Selected and rare materials, excerpts and observations from ancient, medieval and contemporary authors, travelers and researchers about Cyprus.
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Pietro Casola
Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the year 1494
page 4



* Cyprus. The first treaty between Venice and Cyprus was arranged in 1306. The island was most important to Venetian commerce, because of its products (especially wine) and its proximity to Syria. There was a long fight to establish Venetian supremacy over that of the Genoese, her great rivals in the Mediterranean, until finally in 1472 King James of Cyprus married Catherine Cornaro, daughter of Marco and of Fiorenza Crispo (daughter of Nicolo Crispo, Duke of the Archipelago). After the death of King James, 1473, the Genoese renewed their efforts to oust the Venetians, by supporting the rival candidate to the throne. The island was also threatened by the Sultan of Cairo and the Ottoman Turks, and the Government of Catherine was too weak to cope with the situation. In 1488, therefore, her brother George Cornaro was sent to persuade her to resign and come to Venice, where she died 1510. In 1489 the government of Cyprus was directly assumed by the Venetian Republic, which was confirmed in the possession of the island by the Sultan of Egypt. It was governed by a Lieutenant elected by the Senate for two years, who resided at Nicosia. He was aided by two Councillors. There was also a Captain, who resided at Famagosta. On the 3rd July, 1570, the Turks landed at the Salines, and in August of the same year they took Nicosia. Famagosta defended by Captain Marcantonio Bragadino was obliged to surrender August, 1571, after a resistance of two months. Bragadino and the other defenders were cruelly killed by the Turks, who violated the terms of surrender. Bragadino after the terrible tortures, was flayed alive in the Piazza of Famagosta.

** Porro says: "The King of England who, according to Agostino Contarini, destroyed Limasol, must have been Richard Coeur de Lion, because he was the only English King who went on a Crusade to Palestine. However this may be, in 1248, when Louis IX. of France landed there, the city was still flourishing. We find the real causes of its ruin in the History of Cyprus by Loredano. Speaking of the terrible hurricane which burst over the island on the 10th of November, 1330, he says that Limasol was entirely destroyed and 2,000 persons perished. The decadence of Limasol then probably dates from that period, and the wars, and invasions of the Moors, no doubt afterwards contributed to its total ruin."

*** Episcopia. "After the downfall of the Latin States in Syria, amongst other branches of industry transferred to the island of Cyprus, one of the most important was the cultivation and manufacture of Sugar. The plantations were scattered over the island, but the cultivation was principally concentrated in the districts of Baffo and Limasol. The Kings of Cyprus occupied themselves personally with this industry. The sugar was generally sold to Venetian merchants, though it was not refused to those of other nations. The great Venetian family of the Cornaro, possessed vast plantations at Episcopia (or Piskopi) near Limasol. Gistele calls them `the chief factories for the manufacture of sugar in the whole island.' The Cornaro property touched that of the Casal de Colossi, belonging to the knights of Rhodes, who had extensive fields of sugar canes there."(1) When Roberto da San Severino reached Cyprus June 16th, 1458, he noted "A small castle called Episcopia, which produces large quantities of sugar. It belongs to a Venetian gentleman called Don Andrea Cornaro, who was banished to Cyprus by the Signoria of Venice." Don Andrea was a brother of Marco, and therefore uncle of Catherine, Queen of Cyprus.



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