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Hostilities were commenced in February 1570, when an army was sent into Epirus, and to the frontiers of Dalmatia to overrun Venetian territory, and to attract the attention of the Republic away from Cyprus; and further, in the middle of April, a fleet of 80 galleys and 30 galliots, under Piall Pasha, was sent to sea to prevent aid being despatched from Venice to Cyprus, and to secure the uninterruption of the invasion of the Island. Lala Moustapha was given command of the expedition against Cyprus, and on the 26th May, 1570, he, accompanied by Haly Pasha, sailed from Constantinople; at Rhodes he was joined by Piall Pasha, and the combined fleets amounted to 200 galleys, with numerous galliots, horse transports, &c., On the 1st July, this fleet cast anchor in the roadstead of Limasol, and the disembarkation of the troops was, owing to the negligence and incapacity of Nicholas Dandalo, who commanded the Venetian force on the spot, effected without opposition or loss; the fort of Leftari, near Limasol, also surrendered at the first summons. The Turkish army now entrenched itself, and a council of war was held to determine whether Famagusta or Nicosia should be the next object of attack. The great heat, and the unhealthy situation of the former town at this time of year, caused the decision to be in favour of an advance against Nicosia, which was the capital of the island, and centrally situated. Nicosia was then strongly fortified; the old defences had been only recently demolished by the Venetians; new and strong walls, having a circuit of three miles, had just been constructed, and the place converted into a regular fortress with eleven bastions and three gates; the walls were defended by 250 pieces of artillery.” The garrison appears to have consisted of from 8,000 to 10,000 men; of which number, 3,000 were Venetians, 2,500 native militia, 1,500 Italians, 1,000 nobles of Nicosia, together with Albanians and others.f On the 22nd July, Lala Moustapha reached the neighbourhood of Nicosia, and encamped his army within one and a half miles of the walls. It is reported that he had with him 2,500 cavalry, and 50,000 infantry, with which force he commenced a regular siege of the fortress, the troops constructing trenches and batteries with the greatest activity. The operations of this siege, which lasted seven weeks, are well described by Knolles in his “General History of the Turks,” page 848. At the beginning of September, the investing army received a reinforcement of 20,000 sailors and marines, sent by Piall Pasha from the Turkish fleet, and on the 9th of that month an assault was ordered, the attack being chiefly directed upon the Podocataro, Costanza and Tripoli bastions. The struggle was long and sanguinary, but in the end the superior numbers of the besiegers prevailed, and the gallant defenders were forced back from the walls; the Turks then entered the city, and for eight days murder and pillage reigned supreme. It is said that 14,866 of the garrison and inhabitants
* The fortifications of Nicosia are further described in Chapter III.
perished on the 9th September, and that altogether 20,000 were killed, and 2,000 youths and girls taken away as slaves. Lala Moustapha, leaving a garrison under Mousaffer Pacha in Nicosia, marched immediately with the rest of his army to Famagusta, arriving before the walls of that town on the 18th September, 1570; he at once constructed a redoubt from which an artillery fire was kept up against both the town and the port. The defenders, commanded by Marc Antonio Bragadino, made several brave sorties, and showed the Turks by their energetic defence that a speedy capitulation need not be expected. Lala Moustapha therefore shortly withdrew the greater part of his troops from the siege works, and retired for the winter into quarters in the villages round Famagusta, which town he, however, still endeavoured to invest in order to prevent the arrival of ‘reinforcements or supplies. On the 23rd January, 1571, the Venetian fleet under Marc Antonius Quirini, succeeded in eluding the vigilance of the Turks, and brought into Famagusta 1,600 men, and a quantity of provisions and warlike stores. When the winter was over, Lala Moustapha advanced his forces nearer to Famagusta; on the 16th April he reviewed his whole army, and then at once resumed his siege works with surprising activity. Bragadino, on his side, organized a strong defence, and his brave personal example inspired the whole garrison with a firm determination to hold their fortress to the very last extremity. The frequent assaults delivered by the Turks are well described in Knolles' work, page 863; the siege continued through the months of May, June, and July, the garrison fighting desperately against the overwhelming strength of the besiegers." At last provisions became scarce, and on August 1st, negociations were entered into, and a capitulation was signed under the following conditions, viz.; that the garrison should march out with their arms, five guns, and the horses of the commanders, and should be conveyed to Candia in the ships, and at the expense of the Turks; that the inhabitants should be free to quit the town and take their property, and that those who preferred to remain should be unmolested, both as regards their persons and their goods. Accordingly, after a lapse of three days, Famagusta was evacuated, and on the 5th August, Bragadino presented himself in the Turkish ‘camp accompanied by his chief commanders, Baglioni, Quirini and others, with an escort of 40 men. Lala Moustapha in the course of the discussion which ensued, made some complaints concerning the details of the capitulation, and becoming angry at the answers which he received, ended by making prisoners of the whole party. Baglioni,'Quirini, and the other officers were at once put to death, but Bragadino, the hero of the defence of Famagusta, was reserved for gross indignities, with long and infamous tortures, under which he expired ten days later, having been at last flayed alive.
ferred until the following year.
