HISTORY ETHNOGRAPHY NATURE WINE-MAKING SITE MAP
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SIR SAMUEL WHITE BAKER
CYPRUS AS I SAW IT IN 1879
page 360

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ΧΠΙ] \ν ooDs AND F ORESTS. 3·}3 A s I have described in many portions of our journey through Cyprus, the simple action of an insignificant stream, or of a solitary cattle-wheel, forms an oasis in the rainless desert of the Messaria, and the eye that has been wearied with the barren aspect of a treeless surface is gladdened by the relief of a sudden appearance of groves of oranges, lemons, and other shady trees, the result of a supply of water. Whenever such welcome spots are met with upon the miserable plain, the question invariably arises, "Wh y should such fruitful and delightful positions be so rare ? The soil is fertile, the climate is favourable, all that is required is water, and energy. " If a Cypriote is asked the question, he invariably replies " that during the Turkish administration the fruit-trees increased their troubles, owing to the vexatious and extortionate taxation of the crops, therefore they were glad to be quit of them altogether. " Your question No. 2 follows, " Why do you not plant trees now that the English have occupied the country ? " The reply is stereotyped, " We are not sure that you will remain here permanently, and if you abandon the island the Turks will resume the old system with even greater oppression than before. " This is an unanswerable dilemma, which no doubt retards improvements ; but there is a third difficulty which is invariably brought prominently forward when any suggestions are made for an extension of agricultural enterprise: "W e have no money. " This is absolutely true, although I have heard the assertion contested by certain authorities. The people as a rule are miserably poor, and cannot afford to run the risks of experiments, especially during the present uncertainty connected with the British occupation.

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