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The arrival of the first humans correlates with the extinction of the dwarf hippos and dwarf elephants.

There were several fluxes of population and settlement as well as newcomers to the island during the Neolithic age, although earthquakes caused the infrastructure to fail around 3800 BC.

and has been a member of the European Union since . In 1974, following years of intercommunal violence between ethnic Greeks and Turks and an attempted coup d'état by Greek Cypriot nationalists aimed at annexing the island to Greece and engineered by the military junta then in power in Athens, Turkey invaded and occupied one third of the island.

This led to the displacement of thousands of Cypriots and the establishment of a separate Turkish Cypriot political entity in the north.

The island would serve Britain as a key military base in its colonial routes.

By 1906, when the Famagusta harbour was completed, Cyprus was a strategic naval outpost overlooking the Suez Canal, the crucial main route to India which was then Britain's most important colony.

Cyprus was conquered by Assyria in 709 BC, before a brief spell under Egyptian rule and eventually Persian rule in 545 BC.

Cypriots, led by Onesilos, joined their fellow-Greeks in the Ionian cities during the unsuccessful Ionian Revolt in 499 BC against the Achaemenid Empire.

The island was brought under permanent Greek rule by Alexander the Great and the Ptolemies of Egypt following his death.

The island is de facto partitioned into four main parts: The name Cyprus has a somewhat uncertain etymology.

One suggestion is that it comes from the Greek word for the Mediterranean cypress tree (Cupressus sempervirens), κυπάρισσος (kypárissos), or even from the Greek name of the henna plant (Lawsonia alba), κύπρος (kýpros).

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