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Flag : Cyprus
 

 
Fact file : Cyprus
 
Area9,251 sq km
CapitalNicosia
Population771,657
LanguageGreek, Turkish, English
CurrencyCyprus pound

 

Cyprus

Cyprus is a small island country, smaller than Tripura. It achieved independence from Britain in 1960 but went through a turbulent period thereafter. In 1964, peace-keeping forces, among them Indian soldiers, were sent to the island by the United Nations. The forces were commanded by General Thimayya who proved to be so popular that Cyprus issued a special stamp in his honour in 1965. People of Greek origin make up 78 per cent of the population of about 8 lakh; Turks make up 18 per cent. Most of the Greeks favour unification with Greece. When this seemed about to happen in 1974, Turkey invaded and occupied the northern two-fifths of the country.
Turkish Cypriots are now concentrated in this sector. In 1983 they declared their part of Cyprus independent, calling it the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus but except for Turkey, no other country has recognised the new state.
The rest of Cyprus continues to be an independent nation with its capital at Nicosia.
Cyprus was famous for its copper in ancient times. The Romans who got much of their copper from the island, called the metal Cyprium aes, 'metal of Cyprus'. Cyprium became corrupted to cuprum which in turn gave us the English name for the metal, copper.
Cyprus no longer produces copper but its link with the metal is shown in its flag which displays a copper-coloured map of the country.

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