Cyprus <<SY pruhs>> is an island country in the northeast corner of the Mediterranean Sea. It lies about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Turkey. Nicosia <<NIHK uh SEE uh>> is the capital and largest city.
More than four-fifths of the people have Greek ancestors, and most of the rest have Turkish ancestors. Most Greeks in Cyprus are Christians, and most Turks are Muslims. Children are required to go to school for 8 or 9 years, and most people can read and write.
A little more than half the people live in cities or towns. The rest live in the country. The climate is pleasant all year, and tourism is an important business. People also work in farming, mining, and factories.
In 1571, Cyprus became part of the Ottoman Empire, which was based in what is now Turkey. In 1878, it came under British rule. Cyprus became independent in 1960. But some Greek Cypriots wanted to be part of Greece, and some Turkish Cypriots wanted to be part of Turkey. Fighting took place between the groups.