Profile of European Union members: Cyprus

Population: 803,000 [in the EU part of the island]; 1.1 million [entire island]
Official Language: Greek, Turkish
Religion: Greek Orthodox, Islam
Ethnic Groups: Greek - 77%, Turkish - 18% [entire island]

The Republic of Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004 and the eurozone in 2008. Often called the Island of Love, mythology claims that the Goddess of Love Aphrodite [or Venus] had her home on the island.

The island has a checkered history, gaining independence in 1960 from the British. Prior to the British, it was part of several empires including the Ottoman, Byzantine, Roman, Greek and others.

Today, the island is split into two. The southern [Greek] part of the island is part of the European Union and it is the internationally recognised government. The northern [Turkish] part is recognised by Turkey only. Discussions have been occurring for a number of years on the island becoming reunited, and these discussions are continuing under the auspices of the United Nations.
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