British Cyprus

British Cyprus was the island of Cyprus under the dominion of the British Empire, administered sequentially from 1878 to 1914 as a British protectorate, a unilaterally annexed military occupation from 1914 to 1922 and from 1922 to 1960 as a Crown colony.

Crown Colony of Cyprus
Cyprus in the 1930s, with Cyprus in dark green and the United Kingdom in dark grey
StatusBritish Protectorate (1878–1914)
British military occupation (1914–1922)
British Crown Colony (1922–1960)
Common languagesEnglish (official) Greek, Turkish
GovernmentCrown colony
Victoria first Protector
George V first Sovereign
Elizabeth II last Sovereign
High Commissioner/Governor 
Sir Garnet Wolseley, first High Commissioner
Sir Malcolm Stevenson, first Governor
Sir Hugh Foot, last Governor
4 June 1878
16 August 1960
19249,272 km2 (3,580 sq mi)
ISO 3166 codeCY
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Ottoman Cyprus
Akrotiri and Dhekelia
Today part of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (UK)
 Northern Cyprus (unrecognised)
Source for 1924 area and population: [2]



Cyprus was a territory of the Ottoman Empire, lastly as part of the Vilayet of the Archipelago, since it was conquered from the Republic of Venice in 1570-71.

A British protectorate under nominal Ottoman suzerainty was established over Cyprus by the Cyprus Convention of 4 June 1878, following the Russo-Turkish War, in which the British occupied the island as a consequence of the Ottoman Empire's actions throughout the duration of the war. Cyprus was then proclaimed a British protectorate and was informally integrated into the British Empire. This remained in place until 5 November 1914, when after the Ottomans joined the Central Powers, in turn entering World War I, Britain declared the complete annexation of Cyprus into the British Empire, albeit under a military administration status. The Crown Colony of Cyprus was proclaimed a decade later, in 1925, after Britain's annexation of Cyprus was verified twice, firstly in the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920, then confirmed again in the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.[3]

Proposed union with Greece

King Paul of Greece declared that Cyprus desired union with Greece in 1948. A referendum was presented by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus in 1950, according to which around 97% of the Greek Cypriot population wanted the union. The Greek petition and enosis became an international issue when it was accepted by the United Nations.

Cyprus Emergency

The Cyprus Emergency was a military action that took place in Cyprus from 1955 to 1959. The Cyprus Emergency primarily consisted of a campaign by the Greek Cypriot military group EOKA to remove the British from Cyprus so it could be unified with Greece.


Signed on 19 February 1959, the London and Zurich Agreements started the process for the constitution of an independent Cyprus. The United Kingdom granted independence to Cyprus on 16 August 1960 and formed the Republic of Cyprus. Archbishop Makarios III, a charismatic religious and political leader, was elected as the first president of independent Cyprus. As part of the independence agreement, the United Kingdom retained possession of the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia as a British Overseas Territory.

In 1961 the Republic of Cyprus became the 99th member of the United Nations.

See also


  1. "Cyprus Population". Worldometers. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  2. "The British Empire in 1924". The British Empire. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  3. Xypolia, Ilia (2017). British Imperialism and Turkish Nationalism in Cyprus, 1923-1939 Divide, Define and Rule. London: Routledge. ISBN 9781138221291.
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