April 1 is July 4 in Cyprus

In Cyprus, April 1 is no joke.  In fact, to Cypriots, this is their 4th of July–their day of independence from England.  On April 1, 1955, the military campaign of the Cypriots officially began. The group EOKA Εθνική Οργάνωσις Κυπρίων Αγωνιστών, Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston (“National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters”) launched attacks on the British controlled Cyprus Broadcasting Station in the capital of Nicosia.

At the peak of the conflict, EOKA had 1,250 members. This little group fought the British security forces of 40,000 troops.  It was a modern-day David and Goliath battle. A lot happened in the next five years that would challenge any historian to document it. But finally on 16 August, 1960 Cyprus finally gained independence from the United Kingdom.

So the next time you visit the sunny shores of Cyprus and enjoy the peaceful mountain scenes, meet the hospitable Cypriots, remember that their fathers fought on this land in order to have a free Cyprus.