Kingdom of Cyprus
Overview
 
The Kingdom of Cyprus was a Crusader kingdom on the island of Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 in the high and late Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, between 1192 and 1489. It was ruled by the French House of Lusignan.
The island was conquered in 1191 by King Richard I of England
Richard I of England
Richard I was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period...

 during the Third Crusade
Third Crusade
The Third Crusade , also known as the Kings' Crusade, was an attempt by European leaders to reconquer the Holy Land from Saladin...

, from Isaac Comnenus, an upstart local governor and self-proclaimed emperor
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 claiming the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. Richard then sold it to the Knights Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

, who in turn sold it to Guy of Lusignan
Guy of Lusignan
Guy of Lusignan was a Poitevin knight, son of Hugh VIII of the prominent Lusignan dynasty. He was king of the crusader state of Jerusalem from 1186 to 1192 by right of marriage to Sibylla of Jerusalem, and of Cyprus from 1192 to 1194...

, jure uxoris
Jure uxoris
Jure uxoris is a Latin term that means "by right of his wife" or "in right of a wife". It is commonly used to refer to a title held by a man whose wife holds it in her own right. In other words, he acquired the title simply by being her husband....

 King of Jerusalem, in 1192 after the failure of Richard's crusade and when Guy was dispossessed of his late wife's kingdom.
Encyclopedia
The Kingdom of Cyprus was a Crusader kingdom on the island of Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 in the high and late Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, between 1192 and 1489. It was ruled by the French House of Lusignan.

History

The island was conquered in 1191 by King Richard I of England
Richard I of England
Richard I was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period...

 during the Third Crusade
Third Crusade
The Third Crusade , also known as the Kings' Crusade, was an attempt by European leaders to reconquer the Holy Land from Saladin...

, from Isaac Comnenus, an upstart local governor and self-proclaimed emperor
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 claiming the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. Richard then sold it to the Knights Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

, who in turn sold it to Guy of Lusignan
Guy of Lusignan
Guy of Lusignan was a Poitevin knight, son of Hugh VIII of the prominent Lusignan dynasty. He was king of the crusader state of Jerusalem from 1186 to 1192 by right of marriage to Sibylla of Jerusalem, and of Cyprus from 1192 to 1194...

, jure uxoris
Jure uxoris
Jure uxoris is a Latin term that means "by right of his wife" or "in right of a wife". It is commonly used to refer to a title held by a man whose wife holds it in her own right. In other words, he acquired the title simply by being her husband....

 King of Jerusalem, in 1192 after the failure of Richard's crusade and when Guy was dispossessed of his late wife's kingdom. His brother and successor, Amalric I of Cyprus, received the royal crown and title from Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry VI was King of Germany from 1190 to 1197, Holy Roman Emperor from 1191 to 1197 and King of Sicily from 1194 to 1197.-Early years:Born in Nijmegen,...

. A small minority Roman Catholic population of the island was mainly confined to some coastal cities, such as Famagusta
Famagusta
Famagusta is a city on the east coast of Cyprus and is capital of the Famagusta District. It is located east of Nicosia, and possesses the deepest harbour of the island.-Name:...

, as well as inland Nicosia
Nicosia
Nicosia from , known locally as Lefkosia , is the capital and largest city in Cyprus, as well as its main business center. Nicosia is the only divided capital in the world, with the southern and the northern portions divided by a Green Line...

, the traditional capital. Roman Catholics kept the reins of power and control, while the Orthodox inhabitants lived in the countryside; this was much the same as the arrangement in the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

. The independent Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 Church of Cyprus
Cypriot Orthodox Church
The Church of Cyprus is an autocephalous Greek church within the communion of Orthodox Christianity. It is one of the oldest Eastern Orthodox autocephalous churches, achieving independence from the Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East in 431...

