British Cyprus, 1878–1918
From backwater to bustling war base
in Serving the empire in the Great War
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This chapter explores the development of Cypriot society from its late Ottoman period and the first decades of British rule to understand the conditions that pushed and pulled so many Cypriot men to enlist in the Cypriot Mule Corps. During Ottoman rule Cypriot society had greater socio-economic and sociopolitical cleavages than religious or ethnic. Cyprus attained some strategic significance from mid-1916 as a bustling military, humanitarian and provisions base connected to the 'Eastern Campaigns', which impacted on the island. The chapter overviews the impact of the war and the role of Cyprus in it beyond the Cypriot Mule Corps. The war diary of the Director of Supplies and Transport, Salonica, Brigadier-General Arthur Long, shows how valuable Cyprus was for allied supplies in Egypt, Salonica and France.

Serving the empire in the Great War

The Cypriot Mule corps, imperial loyalty and silenced memory


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