1821-1840 1878-1914

Cyprus 1840-1878

After 19 years of Egyptian rule (1822-1840), Cyprus again returned under Ottoman administration. From 1840 to 1861 it was part of the Elayet of the Kapudan Pasha (or the Elayet of the White Sea Islands (Djeza'ir-i Bahr-i Sefid), from 1861 to 1878 it was directly administrated from Istanbul.
The main importance of the island, from Ottoman perspective, lay in the tax revenue the island produced; the island economy was largely based on its agricultural production.
The Ottoman Empire survived the Egyptian threat in 1833 only because of British support, and regained control of Syria in 1840 with British support. Islands distant from the coast, such as Cyprus, were indefensible by the Ottoman navy; if threatened by a third party, the British navy would protect them, if threatened by the British, the outcome would be a foregone conclusion. Ottoman authorities offered to turn Cyprus over to the British in 1841 and in 1845, the British declining the offer on both occasions; Cyprus seemed not worth the investment.
The geopolitical situation of Cyprus changed with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. When Britain again came to the rescue of the Ottoman Empire in 1878 (after the Russo-Ottoman War of 1877-1878), Britain accepted to take over the administration of Cyprus, taking on the obligation of paying an annual tribute of 92,799 Pound Sterling.
The population figures for Cyprus are estimated at 84,000 in 1822 and at 186,100 in 1881. The transition from Ottoman to Egyptian, from Egyptian to Ottoman and finally from Ottoman to British rule had been peaceful, and the figures (Cyprus would experience roughly the same growth rate during the first 60 years of British rule) suggest a sustained growth of both the Cypriot economy and population during both the Egyptian and the later Ottoman period.
The small Catholic community on Cyprus in 1847 was placed under Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem (hitherto under the Apostolic Vicariate of Aleppo).

Chronology of Catholic Dioceses : Cyprus, from Kirken i Norge
Library of Congress, Country Studies : Cyprus, Chapter Ottoman Rule
Ottoman Period, from CypNet, site pro TRNC
DOCUMENTS Cyprus, from World Statesmen
Cyprus : Historical Demographic Data of the Whole Country, from Population Statistics at Univ. Utrecht

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on October 24th 2006

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