National Profiles > > Regions > Western Asia > Cyprus
Search National Profiles:

Region: Western Asia
2012 Population1: 1,128,994
Total Area (sq. miles)1: 3,568
Life Expectancy at Birth1: 80.0
Gross National Income Per Capita (PPP 2012 US $)1: $28,850
Official Religion(s) Or Church(es) 2: None

Compare country to:

Largest Religious Groups (Cyprus)


Government Regulation of Religion Index: Average government regulation score over ARDA researchers' coding of 2003, 2005 and 2008 U.S. Department of State's International Religious Freedom Reports (0-10, lower means less regulation) Government Favoritism of Religion Index: Average government favoritism score over ARDA researchers' coding of 2003, 2005 and 2008 U.S. Department of State's International Religious Freedom Reports (0-10, lower means less favoritism) Social Regulation of Religion Index: Average social regulation score over ARDA researchers' coding of 2003, 2005 and 2008 U.S. Department of State's International Religious Freedom Reports (0-10, lower means less regulation) Religious Persecution: Average number of people physically abused or displaced due to their religion according to U.S. Department of State's 2005 and 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports (as coded by ARDA researchers). 0 = None; 1 = 1-10; 2 = 11-20; 3 = 21-100; 4 = 101-500; 5 = 501-1000; 6 = 1001-5000; 7 = 5001-10000; 8 = 10001-50000; 9 = 50001-100000; 10 = greater than 100000.


Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Cyprus is the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, and a member state of the European Union. It is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel, north of Egypt and east 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. Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC. At 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 Roman Empire, the Byzantines, Arab caliphates for a short period, the French Lusignan dynasty and the Venetians, was followed by over three centuries of Ottoman rule between 1571 and 1878 (de jure until 1914). Cyprus was placed under British administration on 4 June 1878 (formally annexed by Britain on 5 November 1914, in response to the Ottoman government's decision to join World War I on the side of the Central Powers) until it was granted independence in 1960, becoming a member of the Commonwealth in 1961. In 1963, the 11-year intercommunal violence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots started, which almost sparked a war in 1964 between Turkey and Greece. This was avoided through the last minute intermediation of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. Ten years later, on 15 July 1974, the Cypriot coup d'état was staged by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta with the aim of achieving Enosis (union of Cyprus with Greece). Turkey, as one of the three "Guarantor States" in Cyprus (together with the United Kingdom and Greece) according to the Treaty of Guarantee (1960), used the Enosis attempt as a pretext to invade the northern portion of the island five days later, on 20 July 1974. Turkish forces remained in Cyprus after the cease-fire, resulting in the effective partitioning of the island, an objective of Turkey since 1955. The intercommunal violence, attempted coup by Greek forces and subsequent Turkish invasion led to the displacement of over 150,000 Greek Cypriots and 50,000 Turkish Cypriots, and the establishment in 1983 of a separate Turkish Cypriot political entity in the north. These events and the resulting political situation are matters of a continuing dispute. The Republic of Cyprus has de jure sovereignty over the island of Cyprus and its surrounding waters, according to international law, except for the British Overseas Territory of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, administered as Sovereign Base Areas. However, the Republic of Cyprus is de facto partitioned into two main parts; the area under the effective control of the Republic, comprising about 59% of the island's area, and the Turkish-controlled area in the north, calling itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and recognised only by Turkey, covering about 36% of the island's area. The international community considers the northern part of the island as territory of the Republic of Cyprus illegally occupied by Turkish forces. Cyprus is a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean. With an advanced, high-income economy and a very high Human Development Index, the Republic of Cyprus was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement until it joined the European Union on 1 May 2004. On 1 January 2008, the Republic of Cyprus joined the Eurozone.



Note: All country histories and flags were obtained from, 2015. (

1.  Relying on agencies from each country, as well as a synthesis of data from United Nations divisions, Eurostate Demographic statistics, the U.S. Census international database, and its own data collection, the World Bank’s Open Data site offers free and open access to data about development in countries around the globe.

2.  The U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report is submitted to Congress annually by the Department of State in compliance with Section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. This report supplements the most recent Human Rights Reports by providing additional detailed information with respect to matters involving international religious freedom. It includes individual country chapters on the status of religious freedom worldwide. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. These State Department reports are open source.

3.  The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom reports. The 2003, 2005, and 2008 reports were coded by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The GRI, GFI and SRI values reported on the National Profiles are averages from the 2003, 2005, and 2008 International Religious Freedom reports, while the Religious Persecution measure is an average from the 2005 and 2008 reports. All other measures derived from the International Religious Freedom reports were coded from the reports 2008. A data file with all of the 2008 coding, as well as data files with other cross national collections are available for preview and download from the data archive on this site. Used with permission.

Bookmark and Share