Italian Taxation and Tax Havens

Definition of taxation

Levy system applied by a government to individuals, businesses and property, primarily to obtain revenue with which to finance public spending. The tax, however, can be used for other economic and social objectives:

For example, to promote the balance of the economy, favoring or reducing various forms of activity, to implement social reforms through the modification of the distribution of wealth.

Principles of taxation

The tax systems perform different functions, according to the specific responsibilities granted under the current government. In Italy, local authorities, ie Region, Province and Municipality, are depending in large part on taxes upon property, while the central agencies depend on the sales tax and income taxes.

Local governments must keep expenditures within budget, limits determined by their own revenue added to the payments received by central governments. The latter, however, can create money, and should not necessarily derive from the tax system enough revenue to balance the budget.

The tax system also not only serves as a means to raise revenue, but also represents the main instrument of fiscal policy. Together with the control of the money supply (monetary policy), the government aims to maintain economic stability (which is reflected in price levels and employment). During the early stages of depression the deliberate reductions of taxes, causing budget deficits, granting more money available to spend on consumption and investment, with the effect of stimulating production. Today almost all modern democracies have embraced the four principles of taxation set out in the eighteenth century by the Scottish economist Adam Smith:

Fair taxation

It is essential in a democratic country that any tax is fair, in other words, that citizens are taxed in proportion to their ability and their income. A tax is considered fair if those who can pay are burdened in proportion to their ability to pay or, depending on the situation, in relation to what they receive from the government.

Both “ability to pay” and the “benefits received”, therefore, are valid criteria of fairness. When public services are causing personal benefits quantifiable and exclusive to certain individuals and when it can be expected that the beneficiaries assume a reasonable part of the cost, it is considered proper to finance the benefits themselves, even if partially, by taxing the beneficiaries of the service.

Taxation is based both on ability to pay and on the taxation of the benefit, meets the requirements of vertical equity, because this tax system collects different amounts of taxpayers in different conditions. Equally important is the horizontal equity principle: individuals have the same ability to pay and receive the same benefits should be taxed equally.

Confidence in the System

The application of a tax should be clear and certain. This principle, which is considered essential by Smith, was often overlooked in modern tax systems. In countries where the application of taxes is uncertain and arbitrary, however, the citizen can not have confidence in the system.

For example, high rates of inflation have often created fear and uncertainty with regard to the increase in the tax burden and doubts about the fairness of taxes on inflated values. These reactions show the importance of clarity and certainty which the basis of a system of taxation respectable.

==Semplicity of the System== ex Comfort

The fulfillment of tax obligations should be easy and comfortable. Compliance with the tax laws increases significantly in countries where it was introduced a system of deduction of tax from your pay (for example, in Italy, in the case of employees).

Efficiency of the System

A good tax system should be structured in such a way that they can be administered efficiently and economically. Expensive taxes or difficult to manage divert resources to unproductive uses and reduce confidence in taxation and government.

The principles of fiscal Smith have held up well to the test of time. Other principles have been added to the list, but some have proved counterproductive.

An example is the elasticity, ie, the automatic reaction of taxes to changes in economic conditions, without retouching rates. High elasticity, however, creates imbalances in periods of high inflation, pushing people to higher income, although the purchasing power of their income fails to keep pace with rising prices. The enormous sums thus obtained encourage government spending just when the growing burden of taxation discourage work, savings and investment.

This situation may cause or worsen a state of economic stagnation (ie, a situation in which there occurs no growth or decline in national income) accompanied by inflation.

In these cases the withholding taxes become too elastic and are necessary adjustments to take account of inflation.

In addition, taxes dictated by the Tax System must follow certain legal principles, which are those criteria which should guide the legislator in establishing and regulating taxes.

Our legal system recognizes a great importance to these principles, which are, in fact, indicated by the Italian Constitution itself, and for this reason the results become true constitutional principles.

The legal principles of tax are:

Rule of law which is obtained by art. 23 of the Italian Constitution, which states that no personal service or financial nature may be imposed except on the basis of law.

Only the Parliament representing the people can impose taxes, the principle of legality, already enshrined in the liberal constitutions, aiming to protect the individual against the possible misuse of public administration.

