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When the Roman Empire was divided into Eastern and Western parts in 395, Cyprus became part of the East Roman, or Byzantine Empire, and would remain so until the Crusades some 800 years later.Under Byzantine rule, the Greek orientation that had been prominent since antiquity developed the strong Hellenistic-Christian character that continues to be a hallmark of the Greek Cypriot community.The island was conquered by Alexander the Great in 333 BC.Following his death and the subsequent division of his empire and wars among his successors, Cyprus became part of the Hellenistic empire of Ptolemaic Egypt.It was during this period that the island was fully Hellenized.In 58 BC Cyprus was acquired by the Roman Republic.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).Cyprus was placed under British administration based on the Cyprus Convention in 1878 and was formally annexed by Britain in 1914.
Following the death in 1473 of James II, the last Lusignan king, the Republic of Venice assumed control of the island, while the late king's Venetian widow, Queen Catherine Cornaro, reigned as figurehead.
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.
This status ensured that the Church of Cyprus was in a position to end the constant encroachments of the Roman Catholic Church.
As soon as the Greek War of Independence broke out in 1821, several Greek Cypriots left for Greece to join the Greek forces.