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Mediterranean Sea

Map: Mediterranean Sea

The Mediterranean Sea provides a very simple means of transporting materials from the lands bordering the Mediterranean to Northen Europe. The two soverieng military bases on the island of Cyprus are the only sites where the British government has control over.

Guarded by the US Sixth Fleet for its geopolitical and geo-economic significance, the most militarised sea in the world is witness to 20% of the world's traffic in leisure cruises and receives 30% of the world's international tourists. In this sea of contrasts, the route from the Bosphorous to Gibraltar stands as a veritable economic rift, a line between the greatest regional wealth differences in the world, and the scenario for tragic migration passages to Europe from the lands of the most dispossessed. As in other moments of its long history, at the turn of the new millenium the Mediterranean continues to be a mobile space, a space in transition that plays a growing strategic role in the gravitational movements of globalisation from East to West, from South to North and viceversa.

Mediterranean Mobilities (external link)

Water Routes, Coastal Usage & the Aegean Shelf

Transport Map detail In this International Court case brought by Greece against Turkey, the issue of water usage rights in the Aegean region is disputed.

Read court proceedings (pdf) ›

View a map of sea and road routes within and around Cyprus ›

View a map of trade ›

Suez Canal

Hopes for self-determination being granted to other countries in the post-war period were shattered by British who considered the island vitally strategic, especially after the debacle of the Suez. If the island became part of Greece, Britain would lose its bases and influence in the area.2 Anti-British sentiments were exacerbated when Britain concluded an agreement with Egypt for the evacuation of forces from the Suez Canal zone and began moving the headquarters of the British Middle East Land and Air Forces to Cyprus. Meanwhile, Grivas had returned to the island surreptitiously and made contact with Makarios. In December the UN General Assembly, after consideration of the Cyprus item placed on the agenda by Greece, adopted a New Zealand proposal that, using diplomatic jargon, announced the decision "not to consider the problem further for the time being, because it does not appear appropriate to adopt a resolution on the question of Cyprus." Reaction to the setback at the UN was immediate and violent. Greek Cypriot leaders called a general strike, and schoolchildren left their classrooms to demonstrate in the streets. These events were followed by the worst rioting since 1931. Makarios, who was at the UN in New York during the trouble, returned to Nicosia on January 10, 1955. At a meeting with Makarios, Grivas stated that their group needed a name and suggested that it be called the National Organization of Cypriot Fighters (Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston--EOKA). Makarios agreed, and, within a few months, EOKA was widely known.3


Within the divided society, a spirit of purely Cypriot nationality as yet does not exist. Language, instead, is the crucial element of social and political identification and provides the key to group orientation.1

The two main languages spoken on the island of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish.


Religios Map of Cyprus detail Religion is mainly Orthodox Greek (Greek cypriots) and Muslim Sunni (Turkish-Cypriots).

Capital City of Nicosia

City of Nicosia: TRNC Half

This city is the capital of the Republic of Cyprus after the 1974 partition. It was also the capital during the British colonial period. Depicted is a general view of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' controlled section.

"Nicosia." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2 Dec. 2008  <http://search.eb.com.proxy.lib.umich.edu/eb/article-9055764>.

1. Frederica M Bunge, ed., Cyprus: A Country Study (Washington, D.C.: The American University, 1980), xxii. Return to place

2. Frangoulidou, Elengo, ed. About Cyprus (Cyprus: Zavallis Litho, Ltd., & Press and Information Office, Republic of Cyprus, 2004) 28. Return to place

3. Library of Congress Country Study: Cyprus http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/cytoc.html. From Eric Solsten, ed., Cyprus: A Country Study (Washington, D.C.: Department of the Army, 1993). Return to place

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