The principle of generality or universality that is derived from art. 53 of the Constitution, according to which all are bound to contribute to public expenditure according to their ability to pay, and this principle is derived from the consistent application in the tax of another constitutional principle that of equality enshrined, article 3 of the Constitution, according to which all citizens are equal before the law.

The principle of uniformity of tax which is also the foundation in the constitutional principle of equality states that the tax burden should lie evenly on individual taxpayers, that is, must hit fairly taxpayers, taking into account of different individuals.

In order to comply with the principle of uniformity of tax, you must base our tribute to an objective parameter represented by the subjective circumstances of the taxpayer, then a precise statement is contained in art. 53 once again of the Constitution, which identifies the parameter in the ability to pay.

The latter is inferred by some indicators, such as income, assets, consumer spending and all those elements, which can be determined concretely, to measure the subjects' ability to contribute to public expenditure.

Finally, there is the principle of progressivity of the Constitution, which states that the tax system should be based on criteria of progressivity.

It is believed, therefore, that the ability to pay of individuals to grow in more than proportionally to the tax base: the interests of fairness justify taxation that grows more than proportionally to the tax base.

Compliance with the constitutional principle of progressivity does not mean that all individual taxes should be progressive, but that the set of all taxes are realised with a character of progressivity, so they are also allowed proportional taxes where the tax rate is always constant regardless of the tax base .

Who was Adam Smith

Smith, Adam (1723 Kirkcaldy - Edinburgh 1790), Scottish philosopher and economist. Smith, who made his studies at the universities of Glasgow and Oxford, he gave lectures on rhetoric and literature in Edinburgh from 1748 to 1751. During this period, he established a close collaboration with the philosopher David Hume, which lasted until the latter's death in 1776 and which contributed greatly to the development of ethical and economic theories of Smith.

He was appointed professor of logic in 1751 and professor of moral philosophy at the University of Glasgow in 1752. Then he gathered his lessons of ethics in his first great work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). Smith became acquainted with many of the leading exponents of the school of the Physiocrats of the continent and was particularly influenced by François Quesnay and Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, from which he drew some elements that came together in his theory. From 1766 he worked on the Wealth of Nations: The work, published in 1776, would mark the beginning of the history of economics as an autonomous science. The Wealth of Nations is the first serious attempt in the history of economic thought to separate political economy from the related disciplines of political theory, ethics and law. This work is a penetrating analysis of the processes of production and distribution of economic wealth, and shows that the main sources of income of every resident in the work (proportion of productive workers in the total population) and in the level of labor productivity. The main thesis of the Wealth of Nations is that the work, and therefore the capital that increases productivity, is used in the best way in the non-public interference and free trade. To explain these thesis, Smith used the famous metaphor of the “invisible hand”: each individual, in pursuing their own interests, is pushed, as by an invisible hand, to work for the good of the whole community. Any interference in the free competition by government is therefore almost certainly harmful.

Fair features of taxes

Taxes can be:

  • real if they hit the wealth without taking into account the personal circumstances of the taxpayer;
  • personal if they take into account the economic, social and family condition of the taxpayer.

In addition, taxes are directed if affecting immediate manifestations of ability to pay (income received or capital owned), and indirect if they hit the mediated events of ability to pay (the consumption of their income, the transfer of the owned assets, the exchange of goods and services) from which one can infer the existence of available wealth, and so an ability to pay.

They may be general if imposed on all similar categories of wealth, regardless of their specific nature, and affect in the same manner (personal income tax). They are special if they affect only specific categories of wealth, or hit them all but with different modes (excise duty on alcohol or mineral oils, etc.)

Then the tax may be progressive if the tax rate increases as the tax base, if it is proportionally growing with the tax base and regressive when the rate decreases as the tax base.

The taxes which are applied in Italy are more progressive type (the most important is the personal income tax), but some are proportional (corporate income tax). Regarding the regressive taxes, they are not generally applied in our tax system.

The progressiveness of the tax can be continuous if the tax rate increases with the minimum increase of the taxable amount, for deduction if the tax rate is expected to be constant (as in the case of a proportional tax) and is applied to a fixed deduction for classes when the assessment is divided into classes and to each class is applied a different rate (income tax) and brackets if the assessment is split into parts (brackets), with rates increasing. In the latter case the higher rate does not apply to the entire taxable income, but only to the part that exceeds the limit of the lower bracket. The italian system has opted for the progressive tax brackets because it has proved to be more equitable than before, ensuring greater equity in respect of some taxpayers, since the higher rate affects only the part of the income that intrudes into the higher taxable bracket (and not the entire taxable income).

