Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Cyprus

Cyprus, in the east of the Mediterranean, and the third in size of the islands of that sea. It is 1,000 miles E. of Malta, and almost equidistant from Asia Minor on the N. and Syria on the E., being 40 miles from Cilicia and 60 miles from Latakieh, and is in the latitude of Crete. The length from Cape Drepano on the W. to Cape St. Andrea in the N.E. is 145 miles, and from Cape Gata in the S. to Cape Kormatiki in the N. 60. The average width is from 35 to 60 miles, but for 45 miles to Cape Andrea it has a tongue of land 10 miles wide. The island contains 3,707 square miles. There are two mountain ranges - one in the south, having the general name of Olympus, of which the highest peak is Mount Trodos, 6,590 feet in height, sends off spurs in various directions. The Olympus of the ancients was probably a not very lofty but conspicuous height now called Oros Stavro, 12 miles from Larnaca. The second range is a northern range along the coast from Cape Kormatiki to Cape St. Andrea, 100 miles in length, with an average height of 2,500 feet. The middle district of Messaria is a broad plain of 60 miles long by 10 to 20 broad, watered by two streams from the south, one flowing to the Bay of Famagosta and the other to the Bay of Morphu. Owing to the disappearance of the ancient forests which provided timber for the Roman fleets, the rivers run dry, water is scarce, and much of the land is barren, though corn is produced in places. In olden time Cyprus produced much copper, to which indeed it gave its name in Latin, as well as silver, and Pliny speaks of its producing precious stones. There are still salt-works, but the mineralogy and geology of the island have not yet been fully explored. Of harbours there are none of importance, Larnaca and Limasol, the chief ones, being only roadsteads. The chief towns are Nikosia, the capital, Famagosta (anciently Salamis), the chief town under the Venetian rule, and well defended against the Turks in 1571, Larnaca, on the southeast coast, the chief place of trade and the most rising town of the island; Limasol on the south coast, and Paphos (which has a bishop). The history of Cyprus has been eventful. At first it was a Phoenician possession and the seat of the worship of Astarte, and then it became the seat of the worship of Aphrodite, with Paphos as its headquarters under Greek rule. It was then successively Egyptian, Macedonian, Persian, and Roman, and was a great stronghold of early Christianity. Later it fell under Saracen sway, and then Richard I. gave it to Guy de Lusignan. It then became Venetian, and then Turkish, and in 1878 was taken over by England to be administered for the Porte until Russia should retire from Kars and Batoum, till then held by Turkey. England in return pays the Porte 92,000 a year, a sum which exceeds the surplus revenue of Cyprus, which has to be supplemented by a parliamentary grant. The chief productions of the island are wheat, cotton, barley, flax, silk, tobacco, madder, wool, oranges, pomegranates, sponges, and wine. England has not done much yet in the way of planting forests and making roads. The climate is fairly good, and much of the illness from which our soldiers suffered in the early part of the occupation may be attributed to an injudicious choice of site for camping.