels are used in the plain. A wild sheep (ovis cypria) is found in large numbers in he least accessible forest-covered mountain stretches in the northwest (Tylleria).
Many metals are found, such as gold, zinc, lead, iron and copper, the latter of which has been named after the island, but mining has not been conducted on the island for long periods of time. In recent years an English company mined for copper and zinc, lead and gold. Salt production in salines on he coast is of great importance. The industry is limited to distilleries (1899 10,960 hl) and some production of mats, cotton and and silk wares, earthenware and fine leather. At the coast, sponge fishing is done (but not by inhabitants of the island), the total value of which in 1904 made 1300 Pound Sterling.
The Export consists of grain, wine, salt, carob beans, cotton, raisins, raw silk, cheese, skins, sponges and live animals, and in 1904 rose to 466,130 Pound Sterling; the import consisted of textile products, sugar, tobacco, rice, flour, tree products, and in the ame year had a value of 388,905 Pound Stirling. Trade was largest with Britain, followed by Egypt, Turkey and France. The tonnage of entering and departing vessels in 1904 was 758,530. The most important seaport is Larnaca. The length of the telegraph network in 1904 was 386 km; a railroad connecting Nicosia with Famagusta was completed in 1905. In the financial year 1904-1905 the state revenue was 218,854 Pound Sterling; expenses were 154,406 Pound Sterling, except for the annual tribute to Turkey, which amounts to 92,800 Pound Sterling. Until 1898 the island had no debt, but in 1899 the British government approved a loan of 314,000 Pound Sterling, for irrigation (60,000), for the construction of ports and roads etc.
British, Turkish and French gold coins are in circulation, further British silver coins and local bronze coins of 1, 1/2 ad 1/4 Piaster. 9 Piaster roughly equal 1 British Shilling. In 1874 the metric system was introduced, but traditional weights and measurements are also used.
The Population in 1891 numbered 209,286, in 1901 237,022 (military personnel not counted), showing an increase of 13.25 % and a population density of 25 inhabitants per square km. Of the population of 1901, 51,309 were Muslims, 182,739 were Greeks, 2,974 were others (Armenians, Maronites, Jews and others). The Greeks have one archbishop in Nicosia and three bishops in Larnaca, Ktima (Paphos) and Kerynia (Myrtu). The Cypriot Orthodox Church is independent of the Greek Orthodox patriarch in Constantinople and forms a separate church. Except for 1 gymnasium, 4 high schools for Greek Christians and one high school for Muslims, all schools are elementary ones, namely (1904) 281 for Greek Christians (with 17,706 children) and 122 Muslim (4552 children), 3 Armenian schools and 2 Maronite ones. All of them receive state support (4484 Pound Sterling) and are under state supervision. Further there are 26 Christian and 30 Muslim schools, maintained by donations or communal support. On the island 8 weekly newspapers are issued in Greek, one in Turkish.
Administration According to the treaty between Great Britain and Turkey of June 4th 1878, Cyprus is administrated by the former power, which on the island is represented by a high commissioner with the authority of a colonial governor. He is supported by an executive council of 3 members and a legislative council of 18 members, of whom 6 are appointed by the crown from among the British officials, the remaining 12 are elected for a term of 5 years, 3 by the island's Muslims, 9 by the other inhabitants of the island. The right to vote have all Turkish and British subjects, as well as foreigners who live in he island for at least 5 years and who are over 21 years old. Except for the tribute to Turkey, the salary and housekeeping money of the high commissioner, the salary of he six official members of the legislative council , the salary of the judges and the money necessary to run the courts, the legislative council decides over the budget. Administratively the island is divided in 6 districts, named after their capitals : Nicosia, Larnaca, Famagusta, Limassol, Paphos and Kerynia. Since 1883 there is a supreme court with two British judges, which is the court of appeal in civil and penal cases. There are 6 courts with unrestricted authority in penal law, 6 district courts with unrestricted in civil, and with restricted authority in penal law, 6 police courts and 10 assistantl courts for dealing with minor cases. In all of them indigenous judgs (Christian and Muslim) participate. The capital is Nicosia.
History ... Finally Turkey handed over the island's administration to Britain on the Berlin Congress 1878 by the aforementioned treaty of June 4th with the condition to be paid an annual tribute of 92,800 Pound Sterling. Hopes for the flourishing of this richly endowed land have, as before described, not always materialized, which mainly has to be atributed to Britain's unwillingness to invest in a country which is not theirs. But the British administration did not do so little, and without doubt the island has made progress, even if slower than expected. A new constitution, the one presently in force, was adopted in 1882; significant construction was undertaken in the ports, water supply regulated, measures against the locust plague taken, schools opened, the legal system newly organized. But the British have not succeeded in gaining the sympathies of the Cypriots.
See : Palma di Cesnola, Cypern, seine Städte, Gräber und Tempel (German trsl. 1879), Baker, Cypern im Jahre 1879 (German trsl. 1880), Herquest, Cyprische Königsgestalten des Hauses Lusignan (1881), Oberhummer, Die Insel Cypern (1903), Hutchinson and Cobham, A Handbook of Cyprus (1905).

source in Swedish, posted by Project Runeberg





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