Our system of taxation, but also that of other countries, consider three indicators of wealth or the ability of taxpayers to pay:

  • what they own (property taxes);
  • how much they spend (consumption tax);
  • how much they earn (income tax ) and (taxes on corporate profits).

Consumption taxes: general taxation on trade, customs duties and excise and other. They have the characteristic of being less burdensome for the individual taxpayer compared to income tax (PIT). In the month of June taxpayers are required to submit an income tax return for the previous year, indicating the amount of tax on personal income due to the Treasury for that year in a lump sum and paying any balance still owed.

Tax charge (VAT) instead is generally included in the sale price, for which a payment by the consumer was made at every single act of purchase. Thanks to this operation, the tax charge is as for him less perceptible. It is therefore a phenomenon of financial illusion.

Development of taxation in history

Consumption taxes have emerged as “excise duty”, manufacturing or consumption of certain goods, usually of paramount importance, in order to ensure a revenue to the state budget, hit the goods the consumption of which constituted a significant percentage of national income. Included in this group: the tax on ground of the last century, taxes on salt, on alcohol, sugar, edible oils, tobacco, electricity and gas, mineral oil, etc. … For practical purposes of assessment and collection of such, taxes were generally specific, commensurate on quantitative elements. The first ad valorem taxes on real special character in modern tax systems arise in the period 1916-1923, in order to finance the costs of the First World War, and takes the form of a stamp duty applied on invoices relating to sales of certain luxury products. The success of this form of taxation encourages states to extend their application to all trade in goods. It is so established the general tax on sales, variously called in different countries. The tax spreads rapidly and is characterized by a general taxation of sales of goods at a rate generally moderate (1-2%). Around 1931, the great crisis from further impetus to this form of taxation, to provide additional resources to the public budget in order to finance the costs necessary to reduce unemployment, and with the increase in tax rates in the countries which was already in force, both with his introduction of the tax system in many countries. The Second World War, again under the pressure of financial needs, but also as a tool to compress the private consumption, sees further expansion of the tax, with a generalization of its tax base (even with the extension of services) and with the its introduction in countries traditionally opposed to this form of taxation (England). From the first post-war period, while new trends in the technical structure of the tax revolt to suppress the cumulative multi-stage tax on the full value, in order to replace it with non-cumulative forms. The end point will be represented by the introduction, in several European countries, the non-cumulative multistage tax, VAT. The Value added tax is the main tool of indirect taxation adopted in many countries, including member states of the European Union. The I. V.A. (italian name for VAT) affects the increase in value that the goods and services at different stages of the production cycle and distribution. It's also called multi-staged in that it affects every stage of production and distribution. This type of tax has the advantage of neutrality given because at any subsequent exchange the VAT tax affects only the increase in value of the property (not the full value), the tax burden does not vary with the number of exchanges : in other words it does not occur any cascading effect, ie effects of cumulative type. In addition, another feature is that of transparency at every stage of the production - distribution process is possible to determine accurately the overall burden of tax incorporated in its price: for example, if the tax rate is 10% and a certain asset is sold retail at the price of 176000 inclusive of VAT, with a ratio of over a hundred, it is possible to to obtain the total value of the tax incorporated in the price of sale of the property: 176000 * 10/110 = 16000

Taxes on Corporate income and on productive activities

As for the business taxes are: IRAP (regional tax on productive activities) and corporate income tax (income tax of legal persons) that affects the corporation. With the Legislative Decree of 18/12/97, the corporate income tax has become an income tax with two rates (dual income tax, known as DIT).

The instrument DIT allows the imposition of a preferential tax regime according to certain rules interventions that lead to increases in shareholders' equity arises, thus it aims to tackle one of the aspects of traditional weakness of the italian production system, namely the widespread under-capitalization of companies. The mechanism of facilitation provided by this decree has, however, proved less effective influence, and this has prompted Parliament to intervene with the mandate contained in the Act 13/05/1999 133 to extend and enhance the discipline of the dual income tax, it is expected to corporations applying a multiplier of the capital invested and for sole proprietorships and partnerships, the reference to the entire equity.

