There are but scanty traces of the Stone Age, but the Bronze Age is characterized by a well-developed and clearly marked civilization. The people early learned to work the rich copper mines of the island. The Mycen�an civilization of the West seems to have reached the island around 1600 B.C. The Greek and Ph�nician settlements belong to the Iron Age. The island was invaded by Thothmes III of Egypt about 1500 B.C., and was forced to pay tribute. Around 1200 B.C. we observe the massive arrival of the Mycenaean Greeks as permanent settlers to Cyprus, a process that lasted for more than a century. This migration is remembered in many sagas rehearsing how some of the Greek heroes that participated in the Trojan war came to settle in Cyprus. The newcomers brought with them their language, their advanced technology and introduced a new outlook for visual arts. Thus from 1220 B.C. Cyprus has remained predominantly Greek in culture, language and population despite various influences resulting from successive conquests. In ancient times Cyprus supplied the rest of the Greeks with timber for their fleets.
In the sixth century B.C., Amasis of Egypt conquered Cyprus, which soon fell under the rule of the Persians when Cambyses conquered Egypt. In the Persian empire, Cyprus formed part of the fifth satrapy and in addition to tribute it had to supply the Persians with ships and crews. In their new fate the Greeks of Cyprus had as companions the Greeks of Ionia (west coast of Asia Minor - now Turkey) with whom they forged closer ties. When the Ionian Greeks revolted against Persia (499 BC) the Cypriots except for Amathus, joined in at the instigation of Onesilos, brother of the king of Salamis, whom he dethroned for not wanting to fight for independence. The Persians reacted quickly sending a considerable force against Onesilos. They won despite Ionian help.
After the Persian defeat, the Greeks mounted various expeditions against Cyprus in order to liberate it from the Persian yoke, but all their efforts bore only temporary results. Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) finally liberated the island from the Persians. Later, the Greek rulers of Egypt controlled it, then Rome annexed it in 58-57 BC. No doubt the most important event that occurred in Roman Cyprus is the visit by Apostles Paul and Barnabas having with them St Mark who came to the island at the outset of their first missionary journey in 45 AD. After their arrival at Salamis they proceeded to Paphos where they converted the Roman Governor Sergius Paulus to Christianity. In this way Cyprus became the first country in the world to be governed by a Christian ruler.
Cyprus became part of the Byzantine Empire after the partitioning of the Roman Empire in 395 and remained so for almost nine centuries. The Arabs pillaged the island in 646. In 654 the second Arab invasion took place that devastated the island again. Cyprus was finally liberated by Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus Phokas in 965. In 1191 King Richard I of England captured the island on his way to the Holy Land. Guy of Lusignan took possession of the island in 1192. The Republic of Venice took control in 1489, after which the Ottomans took control in 1570. Cyprus was placed under British control on June 4, 1878 as a result of the Cyprus Convention. Famagusta harbor was completed in June, 1906. Cyprus was ceded to the United Kingdom in 1913. It gained independent status in 1960.