, with its own archbishop and subject to no patriarch, was allowed to remain on the island, but the Latin Church
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 largely displaced it in stature and holding property.
After the death of Amalric of Lusignan, the Kingdom continually passed to a series of young boys who grew up as king. The Ibelin
Ibelin
Ibelin was a castle in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem in the 12th century , which gave its name to an important family of nobles.-The castle:...

 family, which had held much power in Jerusalem prior its downfall, acted as regents during these early years. In 1229 one of the Ibelin regents was forced out of power by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

, who brought the struggle between the Guelphs and Ghibellines
Guelphs and Ghibellines
The Guelphs and Ghibellines were factions supporting the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor, respectively, in central and northern Italy. During the 12th and 13th centuries, the split between these two parties was a particularly important aspect of the internal policy of the Italian city-states...

 to the island. Frederick's supporters were defeated in this struggle by 1233, although it lasted longer in the Kingdom of Jerusalem and in the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. Frederick's Hohenstaufen
Hohenstaufen
The House of Hohenstaufen was a dynasty of German kings in the High Middle Ages, lasting from 1138 to 1254. Three of these kings were also crowned Holy Roman Emperor. In 1194 the Hohenstaufens also became Kings of Sicily...

 descendants continued to rule as kings of Jerusalem until 1268 when Hugh III of Cyprus claimed the title and its territory of Acre for himself upon the death of Conrad III of Jerusalem, thus uniting the two kingdoms. The territory in Palestine was finally lost while Henry II
Henry II of Jerusalem
Henry II of Jerusalem and Henry II of Cyprus, born Henri de Lusignan was the last ruling and first titular King of Jerusalem and also ruled as King of Cyprus as Henry II...

 was king in 1291, but the kings of Cyprus continued to claim the title.

Like Jerusalem, Cyprus had a Haute Cour (High Court), although it was less powerful than it had been in Jerusalem. The island was richer and more feudal than Jerusalem, so the king had more personal wealth and could afford to ignore the Haute Cour. The most important vassal family was the multi-branch House of Ibelin
Ibelin
Ibelin was a castle in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem in the 12th century , which gave its name to an important family of nobles.-The castle:...

. However, the king was often in conflict with the Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 merchants, especially because Cyprus had become the centre of European trade with Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 after the fall of Acre
Siege of Acre (1291)
The Siege of Acre took place in 1291 and resulted in the loss of the Crusader-controlled city of Acre to the Muslims. It is considered one of the most important battles of the time period. Although the crusading movement continued for several more centuries, the capture of the city marked the end...

 in 1291.

The kingdom eventually came to be dominated more and more in the 14th century by the Genoese
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 merchants. Cyprus therefore sided with the Avignon Papacy
Avignon Papacy
The Avignon Papacy was the period from 1309 to 1376 during which seven Popes resided in Avignon, in modern-day France. This arose from the conflict between the Papacy and the French crown....

 in the Great Schism
Western Schism
The Western Schism or Papal Schism was a split within the Catholic Church from 1378 to 1417. Two men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope. Driven by politics rather than any theological disagreement, the schism was ended by the Council of Constance . The simultaneous claims to the papal chair...

, in the hope that the French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 would be able to drive out the Italians. The Mameluks then made the kingdom a tributary state
Tributary state
The term tributary state refers to one of the two main ways in which a pre-modern state might be subordinate to a more powerful neighbour. The heart of the relationship was that the tributary would send a regular token of submission to the superior power...

 in 1426; the remaining monarchs gradually lost almost all independence, until 1489 when the last Queen, Catherine Cornaro, was forced to sell the island to Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

.

List of Monarchs of Cyprus

  • Guy of Lusignan
    Guy of Lusignan
    Guy of Lusignan was a Poitevin knight, son of Hugh VIII of the prominent Lusignan dynasty. He was king of the crusader state of Jerusalem from 1186 to 1192 by right of marriage to Sibylla of Jerusalem, and of Cyprus from 1192 to 1194...

     (1192–1194)
  • Amalric of Lusignan
    Amalric II of Jerusalem
    Amalric II of Jerusalem or Amalric I of Cyprus, born Amalric of Lusignan , King of Jerusalem 1197–1205, was an older brother of Guy of Lusignan....