The legislation, resulting in Legislative Decree no. 18/01/2000 n.9, aims to enhance the effects of the dual incentive income tax setting in summary the following:

  • The total net income declared by the capital company is chargeable to income tax at the rate of 19% for the portion corresponding to the ordinary remuneration of the increase in the capital invested than that existing at year-end in progress at 30/09/1996, increased by 20% for the tax period following the one in progress at 30/9 1999 and 40% for tax periods in practice the multiplier is set equal to 1 , 2 for the year 2000 and to 1.4 for subsequent shots. For the remainder of the income tax rate of 37%;

The ordinary remuneration is determined by decree of the Minister of Finance, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, Budget and Economic Planning, by 31 March each year, taking into account the average financial performance of public and private bonds, which may be increased Up to 3% as compensation for the greater risk, the interest rate of 7% of the ordinary so far applied in the future can be changed. It must be said that the application of subsidy can not determine an average rate of tax lower than 27%, otherwise it is applied to a single rate of 35% on total income. With regard to the IRAP tax rate of 4.25%. The tax base is obtained by subtracting from the value of production by extra production costs deductible and non-deductible excluding those which are respectively: the portion of the lease payments attributable to interest expense, certain personnel costs, fees for freelance workers , write-downs of tangible and intangible assets, and impairment losses on receivables, and others.

The tax system before the reform of 1971

The italian country, for reasons still debated by historians, has achieved national unity in late and in conditions of considerable economic backwardness. Consequently, for a long historical period, the need to obtain public savings sufficient to create environmental conditions (infrastructure, services, etc..) in ordero fill this delay, constituted for Italy an underlying problem. This requirement has caused a severe compression of popular consumption, compression created through the tax system. According to some historians, however, sharply contradicted by others, this policy choice was the cause of further delay in our country, after the unification, in industrial development. However, this choice was a notable reflection on the Italian tax system. From the early years of the unification of Italy until the second world war the taxation has been consistently high, namely the total tax revenue, the share of the consumption tax, ie those impositions that weigh relatively more on classes who benefit from low incomes.

Particularly severe for the poorer classes were the tax on grinding cereals (tax on ground) who came to provide 8% tax revenue giving rise to numerous protests and popular revolts - and the tax on salt in which the state was and still is the monopolist producer. Another burdensome tax was the duty on corn. The tax on the ground was abolished in 1884, the duty on corn in 1902. In the social ferment of the years that followed the First World War was creating the condition for a possible renewal of its tax system. It was introduced a windfall tax on capital and, after a long debate, the complementary tax (a tax which, as discussed below, being commensurate with the total income of individuals, tends to realize the principle of tax equalization). It was in this way they can maintain the level of incidence of taxes on income and assets that had been during the war, a time when the state had necessarily had to bear more on the income of wealthy people, given the low level which they had reduced the popular consumption. The advent of fascism stopped this innovative process and, as a result, the consolidation of the new regime led to a change of address, in particular, the complementary tax, which was that he was entrusted with an equalizing function in the distribution of the tax burden, not reached its objective mainly because of the low level of rates and criteria for the assessment of taxable income. After the Second World War, social issues that had characterized the national liberation movement were translated, as regards the tax problem, in some principles that were enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic, in which the italian citizen accepted the principle of ability to pay (article 53) in the distribution of the tax burden. Thus, the tax system is confirmed on criteria of progression.

Some improvements in this direction were introduced with minimum income exemptions, with the introduction of corporation tax and withholding tax, but the most important reform, that of complement, which was implemented in 1951 on the initiative of the Minister Vanoni, gave rather modest results. In the climate of adjusting the structure of the state to the new functions which it, in a modern society, has to perform in the field of the economy, in 1971 it finally passed a comprehensive reform of the tax system as a whole which came into force on January 1, 1974. They were later enacted several measures aimed is to adapt the system to new needs, and to make it more homogeneous than those of the other EEC countries. Our tax system is therefore modeled essentially on the guiding principles of this reform whose bottom lines are modeled on the tax systems of the countries of the EEC. Some elements of the old tax system, however, are left alive, and now form a single whole with the new system. The tax reform was made by Law No 9 October 1971. 825, and entered into force on 1st January 1974.The old system was widely considered outdated and essentially unacceptable for these reasons:

  • it was too complex, both for the large number of charges existing and the excessive number of laws (not always clear);
  • the uncertainty rendered the system unfairly expensive, mainly because of the possibility of tax evasion that it offered;
  • some taxes (IGE in particular) created distorting effects on the internal structure of firms and prices;
  • it was not very flexible to meet the needs of economic intervention.

