Cyprus is an island in the easternmost Mediterranean, at the crossroads of three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa, stretching to the northwest, the east and the south of the island respectively.
 
Cyprus has been through a great deal in the last century. Years of Ottoman and then British Colonial rule ended when the island became an independent state in 1960. Just 14 years later, after internal squabbles between the Greek and Turkish speaking communities, Turkey seized  the chance to invade northern Cyprus. The occupied half of the island was declared the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, or TRNC, but has only been officially recognised by one nation- Turkey. Apart from several casualties, several thousands of people were displaced, and more than a thousand Greek- Cypriots are still missing.
 
Even before then, Cyprus had seen many conquerors invade its shores, including Richard the Lionheart. The island's history dates back to Neolitithic times.
 
More recently, the two sides, north and south, have tried to patch things up, and people from one side of the island have been allowed to visit the other. Cyprus' imminent accession to Europe could do much to hurry negotiations, which have long reached a stalemate. And, though it will not be without difficulty, European accession could help Cyprus to develop economically and culturally.  Here's hoping!