|659,115 in Cyprus and up to 500,000 abroad (2011 census)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Cyprus||659,115 (2011 census)|
|Other||Australia, South Africa, Canada, Greece, United States|
|Modern Greek (Cypriot and Standard)|
|Christianity (Greek Orthodox)|
Greek Cypriots (Greek: Ελληνοκύπριοι, Turkish: Kıbrıs Rumları or Kıbrıs Yunanları) are the ethnic Greek population of Cyprus, forming the island's largest ethnolinguistic community. According to the 2011 census, 659,115 citizens in Cyprus (excluding citizens in the Turkish-occupied north, which is unrecognised by all countries except Turkey) recorded their ethnicity as Greek Cypriot, forming 78% of the population in the internationally recognised territories.
The majority of Greek Cypriots are members of the Church of Cyprus, an autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church within the wider communion of Orthodox Christianity. In regard to the 1960 Constitution of Cyprus, the term also includes Maronites, Armenians, and Latin Rite Catholics, who were given the option of being included in either the Greek or Turkish communities and voted to join the former.
Prehistory and antiquity
Cyprus was part of the Mycenaean civilization with local production of Mycenaean vases dating to the Late Helladic III (1400–1050 BC). The quantity of this pottery concludes that there were numerous Mycenaean settlers, if not settlements, on the island. Archaeological evidence shows that Greek settlement began unsystematically in c. 1400 BC, then steadied (possibly due to Dorian invaders on the mainland) with definite settlements established in c. 1200 BC. The close connection between the Arcadian dialect and those of Pamphylia and Cyprus indicates that the migration came from Achaea. The Achaean tribe may have been an original population of the Peloponnese, Pamphylia, and Cyprus, living in the latter prior to the Dorian invasion, and not a subsequent immigrant group; the Doric elements in Arcadian are lacking in Cypriot. Achaeans settled among the old population, and founded Salamis. The epic Cypria, dating to the 7th century BC, may have originated in Cyprus.
The Byzantine era profoundly molded Greek Cypriot culture. The Greek Orthodox Christian legacy bestowed on Greek Cypriots in this period would live on during the succeeding centuries of foreign domination. Because Cyprus was never the final goal of any external ambition, but simply fell under the domination of whichever power was dominant in the eastern Mediterranean, destroying its civilization was never a military objective or necessity.
The Cypriots did however endure the oppressive rule of first the Lusignans and then the Venetians from the 1190s through to 1570. King Amaury, who succeeded his brother Guy de Lusignan in 1194, was particularly intolerant of the Orthodox Church. Greek Cypriot land was appropriated for the Latin churches after they were established in the major towns on the island. In addition, tax collection was also part of the heavy oppressive attitude of the occupiers to the locals of the island, in that it was now being conducted by the Latin churches themselves.
Early modern period
The Ottoman conquest of Cyprus in 1571 delivered the Greek population from serfdom and servitude to the Latin church. Cypriot Greeks were now able to take control of the land they had been working on for centuries. The local Christians resumed practicing their religion in the only acceptable way they knew. The patriarch serving the Ottoman sultan also acted as ethnarch, or leader of the Greek nation, thus enabling the local Orthodox representative to practice decidedly secular powers, for instance in adjudicating justice and in the collection of taxes.
Despite the inherent oppression of foreign subjugation, the period of Ottoman rule (1570-1878) had a limited impact on Greek Cypriot culture. The Ottomans tended to administer their multicultural empire with the help of their subject millets, or religious communities. The tolerance of the millet system permitted the Greek Cypriot community to survive, administered on behalf of Constantinople by the Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus, who became the community's head, or ethnarch. Although religiously tolerant, Ottoman rule was generally harsh and inefficient. Turkish settlers suffered alongside their Greek Cypriot neighbors, and the two groups together endured centuries of oppressive governance from Constantinople. A minority of Greek Cypriots converted to Islam during this period, and are sometimes referred to as "neo-Muslims" by historians.
Politically, the concept of enosis — unification with the Greek "motherland" — became important to literate Greek Cypriots after Greece declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821. A movement for the realization of enosis gradually formed, in which the Church of Cyprus played a dominant role during the Cyprus dispute.
Nobody could be found to eliminate it,
Nobody, for it is protected from above by my God,
Hellenism will be lost, only when the world is gone."
Archbishop Kyprianos' fictional response to Kucuk Mehmet's threat to execute the Greek Orthodox Christian bishops of Cyprus, in Vasilis Michaelides epic poem "The 9th of July of 1821 in Nicosia, Cyprus", written in 1884-1895. The poem is considered a key literary expression of Greek Cypriot Enosis sentiment.
During British rule (1878–1960), the British brought an efficient colonial administration, but government and education were administered along ethnic lines, accentuating differences. For example, the education system was organized with two Boards of Education, one Greek and one Turkish, controlled by Athens and Istanbul, respectively. The resulting education emphasized linguistic, religious, cultural, and ethnic differences and ignored traditional ties between the two Cypriot communities. The two groups were encouraged to view themselves as extensions of their respective motherlands, and the development of two distinct nationalities with antagonistic loyalties was ensured.
