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This article is about the island. For the country, see Republic of Cyprus and Northern Cyprus.

Areas of Cyprus; the Turkish occupied zone is red, the Republic light blue, the buffer zone greenish, and the naval bases dark blue

Cyprus is a Mediterranean island off the coasts of Syria and Turkey. It is the third-largest island in the Mediterranean; Sicily and Sardinia are larger. It is slightly larger than Puerto Rico. Geographically, it is part of Asia and in the Middle East, but for political reasons, it is sometimes counted as being part of Europe. Cyprus was part of the Byzantine Empire for hundreds of years. The Greek god Aphrodite was from Cyprus. There are two states on the island:

  • The Republic of Cyprus (internationally recognized) is also part of the European Union. Most of the world considers the whole island to be the Republic of Cyprus. Greek is the most spoken language in the Republic of Cyprus.
  • The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is the northern part of the island. The only nation that recognizes this entity is Turkey. These states are separated by a buffer zone, which is controlled by the United Nations. In addition to the two countries, there are Akrotiri and Dhekelia, two territories which are under British control, and which are used as military bases.

The island has been Greek for thousands of years of recorded history, many empires have ruled Cyprus. They include Assyria, ancient Egypt Persia, Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire, the Byzantines, Arab caliphates for a short period, France, the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire. Cyprus is often described as an 'unsinkable aircraft carrier' due to its strategic position in the Eastern Mediterranean.[1]