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The Island of Cyprus

Cyprus was the site of early Phoenician and Greek colonies and is among the oldest in the Mediterranean, seving as a crossroads between East and West. For centuries its rule passed through many hands, including Assyrian, Egyptian, Persian, Greek and Roman. It fell to the Turks in 1571, and a large Turkish colony settled on the island.

Cyprus. Abraham Ortelius

Map Island of Cyprus. Ortellus.

During the rule of the island by Richard the Lionheart, he sold it to the Templars for 100,000 donars. The Templars resold the island to King Richard, who later transferred it to Guy de Lusignan. From 1571 to 1861, the island was ruled by the Ottoman Empire.

In 1878, the administration of Cyprus passed to Britain, but it remained formally part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1880 Greek and Turkish were established as the mediums for education in the schools. In 1914 Cyprus was annexed by Britain when the Ottoman Empire entered into the World War I on the side of Germany.


While Limassol Port was not mentioned by ancient writers, investigators have found graves there dating back as far as 2000 BCE.

From the 12th to 15th centuries, Limassol Port was very prosperous until the Ottomans occupied Cyprus in 1570. Frederick II, King of Germany, took Limassol Port in 1228, holding it for a year before leaving the next year. It then became a hiding place for pirates who attacked Eastern Mediterranean countries to take Muslim property. The pirates made many lords of Limassol Port rich. In 1424, the Mamelukes of Egypt sent a military force to drive the pirates out of the harbor. In 1425, they landed in Limassol Port where they took the Castle and burned and plundered much of the city. In 1426, they captured King Janus of Cyprus and took him as prisoner back to Cairo.

Paphos Castle, Kato Paphos, Cyprus

Paphos Castle, Kato Paphos, Cyprus.

In 1878, Great Britain took Cyprus over. Limassol's British Governor, Colonel Warren, favored Limassol and began improvements from his first day there. Roads were cleaned and repaired. Trees were planted, and animals were taken away from the city center. Docks were built. Street lanterns were installed. The city gained a post office, a telegraph service, and a hospital. In the 1880s, the city got its first printing press and regular newspaper. By 1912, the town had electric street lighting.

By the end of the 19th Century, several hotels were in business, and a new intellectual, artistic culture was growing. The city welcomed new schools, art galleries, sports societies, theaters, music halls, and clubs. Job opportunities increased to support the local ceramics and wine industries, commerce, and tourism.

October 1, 1890, Guardian, London, United Kingdom

CYPRUS.--The Bishop of Kition (Dr. Chrysanthos Joannides) died suddenly on the 9th ult. whilst on a short visit to Nicosia. A correspondent writes:--

"A member of one of the oldest Greek families in the Island, his ability and intelligence attracted, when he was but a youth, the notice of the then Primate of Cyprus, by whom he was persuaded to become a candidate for holy orders. Accordingly, after passing through a course of study and probation at the Archiepiscopal Training College, he proceeded to the University of Athens, where he soon distinguished himself as a painstaking student, and acquired an accurate and extensive knowledge of patristic theology as well as the classics and the literature of France. On his return to Cyprus in 1850 he was admitted to minor orders, and became deeply impressed with the need of organizing elementary Christian schools throughout the island. In many villages, the Church schools had fallen into disrepair and some had been closed for want of funds; but with the help of prosperous Cypriotes in Alexandria and some of the wealthier orthodox monasteries he was able to place several of the schools on a firmer basis, to improve their curriculum and apparatus, and generally to extend their spheres of usefulness. In 1861, being in priest's orders, he was appointed head master of the Orthodox grammer school at Larnaca, which position he continued to hold until his elevation to the Episcopate.

During the cholera epidemic in 1865-6 he was unremitting in his exertions to comfort the dying and to console the afflicted. At the time of the assumption of the government of the island by her Majesty's representative, pursuant to the Anglo-Turkish Convention of 1878, Dr. Joannides placed his intimate knowledge of the island and of the requirements of the Cypriotes at the disposal of the British officials, who have on several occasions expressed their obligations to his valuable aid and advice.

"In the spring of 1880 he was unanimously elected to the vacant see of Kyrenia, and the day of his consecration in the Primate's chapel at Nicosia by the Archbishop Sophronius, assisted by Bishops Kyprianos and Neophitos, was observed as a general holiday. In May, 1889, on the death of Bishop Kyprianos, ho was translated to the larger and more important see of Kition (which includes tho two commercial ports of Larnaca and Limassol), and he was administering this diocese to the great advantage of the Orthodox Church when overtaken by death to the profound grief of every person in the island, throughout which he was deservedly popular. The funeral rites were performed in the Phaneroumanie Cathedral on the day following the Bishop's demise. His body, fully vested in the Episcopal habit, was placed in the cathedral during the morning, and before the service commenced was visited by some thousands of people, who affectionately kissed the hand of the revered prelate. The High Commissioner, who was two days' journey from Nicosia, and unable to arrive in time for the funeral, telegraphed his sincere condolences from Mount Troodos at the great loss to the island of so good a man. Business in the Christian quarter was entirely suspended; amongst Moslems also the deceased was much respected for his high character and great dignity of bearing."

Cypriot Mouflon (Cyprus)


The mouflon, a wild sheep species, is found scattered around the Mediterranean and is mentioned in ancient Greco-Roman texts. The Cypriot subspecies (Ovis gmelini ophion) is found only on Cyprus, an island republic south of Turkey. The Cypriot mouflon is the biggest wild animal on the island, growing about three feet high. Its population was severely reduced in the 19th century due to sport hunting and the vain desire for unusual fur pieces. Fortunately stricter game laws enacted in the late 1930s helped save the subspecies. ~ Excerpted from Smithsonian MagazineSmithsonian Magazine.

1899. World's Fleet. Boston Daily Globe

Lloyds Register of Shipping gives the entire fleet of the world as 28,180 steamers and sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 27,673,628, of which 39 perent are British.

Great Britain10,990 vessels, total tonnage of 10,792,714
United States 3,010 vessels, total tonnage of 2,405,887
Norway 2,528 vessels, tonnage of 1,604,230
Germany 1,676 vessels, with a tonnage of 2,453,334, in which are included her particularly large ships.
Sweden 1,408 vessels with a tonnage of 643, 527
Italy1,150 vessels
France 1,182 vessels

For Historical Comparison
Top 10 Maritime Nations Ranked by Value (2017)

  Country # of Vessels







1 Greece 4,453 206.47 $88.0
2 Japan 4,317 150.26 $79.8
3 China 4,938 159.71 $71.7
4 USA 2,399 55.92 $46.5
5 Singapore 2,662 64.03 $41.7
6 Norway 1,668 39.68 $41.1
7 Germany 2,923 81.17 $30.3
8 UK 883 28.78 $24.3
9 Denmark 1,040 36.17 $23.4
10 South Korea 1,484 49.88 $20.1
Total 26,767 87.21 $466.9

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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