Cyprus (Gr. Kripros, Turk. G'br's, Fr. Chypre, Ital. Cipro), a Mediterranean island, 60 miles W. of Syria, and 40 S. of Asia Minor, nominally belonging to Turkey, but actually occupied and administered by Britain. Its extreme length is 140 miles, of which 40 consist of the Carpas peninsula; the extreme breadth is 60 miles; and the area is 3707 sq. m., or a little larger than Norfolk and Suffolk together. The northern of two principal ranges of mountains extends from Cape St Andreas, at the extreme east, almost as far as Cape Kormakiti. Its highest mountains (including St Hilarion, 3340 feet) are north of Nicosia. South of this range is the great Messaorian plain, once famous for its cereals. The western range occupies great part of the western and southwestern districts; its highest mountain is Mount Troodos (6352 feet), one of whose peaks bears the classic name of Olympus. Larnaca and Limassol, the chief seaports, are open, shallow roadsteads. The rivers only flow after heavy rain or the melting of the snow in the hills. The towns are Nicosia (the capital), Larnaca, Limassol, Famagusta, Papho, and Kyrenia. Pop. (1901) 237,022, of whom 51,500 were Mohammedan and Turkish-speaking, the rest mostly professing the Orthodox or Greek religion, and speaking Greek. Cyprus produces wheat, barley, carobs or locust beans, cotton, silk, flax, tobacco, madder, wool, gypsum, oranges, pomegranates, sponges, gum-mastic, and immense quantities of wine.
Cyprus was once celebrated for its copper-mines, which were worked by the Phoenicians and Romans; indeed the word ' copper' is derived from the name of the island. A little is still mined. Gypsum or plaster of Paris is manufactured and exported. Salt is produced by evaporation. The climate of Cyprus has been unduly vilified. Though some parts are malarious, for people who live regular lives and take reasonable precautions, the climate is not only healthy but pleasant. The people are healthy and well grown; the men, as a rule, handsome, the women rarely so. Among wild animals the moufflon or Cyprus sheep is becoming very scarce. Mules of peculiar excellence are bred. The forests (for which Cyprus was once famous) have well-nigh disappeared, and the climate and fertility of the country have greatly suffered in consequence; flocks of goats prevent any natural growth of trees on the mountains. Locusts, a greater scourge, are now almost exterminated. - Successively held by Phoenicians, Egyptians, Persians, and Egyptians again, till in 58 B.C. it became a Roman province, Cyprus at the division of the empire naturally belonged to the eastern half. Richard I. in 1195 gave it to Guy de Lusignan; in 1487 it fell to Venice; and in 1570 it was conquered by the Turks. Since 1878 it has been occupied by Britain, and in 1882 had a constitution granted it. Britain agreed to pay the Sultan a sum ultimately fixed at £87,800 (as excess of revenue), and £5000 for state lands, besides a large quantity of salt; but these sums are not actually paid over, but are retained as part payment for losses in connection with the Turkish guaranteed loan. See works by Cesnola (1877), A. H. Lang (1878), Hepworth Dixon (1879), Sir S. Baker (1879), Mallock (1889), Fyler (1899), and Hackett (1901).