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The Greek Orthodox Christian legacy bestowed on Greek Cypriots in this period would live on during the succeeding centuries of foreign domination.Because Cyprus was never the final goal of any external ambition, but simply fell under the domination of whichever power was dominant in the eastern Mediterranean, destroying its civilization was never a military objective or necessity.The importance of religion within the Greek Cypriot community was reinforced when the Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus, Makarios III, was elected the first president of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960.For the next decade and a half, enosis was a key issue for Greek Cypriots, and a key cause of events leading up to 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied the northern part of the island.During British rule (1878–1960), the British brought an efficient colonial administration, but government and education were administered along ethnic lines, accentuating differences.For example, the education system was organized with two Boards of Education, one Greek and one Turkish, controlled by Athens and Istanbul, respectively.Politically, the concept of enosis — unification with the Greek "motherland" — became important to literate Greek Cypriots after Greece declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821.A movement for the realization of enosis gradually formed, in which the Church of Cyprus played a dominant role during the Cyprus dispute.
Although religiously tolerant, Ottoman rule was generally harsh and inefficient.
Greek Cypriot land was appropriated for the Latin churches after they were established in the major towns on the island.
In addition, tax collection was also part of the heavy oppressive attitude of the occupiers to the locals of the island, in that it was now being conducted by the Latin churches themselves.
By the early 1990s, Greek Cypriot society enjoyed a high standard of living.
Economic modernization created a more flexible and open society and caused Greek Cypriots to share the concerns and hopes of other secularized West European societies.
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The Republic of Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004, officially representing the entire island, but suspended for the time being in the Turkish occupied north.