The tax reform has tended to:

  • rationalize taxes (even reducing them in number);
  • better distribute the tax burden;
  • minimize the exemptions;
  • reduce evasion through better assessment, made possible by the establishment of the tax (national center for collection of relevant acts, for tax purposes, made by individual taxpayers).

In our tax system, the most important taxes are: the value-added tax (VAT), the tax on personal income tax (PIT), and progressive personal income tax burden, income tax of legal persons (corporate income tax), personal and proportional affecting the income of a legal person (eg a company) and the local tax on increasing real value of the property (INVIM), which affects the increase in value of real estates.

Since no form of wealth is a perfect indicator of the ability of the taxpayer, many modern nations are looking to new ways to diversify their tax systems. Many think the ability to pay in terms of income, and this point of view, however, is losing ground as they become more and more explicit the iniquities of modern tax systems based on income. The property tax has also been subject to much criticism. A global form of taxation on consumer spending has gained support among tax experts, but not among citizens. No tax is levied in a perfectly uniform, it is inevitable that its weight falls more sharply on some taxpayers. Exemptions, exceptions, and other techniques to pay less taxes are partly the result of humanitarian concern for those who suffer the “brunt”, in part it reflect the political pressures, partly resulting from administrative inefficiency or inability to handle the extremely complex structure of the tax system. Using a variety of taxes, governments can deploy inequalities and thus mitigate the effect. The increase of the tax burden and resentment of taxpayers to the obvious unfairness of the most common taxes, increases the interest for tax designed to ensure fair treatment compared to the benefits received. Among these taxes, there are the ones on fuel, which are intended for the maintenance and construction of roads, a contribution for social security, set aside for insurance against disability and workers' pension funds.

Effects of taxes

The introduction of a new tax always produces significant effects on the economic system. The problems related to these effects can be divided into: issues relating to respect of the rule, problems related to psychological effects on producers, problems related to changes in prices.

The taxpayer who escapes illegally to pay the tax is said tax evader. Tax evasion is a crime and, as such, is punishable by fines or imprisonment. It is also possible that the taxpayer seeks to circumvent the law, violate it, without evading the payment of the tax (tax avoidance) but exploiting the loopholes granted by law in order to avoid the burden of taxes. In this case we speak of tax avoidance.

The tax evasion is a phenomenon that can reach significant proportions especially for businesses, particularly those operating in international markets. Playing on the fact there are more or less favorable tax laws in the various countries of the world, a company can achieve significant tax benefits, with serious damage to the Revenue. There are countries, generally small in size and located in the non-industrialized world, that does not provide for taxation of the income, or applying a very modest taxation: they are the so-called tax havens. The italian law defines tax havens all the countries applying income tax less than half of the one in force in Italy. A law of 1992 has provided a list of low-tax countries, the so-called black list, dividing them into three groups, depending on the extent of the tax advantage granted.

According to some scholars, the introduction of a new tax pushes the affected person to reduce their production activities. In this way, then the taxpayer is subtracted legally, making it be the reasons, to pay a part of the tax (removal of tax). According to other scholars, the introduction of the tax, instead, urges the taxpayer to remove the effects of the tax itself, producing more (elimination of tax). Taxes can have an effect on prices if the affected person has no way to pass it to others, in whole or in part, the burden of the tax. This is possible when the affected person has exchange relationships with others, and can then transfer the tax by increasing the price of the good or service or traded factor.

The person legally hit from tax (taxpayer to right) is called beaten, the person who actually pays (in fact taxpayer) is said engraved.

The translation is done in a more or less pronounced way and it does not occur depending on the circumstances in which the tax work.

The circumstances to be taken into consideration are:

  • Existing market regime;
  • General or specialty of the tax;
  • Elasticity of demand;
  • Length of the period;
  • Type of tax;
  • Mobility of capital;
  • Increase in the cost of production of the affected goods.

In the market of free competition, the translation occurs if the tax is special, it is generally not the case. However, if there is mobility of capital to foreign countries, the tax can be transferred even if it is general; for special taxes, if the funds are easy to move from one sector to another, the translation occurs more easily.