Siege and capture of Fama
Torture and murder of Bragadino.
* Foglietta, and Contarini, give details concerning the assaults of the 21st and 29th of June, and of the 9th, 11th, 20th and 30th July.
The completion of the subjugation of the island was carried on Cyprus fills
by the Turks with frightful cruelty, although aster the fall of .
Famagusta no further opposition was here offered on the part of
Government of Cyprus by the Turks.
The oppressive taxes and the arbitrary system of government caused an insurrection in 1764, which assumed serious dimensions, and the civil war which ensued lasted for two years. In July 1832, after the capture of Acre by Ibrahim Pacha, o: was militarily occupied by Egypt, and was held by Mehemet Ali for about eight years; but this temporary cession was cancelled by a firman at the end of 1838, and in 1840 the island was returned to the Porte. It has been reported that since this period a more just and equitable system of government has been pursued, although there has still been room for much improvement; since 1840 the population has about doubled itself. Until 1870, Cyprus was included in the “Vilayet of the Islands of the White Sea,” but it was then formed into an independent Mutessariflik. A firman concerning reforms was read in Cyprus after the accession of the Sultan Murad, but it is reported to have remained practically a dead letter, and to have in no way attracted the confidence or the enthusiasm of the people. The annoyances exi. by villagers at the hands of the zaptiehs with regard to the collection of taxes did not cease, and but little protection from over-exaction was secured to the inhabitants of the rural districts. A succession of bad harvests has lately caused an increase in the expenses of the island, for the government, on several occasions, has been obliged to supply food to a large number of poor people to keep them from starvation. The last, and most important, event in the History of Cyprus is the transfer of the island to England by a conditional Convention entered into by Great Britain and Turkey on the 4th June, 1878, the terms of which are as follow :—
“Convention of Defensive Alliance between Great Britain and Turkey, signed
“Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India, and his Imperial Majesty the Sultan, being mutually animated with the sincere desire of extending and strengthening the relations of friendship happily existing between their two empires, have resolved upon the conclusion of a Convention of defensive alliance, with the object of securing for the future the territories in Asia of his Imperial Majesty the Sultan. “Their Majesties have accordingly chosen and named as their Plenipotentiaries, that is to say :“Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India, the Right Honourable Austen Henry Layard, her Majesty's Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentary at the $ublime Porte; “And His Imperial Majesty the Sultan, his Excellency Safvet Pasha, Minister for Foreign Affairs of his Imperial Majesty; “Who, after having exchanged their full powers, found in due and good form, have agreed upon the following articles:—
“If Batoum, Ardahan, Kars, or any of them, shall be retained by Russia, and if any attempt shall be made at any future time by Russia to take possession of any further territories of his Imperial Majesty the Sultan in Asia,
as fixed by the definitive treaty of peace, England engages to join his Imperial
- Article II.
“The present convention shall be ratified, and the ratifications thereof
same, and have affixed thereto the seal of their arms.
eight hundred and seventy-eight.
This conditional convention having been entered into in the occupation view of the possible retention by Russia of a portion of the Asiatic by British territories of the Porte, and as, by the articles of the Berlin “”P" Congress, the condition upon which it was founded became fulfilled,” a firman was at once issued by the Porte authorizing the transfer of Cyprus to England, and measures were at once taken to occupy the island, and to administer the government on behalf of Her Majesty, Queen Victoria.
The following correspondence respecting the convention has since taken place, and is inserted, as it explains several points in
the first document. “No. 1.
“Mr. Layard to the Margo of Salisbury.—(Received May 29). “(Telegraphic.) “Constantinople, May 29, 1878. “Grand Vizier begs you to consent to an Annex providing that a Mussulman religious tribunal may be maintained in Cyprus, which will exclusively take cognizance of religious matters (this will create a very good impression upon Mussulman population, there and elsewhere); and that surplus of revenue over expenditure should be paid in the form which the
Porte will submit to me.”
“Mr. Layard to the Mos soy-oric May 30).
“Constantinople, May 30, 1878.
The Annex proposed includes three points—viz., the Mussulman tribunal referred to in my telegram of yesterday ; that average be taken of the mass of
* Article 58 of the Treaty of Berlin, signed on the 13th July, 1878, is as follows:– “The Sublime Porte cedes to the Russian Empire in Asia, the territories of Ardahan Kars, and Batoum, together with the latter port, as well as all the territories comprised between the ancient, Russo-Turkish frontier and the following line”—(The new frontier is then described).