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About the Cypriot flag

The Flag of Cyprus came into use on August 16, 1960 under the Zurich and London Agreements, whereby a constitution was drafted and Cyprus was proclaimed an independent state.

The national flag features a map of the entirety of the island, with two olive branches below (a symbol of peace) on white (another symbol of peace). The olive branches signify peace between the Turks and Greeks. The map on the flag is a copper-yellow colour, symbolizing the large deposits of copper ore on the island (chiefly in the form of chalcopyrite, which is yellow in colour), from which it may have received its name.

Founded in 1193, the Kingdom of Cyprus experienced centuries of conflict. Cyprus was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1571, which increased Turkish settlement on the island. It then fell under British control in 1878. The flag, adopted at independence in 1960, deliberately chose peaceful and neutral symbols in an attempt to indicate harmony between the rival Greek and Turkish communities, an ideal that has not yet been realized. In 1974, Turkish forces invaded and occupied the northern part of the island, forming in the occupied land the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a de-facto state recognized only by Turkey. They also introduced a flag similar to the Turkish, with inverted colours and two red stripes. The occupied part also tends to fly the national flag of Turkey, whilst in unoccupied Cyprus, the national flag of Greece is often used together with the flag of Cyprus.

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