Since the 19th century the wish or demand of the Greek Cypriots to become officially united with the Greek state determined the political life of the island. The identification of Cyprus with ellinikótita (greekness), which includes the Greek language, the Orthodox creed and the Greek-Orthodox cultural tradition, was taken for granted regardless of the centuries of various occupations (Richard the Lionheart and the Knights Templar, Franks, Venetians, Ottomans, British), due to the majority of the Greek speaking Orthodox population of the island (close to 80%). As a matter of fact, the only historic period which was not regarded as ‘occupation’ was during the Byzantine rule (7th-12th centuries).
During the 19th century the union (énosis) belief was strengthened even more because of the romantic Greek goal of the Megáli Idéa (Great Idea) and the consequent irredentist policy, which culminated during the 1955-1959 National Organization of Cypriot Fighters’ (Ethniki Organosi Kiprion Agoniston, or EOKA) guerrilla war against the British authority.
The independence of the island in 1960 was perceived as a step towards the goal of union (énosis) and that mindset led to the turbulent political upheavals during the next fourteen years. This grassroots’ conviction is apparent in the fact that in the present time the Democracy of Cyprus shares the same national anthem with Greece and uses equally the Greek flag along with the Cypriot one.