Cyprus Table of Contents
Refugee housing project in Strovolos, a suburb of Nicosia
Courtesy Republic of Cyprus, Press and Information Office, Nicosia
A Cambridge professor, visiting Cyprus in 1801, wrote that "there is hardly upon earth a more wretched spot" than Cyprus, with its "pestiferous air" and contagion. A few years after the British came into possession of the country, it was officially reported that the island was generally healthy; this could be attributed to the disappearance of the plague around the middle of the nineteenth century. According to testimony of the chief medical officer in the mid-1880s, however, the island's situation was far from healthy. As the towns and villages were often surrounded by marshes, drainage was often impossible and water supplies were often contaminated. The draining of marshes, destruction of the anopheles mosquito, securing of sanitary water, and introduction of elementary health measures freed Cyprus entirely of the plague, typhus, and other virulent diseases by the end of the century. Malaria remained a serious concern, whose effects were widely evident. The eradication of this disease after World War II contributed greatly to the wellbeing of the island, so much so that some observers have regarded it as the most important event in the modern history of Cyprus.
Data as of January 1991