The translation is hampered by the elasticity of demand, because if the demand is very elastic to the price buyers rather reduce their demand on the market, so it is difficult to increase prices. The examination of market adjustment to new conditions, determined from a tax (rising prices), are much more complete the longer the period of time taken into consideration. In a very short time it is not in fact possible to change the quantity that exists on the market, in a short time it is possible to change it within the limits of the production capacity of existing plants, in a long period is possible to change the production capacity adjusting the plants themselves.

If the costs of production are increasing the translation is applied in a partial way, if constant in an amount equal to the tax, (ie total), if the cost of production are decreasing the price increase exceeds the amount of the tax itself.

In a monopoly the price is set by the monopolist according to the criterion of maximum profit, so if the tax is fixed or proportional to the profit, the translation is not possible, since the profit continues to be the maximum retail price, if it is proportional production or progressive than the profit, the translation is possible, since changing the price at which the maximum profit is realized. The amortization of the tax is the decrease in value of the capital asset from which it derives income hit.

To combat tax evasion the Italian tax system adopts two methods: Crosschecked and opposition of interests. With the first method, public administration, at a time when the taxpayer settles his declaration, assess whether there is proper coordination between the declaration presented for payment of direct taxes and the one submitted for the payment of indirect taxes. The second method of countering tax evasion is the opposition of interests, the legislature implemented by controlling two categories of subjects: for example, with an analysis of the relationship between a doctor and his patient, the state is able to control the tax return of both: the person who made medical spending and the doctor which gave medical advice or service.

Although it is difficult to obtain accurate measurements, governments are understandably careful to relapse vertical tax burden: tax affects the rich more heavily then the poor (progressive taxation), achieving equality in substance, affecting each one according to his ability to pay ( proportional taxation) ensuring formal equality, or otherwise greater burden on the poor (regressive taxation). In many modern nations, a progressive tax structure is generally considered desirable for two reasons. First, because a progressive tax is more equitable (because the rich have a greater ability to pay), and second, because the extremes of wealth and poverty are considered harmful to the economic and social wellbeing, and a progressive structure tends to mitigate these extremes.

On the other hand, the tax rates too progressive (that is, that rise too quickly with increasing taxable) may discourage both labor and investment, eliminating much of the remuneration. In the early eighties, this problem has attracted the attention of politicians directing them towards economic theories that emphasize the importance of avoiding taxes that eliminate the incentives for investment by individuals or companies.

The Tax Havens in the World


Do you live in a country having an high taxation? Have you gain a lot with cryptocurrencies? Are you looking for a tax haven? Surely your country will be “very happy” to know you are leaving. This guide was not be an encouragement to illegality, but simply an examination of these countries. Maybe you will conclude to pay taxes it's not the end of the world. It's part of the duty of a cooperative citizen.

  • Anguilla, Antigua, Netherlands Antilles, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Barbuba, Bermuba, Dominica, Jamaica, Grenada, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts, Saint Vincent
  • SOUTH CENTRAL AMERICA: Costa Rica, Panama, Uruguay.
  • EUROPE: Andorra, Cyprus, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Liechtenstein, Malta, Switzerland.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Obano.
  • AFRICA: Djibouti, Liberia, Seychelles.
  • ASIA: Philippines, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore.
  • PACIFIC: Cook Islands, Nauru, Vanuatu, Western Samoa.


Anguilla (island): Island of the Caribbean Sea, included in the group of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. Of coral origin, it covers 96 km2 and has a characteristic narrow and elongated, and right from its morphological structure, which resembles an eel, has derived its name. The population, almost all descendants of enslaved blacks from Africa, amounts to 7,000 inhabitants, devoted mainly to agriculture (cotton, fruit and vegetables), fishing, extraction of sea salt and the activities linked to a thriving tourism industry. Capital is the small town of The Valley (600 inhabitants), the airport is located in a place called Wallblake, while the ports are in Sandy Ground and Blowing Point. Anguilla was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and was colonized by the British only in 1650. It was officially established the British colony in 1881 together with the islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis, which since 1623 had been occupied by the British, acquiring internal autonomy in 1967. Anguilla (detached from Saint Kitts and Nevis in 1976) is still a British dependency, along with the smaller island of Sombrero (5 km2), ruled by a governor, as the representative of the sovereign, but it has its own constitution. In 1983 Saint Kitts and Nevis have instead attained full independence.


