Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC.As a strategic location in the Middle East, it was subsequently occupied by several major powers, including the empires of the Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians, from whom the island was seized in 333 BC by Alexander the Great.Subsequent rule by Ptolemaic Egypt, the Classical and Eastern Roman Empire, Arab caliphates for a short period, the French Lusignan dynasty and the Venetians, was followed by over three centuries of Ottoman rule between 15 (de jure until 1914).
While Turkish Cypriots made up 18% of the population, the partition of Cyprus and creation of a Turkish state in the north became a policy of Turkish Cypriot leaders and Turkey in the 1950s.
Turkish leaders for a period advocated the annexation of Cyprus to Turkey as Cyprus was considered an "extension of Anatolia" by them; while since the 19th century, A separate Turkish Cypriot state in the north was established by unilateral declaration in 1983; the move was widely condemned by the international community, with Turkey alone recognizing the new state.
These events and the resulting political situation are matters of a continuing dispute.
The Cyprus Republic has de jure sovereignty over the island of Cyprus, as well as its territorial sea and exclusive economic area, according to international law (except for the British Overseas Territory of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, administered as Sovereign Base Areas, 2.8% of the territory).
However, the Republic of Cyprus is de facto partitioned into two main parts: the area under the effective control of the Republic, located in the south and west, and comprising about 59% of the island's area; and the north, administered by the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, covering about 37% of the island's area.
Another nearly 4% of the island's area is covered by the UN buffer zone.
The international community considers the northern part of the island as territory of the Republic of Cyprus occupied by Turkish forces.
Location of Cyprus in bright green, showing the republic of Cyprus in darker green and the self-declared republic of Northern Cyprus in brighter green, with the rest of the European Union shown in faded green), is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean.
It is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel and Palestine, north of Egypt and southeast of Greece.
The earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC.
Archaeological remains from this period include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia, and Cyprus is home to some of the oldest water wells in the world.