August 16th in History: Cyprus’ Independence
Cyprus gained independence from the United Kingdom on August 16, 1960, but the agreements that led to sovereignty failed to resolve serious differences between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. The first President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios III, introduced amendments to the constitution in 1963 to eliminate some of the provisions favoring the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the government. The 1960s and early 1970s saw violence and foreign intervention by Greece and Turkey. Since 1974, Cyprus has been divided, and United Nations peacekeeping forces have maintained a buffer zone between the two sides.