1878-1914 1918-1939

Cyprus 1914-1918

Status and Administration . In 1878 Britain had leased Cyprus from the Ottoman Government under the understanding that Britain would continue to protect the Ottoman Empire against Russian expansion, and that Britain would return Cyprus to the Ottoman government in case Russia would return Kars.

The Status of Cyprus during WW I . In 1914 Britain found herself at war with the Ottoman Empire, and in alliance with the very Russian Empire against which it had undertaken the obligation to protect the Ottoman Empire, back in 1878. On November 5th 1914, just days after the Ottoman Empire had entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers, the British government unilaterally annexed Cyprus.
The Entente Powers were very interested in seeing Greece enter the war on their side, as they needed the port of Salonica in order to supply Serbia. In order to lure the Greek government into declaring war on the Central Powers, the British government secretly, on October 16th 1915, offered the unification of Cyprus with Greece in case the Greek government complied. The Greek government denied, and the offer later was retracted (Oct. 27th 1915).

Economy . As the British Navy commanded the Mediterranean, Cyprus was not threatened throughout the war. It served as a logistical station for British and Entente campaigns (Gallipoli, the Salonica front, the Gaza front).
In 1916, the export of wheat and barley was prohbited, that of corn and oatmeal to anywhere except Britain prohibited (NIYb 1916).

Demography . The census of 1911 counted 274,108 inhabitants, the census of 1921 310,700 (Lahmeyer). From 1915 onward, Cyprus experienced the arrival of ethnic Armenian refugees fleeing the pogroms in the Ottoman Empire.

Article Modern History of Cyprus, Cyprus Mines Corporation, Armenians in Cyprus, from Wikipedia
The British Period, from History of Cyprus
Stavros T. Stavridis, Dodecanese and Cyprus 1912-1946
DOCUMENTS Cyprus, from World Statesmen
Cyprus, from Population Statistics (data since 1822)
Diary of Private Joseph MacLean (1914-1915), from The Manchester Regiment 1899-1956
REFERENCE Article : Cyprus, in : Statesman's Year Book 1918 pp.105-108 [G]
Article : Cyprus, in : New International Year Book 1914 pp.193-194, 1916 p.175, 1918 p.163 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on April 28th 2002, last revised on September 15th 2008

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