On August 16, 1960, Cyprus was granted independence by the British empire. Below is a brief overview of Cyprus postal history leading up to it's independence, as well as several years after becoming an independent nation.
Postal services existed during the Venetian and Ottoman periods of occupation of the island. There was an Ottoman postal service in Nicosia from 1871, where mail was hand stamped "KIBRIS". A few Turkish Duloz stamps are known to have been used as fragments or as singles (a complete cover has yet to be found). Stamps of the Austrian post offices in the Turkish empire were also used at Larnaca from 1864 with values up to 25 kreuzer.
The British Administration
The British administration of Cyprus began on 11 July 1878. Initially, regular British stamps were used which may be identified by their numbered cancels.The first postage stamps marked Cyprus were British stamps overprinted CYPRUS, which began being used in 1880.
A British Penny Red overprinted for use in Cyprus from 1880. (Plate 181)
The first postage stamps produced specifically for use in Cyprus, rather than being overprinted British stamps, were issued on 1 July 1881.
An 1881 half piastre stamp of Cyprus and a stamp marking 50 Years of Cyprus under British rule in 1928.
Stamp overprinted Cyprus Republic in Greek and Turkish, 1960.
Cyprus was granted independence on August 16th in 1960. Since that day, the Cyprus Postal Services have issued stamps in several series per year. The indepence of Cyprus is celebrated on the overprinted British stamps, as well as definitve issues of the following years. Stamps after 1960 are issued in the local currency of Cyprus, called the The Cypriot pound, also known as the Cypriot lira.
1966 stamps of Cyprus.
British postcards were first used in Cyprus from 1878, though examples of such postcards used in Cyprus are very rare. In April 1880 Great Britain postcards overprinted CYPRUS were first issued. Postcards with the name Cyprus in the design were first issued in July 1881. With changes in postage rates and the design different postcards continued to be made available to date.
As with postcards British registration envelopes were made available from July 1878, these were followed by Great Britain overprinted registration envelopes in April 1880 and in 1881 registration envelopes with the name Cyprus in the design were issued. In total over 150 different registration envelopes have been issued to date.
The first newspaper wrappers were Great Britain wrapper overprinted CYPRUS and issued in 1880. This wrapper is commonly found mint; only one complete used copy is known. In 1881 the island was supplied with newspaper wrappers with the word Cyprus in the design. Different designs continued to be produced until 1976, after which they were discontinued.
Pre-printed aerogrammes forms (or air letter as they were inscribed), with a 4½ piastre stamp affixed, were first made available in 1944. Aerogrammes with an imprinted stamp were first made available in 1946 and various designs have been produced since that date.
This first day of issue cover celebrating the Indepence of Cyprus features definitive stamps from 1960.
We hope you enjoyed this review of the postal history and indeoendence of Cyprus and are looking forward to celebrating Cyprus independence day on October first.