Antigua, City of Southern Guatemala, is the capital of the department of Sacatepéquez, also known as Antigua Guatemala, is located near the country's capital, Guatemala City. It is the main shopping center and market of the surrounding regions, where it is grown selected coffee, wheat, sugarcane, fruit and vegetables. Established in 1527, it was for over two centuries the seat of government of the Spanish colony of Guatemala, which included almost all of Central America. The old town was destroyed by an earthquake in 1773, but they remained some colonial buildings that constitute one of the major tourist attractions of the city.

West Indies

Netherlands Antilles (Dutch Netherlands Antilles), islands, situated in the Caribbean Sea, forming a dependency of the Netherlands. The first group, which includes Curacao and Bonaire (until 1986 also included Aruba, which became independent), is located a short distance from the coast of Venezuela, north-west of the city of Caracas, is part of the Leeward Islands and have a surface of 732 km2. The second group, which is part of the Leeward Islands, is located at the northern end of the chain of the Lesser Antilles, east of Puerto Rico, and includes the southern part of the island of Saint-Martin (Sint Maarten) and the islands of Sint Eustatius and Saba, with a total area of ​​68 km2. The total population is 190,000 inhabitants (1992). The capital and largest urban center in Willemstad, on the island of Curaçao (has a population of 44,000 inhabitants, 1992). The major industry of the Netherlands Antilles is the refining of the oil imported from Venezuela. Major refineries are located in Curacao. Petroleum and its derivatives formed at the end of the eighties, about 85% of export. Other important economic activities are the production of textiles, electronic equipment, rum and salt, tourism, which is a very important item of the budget, and the extraction of calcium phosphate in Curaçao. The currency is the florin of the Netherlands Antilles, which corresponds to about 902 Italian lire (1996). The official language is Dutch, although it is usually used the “Papiamento”, a Creole language formed by the fusion of Spanish and Portuguese. The predominant religion is Catholicism. Executive power is exercised by a governor, appointed by the Dutch government, and the council of ministers. The legislative authority is vested in the Staten Island, consisting of 22 elected members. The defense and foreign affairs are managed from Holland. The Spaniards took possession of the Leeward Islands in 1527, followed in 1634 by the Dutch, who have ruled continuously since the early nineteenth century. The islands, formerly known as the Dutch West Indies (see West Indies), have formed a Dutch colony until 1954, when they became part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.


Aruba is small island located in the Caribbean Sea, a short distance from the coast of Venezuela, near the peninsula of Paraguaná, and included in the Lesser Antilles. He was part of the Netherlands Antilles until 1986, when it was granted internal self-government, with a governor appointed by the king of the Netherlands that manages external relations. It has an area of ​​193 km2. The main sources of income are agriculture, tourism and petrochemical industry. Oranjestad, located at the west end of the island, is the largest city and is the home of the University of Aruba.


Bahama independent state in the West Indies, a member of the Commonwealth (official name: Commonwealth of the Bahamas). The Bahamas comprise an archipelago of about 700 islands and islets and close to 2,400 between rocks and sand banks and coral, which extend into the Caribbean for about 1200 km from Palm Beach (Florida, United States) at the eastern of Cuba land area is 13,939 km2. The capital is Nassau on the island of New Providence, the only other important center is Freeport, Grand Bahama Island. Only about forty islands are inhabited. From the economic point of view, New Providence is the most important and is home to more than half of the total population of the Bahamas, consisting of 85% by blacks. The other major islands are: Acklins, Andros, Cat, Crooked, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, Great Abaco, Great Inagua, Harbour, Long, Mayaguana and San Salvador (Watling). The population in 1992 was estimated at about 264,000 inhabitants, the official language is English. Each year, about three million tourists visit the Bahamas, attracted by the subtropical climate and beautiful beaches: Tourism in fact covers about 50% of the gross domestic product of the state. Thanks to favorable tax laws, hundreds of banks have established their headquarters in the Bahamas, while the industrial activities are not well developed (oil refineries, production of pharmaceuticals, salt, rum and crustaceans). The unit of currency is the Bahamian dollar.


