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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 14

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and this, as I have said above, is reduced to 21 piastres a head, yet the result is the by no means contemptible sum of 252,000 piastres. Add to this as much again extorted by the Governor, the Chief Justices, the officers of every grade, and you have a revenue of 504,000 piastres. So that we may conclude that the population has notably decreased, and the sums wrung from it increased. The population thus reduced will scarcely amount now to 40,000 souls in all. But the number is extremely hard to fix accurately, not only in Cyprus but in every other province of the Levant, for Eastern peoples keep no registers of births or deaths, and count the inhabitants only by those who pay the poll-tax, who are less than a third of the whole. I ought to add that in Asia the number of women largely exceeds that of men, a fact which I have observed and proved in all the various tribes among whom I have lived in the Levant. The products of the island were many and rich. In old days there were mines of gold, silver, copper, iron, marcasite (iron pyrites), vitriol and rock-alum : even emeralds have been found here. Of some of these there remains but a memory, and the name of the district where they were found. The existing Turkish government allows no search, and no enterprise for their recovery. It used to make a large quantity of oil and sugar. But cultivation of the sugar-cane had begun to fall off" even in the Venetian epoch, as it was found more profitable to plant cotton. Saffron and rhubarb gave no inconsiderable return, but these plants have disappeared. Wild goats, deer, wild boars, wild asses and wild cattle have all been exterminated ; as well as pheasants, which abounded in Cyprus even after its unhappy absorption in the Ottoman Empire. The present products are silk, cotton, wool, madder (called bom, rizari and robbid), muscat and precious wines, cochineal, ladanum, wheat and barley, colocynth, pitch and tar, potash, salt, carobs, timber, and umber, brown and green ; with these ίο A General View of the [CH.

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