Fast Facts

Nicosia; 233,000
9,251 square kilometers (3,572 square miles)
Greek, Turkish, English
Greek Orthodox, Muslim
Life Expectancy:
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $9,700
Literacy Percent:
Flag: Cyprus
Map: Cyprus

The island of Cyprus, in the eastern Mediterranean, was divided in 1974 when Turkish troops invaded to stop Greek military plans for enosis (union) with Greece. Tensions between the Greek Cypriot majority and the Turkish Cypriot minority had been high since independence from Britain in 1960. Fighting in 1974 displaced more than a third of the population as some 180,000 Greek Cypriots fled south and 45,000 Turkish Cypriots went to the northern Turkish-occupied area (37 percent of the island). The UN patrols the dividing line and works to settle ethnic enmities. However, it failed to reunify the island before May 2004—when Cyprus joined the European Union. The northern area, known as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, is not recognized by the UN, so only the southern Republic of Cyprus could join the EU.


  • Industry: Tourism, food and beverage processing, cement and gypsum production, ship repair
  • Agriculture: Citrus, vegetables, barley, grapes, olives, poultry, dairy
  • Exports: Citrus, potatoes, pharmaceuticals, cement, clothing

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Ninth Edition

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