Strategically located in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Republic of Cyprus was occupied by several powerful nations such as the Assyrian empire, Egyptians, and Persians. It was also administered by the Ottoman Empire for over three centuries and was set under the UK administration in 1878.
In 1879, the Cypriot pound was introduced by the British government at the same rate as the British pound sterling and 1 pound to 180 Turkish piastres. On December 2, 1914, following the takeover of the country by the British, a set of notes printed by Thomas De La Rue was issued.
Coin shortage was experienced in Cyprus in 1919, forcing the government printers in Nicosia to stamp unused 1918 5-shilling banknotes with cancellation design on the obverse. The reverse was printed with new text, and the notes were cut to produce three -shilling notes. In 1920, the Government of Cyprus issued 1 and 2 shilling banknotes.
When King George V died on January 20, 1936, his son Edward VIII took over the throne. However, on December 11, 1936, King Edward VIII stepped down that led to King George VI’s enthronement. In honor of the new king’s coronation, a new set of notes were issued bearing the coronation date.
Before the death of King George VI, the printing order for 5-shilling notes with modern Turkish characters was already placed. Therefore, Bradbury, Wilkinson, & Company printed 500,000 notes with King George VI and other 500,000 notes bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait.
After gaining its freedom on August 16, 1960, Cyprus issued with the same color schemes as the previous issues but with different designs. With the establishment of the Central Bank of Cyprus, similar notes were released bearing the new issuer name.
Another family of notes was issued from 1977 to 1985. Several more issues were released afterward, with similar color schemes but with enhanced security features.
At the beginning of January 2008, the currency was replaced by the euro.