Cyprus Table of Contents

The Turkish invasion of 1974 was a calamity, but Greek Cypriot society was able to overcome its effects. The economy of the Republic of Cyprus quickly recovered, and went on to flourish into the early 1990s. Greek Cypriot society also withstood the loss of homeland and broken social relations. Greek Cypriots built shelters and found work for the 160,000 displaced people, who had fled their homes and villages. During the 1980s, a more prosperous and modern society emerged. Education was made more accessible, and government help to those needing it was improved. Like other societies, Greek Cypriot society became more urbanized, yet mostly avoided the ill effects of a too rapid transition to city life. Ties to the countryside remained strong, even as Greek Cypriots became better connected with the world beyond the island.

As the Republic of Cyprus modernized, social relations changed, but not as quickly as in Western Europe. The Church of Cyprus, rather conservative in its doctrine, remained the dominant religion, although it played a smaller role than formerly in the lives of most Greek Cypriots. Marriage and family remained stronger than in the United States, and relations between the sexes were not as relaxed. However, Greek Cypriot women were better educated than their mothers and were more likely to work outside the home. Although they were well represented in some professions, Greek Cypriot women suffered some sex discrimination in employment, and the republic's feminist movement was not yet influential.

These developments occurred against the backdrop of the tragedy of partition. The barrier between Greek and Turkish Cypriots was virtually impenetrable. The older generation of the two peoples had experienced the terrors of intercommunal conflict, but they had had some contact with one another. A new generation of Greek Cypriots did not know members of the other community. Some had never seen a Turkish Cypriot.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress