“Turkish” invasion of Cyprus

MCF_meet_Ottomans_(2)_A4_poster_72Last night we attended an enlightening talk by Hans Doeleman at Chateau Lambousa. We were told how in the summer of 1570, the Ottoman Turks launched a full-scale invasion of Cyprus, with about 60,000 troops, including cavalry and artillery, under the command of Lala Mustafa Pasha.  They landed unopposed near Limassol on July 2, 1570, and laid siege to Nicosia until the city fell on September 9, 1570 when 20 000 Nicosians were put to death and the city was ransacked. Word of this spread and a few days later Kyrenia fell without  a shot being fired. Famagusta, however, resisted and put up a heroic defense lasting from September 1570 until August 1571.

The fall of Famagusta marked the beginning of the Ottoman period in Cyprus and despite the Turkish fleet being later defeated at the Battle of Lepanto this victory over the Turks came too late to help Cyprus, and the island remained under Ottoman rule for the next three centuries.

After 1571, there was a gradual introduction of a Turkish ethnic element who became know as Turkish Cypriots. The Greek Cypriots trace their origins to the descendants of the Achaean Greeks and later the Mycenaean Greeks who settled on the island during the second half of the second millennium BC. Like all countries with ethnic mixes there is always an opportunity to use race as a means of gaining power over a minority and Cyprus is no exception.

In the summer of 1570, the Turks struck again, but this time with a full-scale invasion rather than a raid. About 60,000 troops, including cavalry and artillery, under the command of Lala Mustafa Pasha landed unopposed near Limassol on July 2, 1570, and laid siege to Nicosia. In an orgy of victory on the day that the city fell–September 9, 1570–20,000 Nicosians Greeks were put to death, and every church, public building, and palace was looted. Word of the massacre spread, and a few days later Mustafa took Kyrenia without having to fire a shot. Famagusta, however, resisted and put up a heroic defense that lasted from September 1570 until August 1571.

The fall of Famagusta marked the beginning of the Ottoman period in Cyprus. Two months later, the naval forces of the Holy League, composed mainly of Venetian, Spanish, and Papal ships under the command of Don John of Austria, defeated the Turkish fleet at the Battle of Lepanto in one of the decisive battles of world history. The victory over the Turks, however, came too late to help Cyprus, and the island remained under Ottoman rule for the next three centuries.

In 1570, the Turks first occupied Cyprus, and Lala Mustafa Pasha became the first Turkish Governor of Cyprus, challenging the claims of Venice. Simultaneously, the Pope formed a coalition between the Papal States, Malta, Spain, Venice and several other Italian states, with no real result. In 1573 the Venetians left, removing the influence of the Roman Catholic Church.

[edit] Social History

The Ottoman occupation brought about two radical results in the history of the island. Since the Phoenicians in the 9th century BC, a new ethnic element appeared, the Turks. The population of Cyprus, Greeks had now a new ruler the Ottoman

In the summer of 1570, the Turks struck again, but this time with a full-scale invasion rather than a raid. About 60,000 troops, including cavalry and artillery, under the command of Lala Mustafa Pasha landed unopposed near Limassol on July 2, 1570, and laid siege to Nicosia. In an orgy of victory on the day that the city fell–September 9, 1570–20,000 Nicosians Greeks were put to death, and every church, public building, and palace was looted. Word of the massacre spread, and a few days later Mustafa took Kyrenia without having to fire a shot. Famagusta, however, resisted and put up a heroic defense that lasted from September 1570 until August 1571.

The fall of Famagusta marked the beginning of the Ottoman period in Cyprus. Two months later, the naval forces of the Holy League, composed mainly of Venetian, Spanish, and Papal ships under the command of Don John of Austria, defeated the Turkish fleet at the Battle of Lepanto in one of the decisive battles of world history. The victory over the Turks, however, came too late to help Cyprus, and the island remained under Ottoman rule for the next three centuries.

In 1570, the Turks first occupied Cyprus, and Lala Mustafa Pasha became the first Turkish Governor of Cyprus, challenging the claims of Venice. Simultaneously, the Pope formed a coalition between the Papal States, Malta, Spain, Venice and several other Italian states, with no real result. In 1573 the Venetians left, removing the influence of the Roman Catholic Church.

[edit] Social History

The Ottoman occupation brought about two radical results in the history of the island. Since the Phoenicians in the 9th century BC, a new ethnic element appeared, the Turks. The population of Cyprus, Greeks had now a new ruler the Ottomans.

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