Cyprus Economy and History 1956

Economy. – The composition of the active population by economic categories (1956) is as follows: agriculture 135,900 residents; manufacturing industries 37,200; construction 20,000; mines 6,800; trade, administration and services 61,600. These data confirm the traditional configuration of the island’s economy, based primarily on agricultural resources, followed, at a distance, by mineral resources. The nature of the soil and the aridity of the climate also limit the extent of crops. Of the territorial surface, less than 50% is destined for crops and 18% is the forest area, which however also includes the typical Mediterranean scrub. Among the products, wheat is in first place (around 700,000 q per year). The vine (approx. 30,000 ha) produces 120-160,000 hl per year of the typical white wine of the island, which is widely exported. Potatoes and carob fruit are also export products. The citrus groves (oranges, mandarins and grapefruits) give valuable products, while the olive tree has limited importance. With regard to breeding, sheep (385,000) have increased in the last 15 years, while goats (159,000) and pigs (33,000) have decreased. Among the equines, donkeys continue to be important (43,000 in 1956), exported to the Levant and Egypt as working animals. Fishing gives 550 tons. of annual product and has 300 boats and a thousand employees. The collection of sponges is remarkable. Iron and copper ores (pyrites) continue to be an important voice in the island’s economy. From 700 to over 800,000 tons of iron pyrites are extracted annually; of those cuprifere, from 150 to 226,000 t. L’ asbestos and chromite are of minor importance. Sulfur is also obtained from pyrites. Electricity is scarce (approx. 60,000 kW installed in 1957), entirely of thermal origin (but in Trimiklini, Limassol, a dam has risen on a tributary of the F. Kouris).¬†For Cyprus business, please check

Foreign trade. – In the trade balance, imports are higher than exports (39 million pounds against 22.3 million in 1956). The products exported include agricultural products and those from the subsoil (iron and copper pyrites, asbestos, chromite, umber). Mainly finished products, machinery, means of transport and food are imported.

History. – Rejected by the Consultative Assembly of Cypriot parties the draft of the constitution of the British government (May 1948), the unionist movement, led by the Orthodox primate, or ethnarch, Archbishop Makarios, manifested itself with increasing force, supported by the Communist party. In a semi-clandestine plebiscite, 95.7% of the voters voted in favor of Enosis, that is, union with Greece (January 13, 1951). The attitude of England in the face of this movement was, at that time, one of absolute intransigence in rejecting any proposal that would call into question its sovereignty. A similar attitude took the Turkish government, which eventually demanded the return of the island to Turkey. The Greek government, after rejecting the new British draft constitution – which, while offering a certain internal autonomy, it excluded any change of sovereignty for the present and the future, – he appealed to the United Nations, invoking the principle of self-determination. Consequence of this failed appeal (the General Assembly in fact decided to update the debate at a more opportune moment) and the failure of any attempt at an amicable settlement was the beginning of the terrorist action (1 April 1955) conducted by the EOKA organization, headed by Colonel Grivas. After the Anglo-Greek-Turkish tripartite conference, opened in London on August 29, 1955, and the internal tension worsened, Governor J. Harding took exceptional security measures. After the UN again decided not to discuss the matter, Britain admitted, for the first time, in an official communication in Makarios (November 2, 1955), the right of self-determination, although not considering it feasible in the present situation. The contacts that took place later, in early 1956, between Makarios and the governor resulted in the deportation of the archbishop to the Seychelles (March 9, 1956), on charges of promoting terrorist activity. The Radcliffe project, exposed to the municipalities on December 18, was accepted with reservations by the Turks and rejected instead by the Greek Cypriots and by the government of Athens, dissatisfied above all with the excessive power left to the governor due to the lack of an explicit reference to the right of self-determination. The UN resolution (February 26, 1957) intervened to temporarily unblock the situation, hoping for the resumption of negotiations between the parties concerned. The effects were: the release of Makarios, a brief suspension of the partisan struggle, as well as the relaxation of British security measures. The negotiations that followed, in which the British government gradually showed itself more conciliatory towards the Greek claims, however, collided with Turkey’s intransigent request for partition and its opposition to any concession of autonomy that could even remotely prelude to the union of the island to Greece. In close derivation from the MacMillan constitution project, presented to the municipalities on June 19, 1958, which provided for an international settlement of the issue, NATO’s attempt at mediation arises. Makarios, Assuming that the problem was to be solved only through Anglo-Cypriot negotiations, he formulated on 27 September 1958, in an official communication to the British government, the proposal to grant the island, after a period of self-government, the independence guaranteed by the United Nations. It was on the basis of these proposals that the Greeks and Turks began the talks in Zurich that led to the London Agreement (February 19, 1959). By virtue of this agreement, made possible by the Greek side’s renunciation of the Enosis and by the Turkish side of the partition, the island gained independence on August 16, 1960. The new republic will have to conclude defensive alliance treaties with Greece, the Turkey and the United Kingdom, and will have to host the military bases of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, which will remain under full British sovereignty. The eventual accession to the Commonwealth will be decided by popular referendum. The new constitution, drawn up along the lines of the Zurich Agreement, entered into force on 16 August, and which, among other things, is intended to safeguard the rights of the Turkish minority.

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