     (1194–1205) (Amaury)
  • Hugh I
    Hugh I of Cyprus
    Hugh I of Cyprus succeeded to the throne of Cyprus on April 1, 1205 underage upon the death of his elderly father Amalric of Lusignan, King of Cyprus and Jerusalem...

     (1205–1218)
  • Henry I
    Henry I of Cyprus
    Henry I of Cyprus, nicknamed the Fat, aka Henry of Lusignan or Henri I le Gros de Lusignan was King of Cyprus from 1218 to 1253. He was the son of Hugh I of Cyprus and Alice of Champagne of Jerusalem. When his father Hugh I died on January 10, 1218, the 8-month-old Henry became king...

     (1218–1253) (Le Gros)
  • Hugh II
    Hugh II of Cyprus
    Hugh II of Cyprus was king of Cyprus and, from the age of 5 years, also Regent of the Kingdom of Jerusalem....

     (1253–1267) (Huguet)
  • Hugh III (1267–1284)
  • John I
    John II of Jerusalem
    John II of Jerusalem was the eldest son of Hugh III of Cyprus and Isabella of Ibelin. He succeeded his father as King of Cyprus on March 24 and was crowned at Santa Sophia, Nicosia on May 11, 1284. His succession as King of Jerusalem was opposed by Charles of Anjou, who had also disrupted his...

     (1284–1285)
  • Henry II
    Henry II of Jerusalem
    Henry II of Jerusalem and Henry II of Cyprus, born Henri de Lusignan was the last ruling and first titular King of Jerusalem and also ruled as King of Cyprus as Henry II...

     (1285–1324)
    • Amalric of Tyre (1306–1310), Regent and usurper
  • Hugh IV
    Hugh IV of Cyprus
    Hugh IV of Cyprus was King of Cyprus from 31 March 1324 to his abdication, on 24 November 1358 and, nominally, King of Jerusalem, as Hugh II, until his death...

     (1324–1359)
  • Peter I
    Peter I of Cyprus
    Peter I of Cyprus or Pierre I de Lusignan was King of Cyprus, and Titular King of Jerusalem from his father's abdication on 24 November 1358 until his own death in 1369. He was also Latin King of Armenia from either 1361 or 1368...

     (1359–1369)
  • Peter II
    Peter II of Cyprus
    Peter II of Cyprus or Pierre II le Gros de Lusignan , called The Fat, was king of Cyprus from 17 January 1369 until his death.-Biography:...

     (1369–1382) (Perrin)
  • James I
    James I of Cyprus
    James I of Cyprus was Regent of Cyprus for his infant nephew Peter from 1369. When Peter died in 1382, James became King of Cyprus that year...

     (1382–1398)
  • Janus
    Janus of Cyprus
    Janus of Cyprus was a King of Cyprus, King of Armenia and a Titular King of Jerusalem from 1398 to 1432.-Biography:He was born in Genoa where his father, King James I of Cyprus was a captive...

     (1398–1432)
  • John II
    John II of Cyprus
    John II or III of Cyprus was the King of Cyprus and Armenia and also titular King of Jerusalem from 1432 to 1458. He was previously a Titular Prince of Antioch...

     (1432–1458)
  • Charlotte
    Charlotte of Cyprus
    Charlotte , was Queen of Cyprus and Princess of Antioch, as well as titular Queen of Jerusalem and Armenia.She was the eldest and only surviving daughter of King John II of Cyprus and Helena Palaiologina. At the age of 14, she succeeded to the Cypriot throne upon the death of her father in 1458...

     (1458–1464) and 1459–1464 with her husband Louis of Savoy
    Louis of Savoy, Count of Geneva
    Louis of Savoy was King of Cyprus, reigning together with and in the right of his wife, Queen Charlotte of Cyprus. He was the second son and namesake of Louis, Duke of Savoy, and his wife Anne of Lusignan, daughter of King Janus of Cyprus...

  • James II
    James II of Cyprus
    James II of Cyprus or Jacques II le Bâtard de Lusignan , was the illegitimate son of John II of Cyprus and Marietta de Patras.-Archbishop of Nicosia:...

