Like a lot of places in the Mediterranean, Cyprus has changed hands many times. The island was controlled by the Greeks, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Romans, French and Venetians up to 1571, before the Ottomans took over for three centuries.
In 1878 the Ottomans passed Cyprus to Britain in return for protection against Russia. By the 1950s, discontent with British rule had come to a violent head, and the island was granted independence in 1960.

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