Recreating rural Britain and maintaining Britishness in the Mediterranean: the Troodos Hill Station in early British Cyprus
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Britain occupied Cyprus in 1878 for strategic reasons, but while these reasons were being questioned, it was decided to establish a hill station. This was the one thing that the British could agree on, namely that they wanted a space safe enough to protect them from the harsh summer, unhealthy towns and marshy plains of Cyprus. The Troodos Hill Station became the summer capital of the Cyprus Colonial Government within a year of the occupation of Cyprus. At Troodos, the officers of the civil and military establishments, expatriates and travellers, spent the sultry summer months. This paper will explore the original and changing role of the hill station and situate it within the colonial structure and imaginary. I will contend that it was vital in creating and maintaining British identity, namely the rural life of country Britain. It was only at the isolated confines of Troodos that the British could recreate the social and cultural setting of home, because it was only there where they could disengage from the social, political and cultural conditions of the cities. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the Cyprus Government had a protective attitude to its position there against the demands of the military authorities for land rights.