The importance of religion within the Greek Cypriot community was reinforced when the Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus, Makarios III, was elected the first president of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960. For the next decade and a half, enosis was a key issue for Greek Cypriots, and a key cause of events leading up to 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied the northern part of the island. The island remains divided today, with the two communities almost completely separated. Many Greek Cypriots, most of whom lost their homes, lands and possessions during the Turkish invasion, emigrated mainly to the UK, USA, Australia, South Africa and Europe. There are today estimated to be 335,000 Greek Cypriot emigrants living in Great Britain. The majority of the Greek Cypriots in Great Britain currently live in England; there is an estimate of around 3,000 in Wales and 1,000 in Scotland. By the early 1990s, Greek Cypriot society enjoyed a high standard of living. Economic modernization created a more flexible and open society and caused Greek Cypriots to share the concerns and hopes of other secularized West European societies. The Republic of Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004, officially representing the entire island, but suspended for the time being in the Turkish occupied north.
Greeks in Cyprus number 659,115, according to the 2011 Cypriot census. There is a notable community of Cypriots and people of Cypriot descent in Greece. In Athens, the Greek Cypriot community numbers ca. 55,000 people. There is also a large Greek Cypriot diaspora, particularly in the United Kingdom.
Cypriot cuisine, as with other Greek cuisine, was imprinted with the spices and herbs made common as a result of extensive trade links within the Ottoman Empire. Names of many dishes came to reflect the sources of the ingredients from the many lands under the Ottoman rule. Coffee houses pervasively spread throughout the island into all major towns and countless villages.
Greek Cypriots are generally educated in Standard Modern Greek, though they tend to speak it with an accent and preserve some Cypriot Greek grammar.
- Acesas, Salaminian weaver
- Antiochus Gelotopoios, admiral in the fleet of Alexander the Great
- Apollodorus, Kitian physician
- Apollonios of Kition, 1st century BCE physician of the Empiric school
- Clearchus of Soli, 4th–3rd century BCE Peripatetic philosopher
- Demonax, 2nd CE Cynic philosopher
- Evagoras I, king of Salamis 411–374 BCE
- Evagoras II, king of Salamis 361–351 BCE
- Nicocles, king of Paphos
- Nicocles, king of Salamis 374/3–361 BC
- Nikokreon, king of Salamis
- Onesilus, king of Salamis 499–497 BC
- Paeon of Amathus, Hellenistic historian
- Persaeus, 3rd century BCE Stoic philosopher, student of Zeno
- Pnytagoras, king of Salamis
- Stasanor, 4th century BCE general of Alexander the Great
- Stasinos, poet, author of the epic poem Cypria
- Synnesis of Cyprus, 4th century BCE physician
- Zeno of Citium, 3rd century BCE philosopher, founder of the Stoic school of philosophy
- Zeno of Cyprus, 4th century CE physician
- Epiphanius of Salamis, 4th century Bishop of Salamis
- Saint Spyridon, 4th century Bishop of Trimythous
- Saint Tychon, 4th century Bishop of Amathus
- Theodora, 6th century empress of the Eastern Roman Empire
- John the Merciful, 7th century Amathusian Patriatch of Alexandria
- Neophytos of Cyprus, 13th century monk
- Leontios Machairas, 15th century historian
- Georgios Boustronios, 15th century historian
- Ioannis Kigalas, 17th century scholar and professor
- Cat Stevens, Greek Cypriot father
- Alkinoos Ioannidis, musician, born in Nicosia
- Anna Vissi, singer, born in Larnaca
- Aristos Petrou, Cypriot-American rapper
- Christopher A. Pissarides, British economist, Nobel laureate, born in Nicosia
- Demetri Catrakilis, South African rugby union player
- George Michael, English singer-songwriter, Greek Cypriot father
- George Eugeniou, founder and Artistic Director of Art Theatre, London
- Georgios Grivas, military officer
- Grigoris Afxentiou, guerrilla fighter
- Kyriakos Charalambides
- Lambros Lambrou (footballer)
- Lambros Lambrou (skier)
- Makarios III, first President of Cyprus
- Marcos Baghdatis, tennis player
- Michael Cacoyannis, cinema director
- Michael Christos Kashalos
- Michalis Hatzigiannis, singer
- Michael Mili
- Mihalis Violaris, singer
- Nico Yennaris
- Andreas G. Orphanides, Professor, Rector
- Paul Stassino
- Sotiris Moustakas, actor
- Stelios Haji-Ioannou, entrepreneur
- Stel Pavlou, English writer, Greek Cypriot father
- Theo Paphitis
- Costas Liassides, British Cypriot entrepreneur
- Tio Ellinas
- Tonia Buxton
- Vasilis Michaelides, poet
- Vassilis Hatzipanagis, football player
- Andros Townsend's mother
- Roys Poyiadjis
- Grigoris Kastanos
- Demis Hassabis, artificial intelligence researcher, Greek Cypriot father
- Greek Cypriot diaspora
- Turkish Cypriots
- Greek Britons
- List of Cypriots
- Cappadocian Greeks
- Greeks in New Zealand
- Papadakis, Yiannis (2011), "Cypriots, Greek", in Cole, Jeffrey E. (ed.), Ethnic Groups of Europe: An Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, p. 92, ISBN 1-59884-302-8,
The population of Greek Cypriots currently living in Cyprus is around 650,000. In addition, it is estimated that up to 500,000 Greek Cypriots live outside Cyprus, the major concentrations being in the United Kingdom (270,000), Australia, South Africa, Greece, and the United States.
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