     (1464–1473) (Jacques le Bâtard)
  • James III
    James III of Cyprus
    James III of Cyprus was the only and posthumous child by marriage of James II of Cyprus and Catherine Cornaro and King of Cyprus from birth. He died in mysterious circumstances as an infant, leaving his mother as the last Queen of Cyprus. His death paved the way for Venice to gain control of...

     (1473–1474)
  • Catherine Cornaro
    Catherine Cornaro
    Nobil Donna Catherine Cornaro was Queen of Cyprus from 1474 to 1489 and declared a "Daughter of Saint Mark" in order that Venice could claim control of Cyprus after the death of her husband, James II .-Family:She was born in Venice in 1454 and was the daughter of a well-known and powerful family of...

     (1474–1489)

Pretenders of the Kingdom of Cyprus

  • Eugene Matteo de Armenia (148?–1523), said by his own progeny to have been an illegitimate son of King James II of Cyprus
    James II of Cyprus
    James II of Cyprus or Jacques II le Bâtard de Lusignan , was the illegitimate son of John II of Cyprus and Marietta de Patras.-Archbishop of Nicosia:...

     and if born in the 1480s he was quite a posthumous specimen, alleged to have moved to Sicily then Malta, founder of the family of Baron di Baccari (Tal-Baqqar).
  • Charlotte (d 1487) and Louis (d 1482), queen and king-consort, continued as pretenders, Charlotte renounced 1482 in favor of:
  • Charles I of Savoy
    Charles I of Savoy
    Charles I , surnamed the Warrior, was the Duke of Savoy from 1482 to 1490 and titular king of Cyprus, Jerusalem, and Armenia from 1485 to 1490....

     (1482–90), legitimate great-grandson of Janus of Cyprus, son of a first cousin of Charlotte, second cousin of James III, nephew of Louis
  • Charles II of Savoy (1490–96)
  • Yolande Louise of Savoy
    Yolande Louise of Savoy
    Yolande Louise of Savoy , was a Duchess Consort of Savoy; married to Philibert II, Duke of Savoy.She was daughter of Duke Charles I of Savoy, the Warrior, and Blanche of Montferrat, as well as granddaughter of Philibert's late uncle, Duke Amedeo IX of Savoy...

     (1496–99) and Philibert II of Savoy (d 1504)
    • Philip II of Savoy (1496–97), father of Philibert II, great-uncle of Charles II and of Yolande Louise, first cousin of Charlotte, grandson of Janus of Cyprus.
  • and several others. The rights diverted de jure, but were claimed by the male line. See further under Cypriot claimants under Kings of Jerusalem. By 1476, the various claims were so diverse and weak that various monarchs sought former Cypriot queens to cede them their rights. Even the Republic of Venice briefly entertained the idea of setting up Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers
    Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers
    Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers was an English nobleman, courtier, and writer.He was the eldest son of Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers and Jacquetta of Luxembourg. Like his father, he was originally a Lancastrian, fighting on that side at the Battle of Towton, but later became a Yorkist...

    , the brother-in-law of England's King Edward IV
    Edward IV of England
    Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England...

     (who was secretly negotiating a marriage to the Scottish princess Cecilia on Anthony's behalf), as a claimant by purchasing the rights of former Cypriot queens Charlotte and Catarina Cornaro. A convention in Venice of 1476 declared "Anthony Arnite" heir to the combined kingdom of Jerusalem-Cyprus but this came to nought when Anthony died before even his marriage to the sister of James Stewart, King of Scots could be celebrated, and the former Cypriot queens ceded their rights elsewhere. Charlotte to the Italian house of Savoy and Catarina Cornaro to the Republic of Venice which asserted its claim to the kingdom as a republic, without even a candidate for king.

See also

  • Grand Officers of the Kingdom of Cyprus
    Officers of the Kingdom of Cyprus
    The Kingdom of Cyprus, as an offshoot of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, maintained many of the same offices, such as: seneschal, constable, marshal, admiral, Chamberlain, and chancellor....

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