an island in the E Mediterranean: ceded to Britain by Turkey in 1878 and made a colony in 1925; became an independent republic in 1960 as a member of the Commonwealth; invaded by Turkey in 1974 following a Greek-supported military coup, leading to the partition of the island. In 1983 the Turkish-controlled northern sector declared itself to be an independent state as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus but failed to receive international recognition. Attempts by the UN to broker a reunification agreement have failed. Cyprus joined the EU in 2004. The UK maintains two enclaves as military bases (Akrotiri and Dhekelia Sovereign Base Areas), which are not included in Cyprus politically. Languages: Greek and Turkish. Religions: Greek Orthodox and Muslim. Currency: euro and Turkish lira. Capital: Nicosia. Pop (Greek): 838 897 (2011 est); (Turkish): 265 100 (2006 est). Area: 9251 sq km (3571 sq miles)
People of Greek origin make up four-fifths of the population, and those of Turkish origin compose the other fifth. Conflict between the two led to a Turkish invasion that divided the island in the 1970s.