Britons in Cyprus, 1878-1914
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Britain occupied Cyprus as a protectorate under the tenets of the Congress of Berlin in July 1878 and annexed the island in 1914. Before 1914, however, despite the legal conditions of the protectorate that the island, still nominally ruled by the Ottomans, could be returned to Turkey, British imperialists transformed this eastern Mediterranean island into a British colonial dependency. The argument of this dissertation is that starting with the formal occupation in 1878, Britain fully intended to develop the island as “British Cyprus” with the expectation that the island would remain in British hands. The dissertation is organized along on a set of themes that resonated throughout the British Empire, using Cyprus as an example. These included a duty “to protect and improve” all their Imperial subjects; to bring “a rich reward to capitalists and labour”; and to install a sense of “Britishness” synonymous with civilization, moral uprightness, and progress. More specifically, this dissertation examines the role of Britons on Cyprus in the late nineteenth century as agents of the greater British Empire. The dissertation especially focuses on how Britons established a British community while at the same time redeveloping the island’s resources for integration into the Empire. Throughout this process they firmly believed in the superiority and divine right of the British race to rule the island. Their creed of bringing “good government” to subject peoples reflected the imperial mind of the late nineteenth century throughout the Empire and was the underlying philosophy to their own sense of “Britishness.” This is an intriguing and unique case study of British colonial development that has been neglected by historians, but it is important for understanding how the governmental, administrative, and physical infrastructure now in place in Cyprus initially came into being.