British Rule

With the signing of the Cyprus Convention between Great Britain and the Ottoman Empire, the administration of Cyprus was handed over to the British. In July 1878 the first British high commissioner, Lieutenant General Sir Garnet Wolseley, arrived on the island. The territory, however, remained under Ottoman rule until 1914, when it became a British protectorate, while it continued to pay tribute to the Sublime Porte until 1927. On 1 May 1925 the island officially became a Crown colony.

During this period, in contrast to the era of Ottoman administration, Cyprus followed a course of development and modernisation which determined both the formation and character of the capital and the life of its inhabitants. Nicosia became the political, social and cultural centre of the island, while its population constantly grew.

This impressive development was hampered by several obstacles, such as high taxation and especially the tribute, which drained the island’s revenues, usury, authoritarian laws and censorship, particularly after the uprising of 1931.

The departure of the British in 1960 marked the transition of Cyprus, after centuries of foreign domination, into an independent, sovereign country.

Newspaper 'The Illustrated London News', vol. 73, July to December 1878, England, 1878
Object: D/1988/132
Donation: Costas and Rita Severis
Statuette depicting
Lieutenant Horatio Herbert Kitchener on horseback, England, 1880
Object: D/1989/345
Commemorative cup
depicts King Edward VIII (1936), England, 1937
Object: D/1988/126
Commemorative tray
with a portrait of King George I
of Greece (1863-1913) in the centre, circa 1870
Object: D/1990/353, 13
Donation: The A. G. Leventis Foundation
Postcard depicting Eleftheria square with cyclists, 1960
Photograph: J. Arthur Dixon ltd
Object: D/1989/319,18
Donation: Agni Michaelides†
Curfew pass, no. 0813
of Pavlos Neophytou, Cyprus,
Object: D/2005/3104
Donation: Pavlos Neophytou†
Silver ring, Greece, 1940
Object: D/1996/1345
Donation: Nicos Constantinides
Silver spoons Art Deco style
20th century
Object: D/1991/569,3-4
Donation: Agni Michaelides†