The first European to reach the islands in 1492 was Christopher Columbus who, probably arrived in Samana Cay, San Salvador named them. The first permanent settlers were Spanish but not British, who founded Eleuthera and New Providence in 1648 or so. The Spanish repeatedly attacked these settlements, while the islands later became strongholds of pirates and buccaneers, especially the dreaded Blackbeard. Since 1670 the Bahamas were under the regency of the governor of the British colony of Carolina (North America), the British took it directly then the civil and military control since 1717.

During the American War of Independence, in 1776, Nassau was the basis for a short period of American naval forces, while the Spaniards took possession of the islands in 1782-1783 and the British made it their colony in 1787. The abolition of slavery in 1834 meant that crops plantation here could not stand anymore the competition from those of North America, where slavery still existed. The decline of agriculture, due in part to the impoverishment of the soil, also meant a decline in population, further aggravated by a epidemic cholera breaking out in the mid-nineteenth century. The islands flourished temporarily during the Civil War, when it served to circumvent the embargo, and again during the period of Prohibition in the United States (1920-1933), used as a base for rum. In 1964, Britain granted the Bahamas a partial self-government. It developed racial tensions between parties predominantly black and white, until, in 1967, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), composed mostly of blacks, won the general election and its leader, Lynden O. Pindling, became prime minister. Full independence was achieved 10 July 1973 and remained in the Pindling government for all the seventies and eighties. The most serious problem of unemployment and corruption charges leveled at government came to undermine the consensus. In August 1992, the National Freedom Movement (FNM) won the general election and Hubert Ingraham became the new prime minister. The elections of 1997 Ingraham receive again to the majority of seats in parliament.


Barbados independent state is in the West Indies; the island of Barbados is located east of Saint Vincent, Windward archipelago. It has an area of ​​431 km2 and its capital is Bridgetown.


The island of Barbados has flat coasts, with shallow bays and natural harbours; inside the territory is made of small undulations. The soil is made up of coral deposits placed on sedimentary rocks. The tropical climate is softened by the breezes that blow from the sea and the average annual temperature is about 26.1 ° C. The rainfall, concentrated mainly in the season that lasts from June to December, reaching an average of 1000 mm on the coast and 2300 mm inland; occasionally the island is hit by hurricanes. Limited is the presence of wildlife (rabbits, monkeys, mongooses and numerous species of birds). The original vegetation, almost completely disappeared, has been eliminated to encourage intensive cultivation. There are few mineral resources.

Population, education and culture

The population of Barbados has an average density of 572 inhabitants per km2. Population growth, due to emigration, fell in the mid-eighties, below 1%. The capital Bridgetown is the largest city and the only port on the island. The majority of the population is made up of blacks (90%), the rest are white and mestizo. The official language is English; more than half of the population is Protestant, while some minorities of other religions exist, including the Catholic Church. Education is free from 5 to 16 years of age. Since 1963 in Bridgetown it is located a campus of the University of the West Indies. In Barbados, a British colony for more than three centuries, the culture expresses British influences combined with folk traditions of Africa, clearly distinguishable in music and dances.


The economy is traditionally based on the cultivation of sugarcane and export of sugar, molasses and rum. Sugar cane is grown in small plots as well as on a large scale. Governmental efforts to reduce economic dependence on monoculture of a few products, encouraging industrial production (clothing, furniture, electronic components, plastic) and the exploitation of oil and natural gas reserves recently discovered. Since the seventies, to the traditional fishing activity it has been added tourism, which has brought into the country a steady supply of foreign currency.

System of government

Barbados recognizes the sovereign as head of state of the United Kingdom, represented by a governor general. According to the Constitution of 1966, executive power is exercised by the government (directed and controlled by a council of ministers headed by the prime minister), while the legislative power is entrusted to the Parliament, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives elected by universal suffrage.


Discovered by the Spanish in the sixteenth century, Barbados was caught by the first English settlers in 1627 and became a possession of the British crown in 1663. The prosperity of the island was severely impaired in the eighteenth century by the war between France and Great Britain and, later, the American Civil War. The abolition of slavery in 1834 gave a new impetus to agricultural production and lifted the economic fortunes of the island. In 1876 the British government imposed a confederation between Barbados and the Windward Islands, distant about 160 km. In the decades after the emancipation of the majority of blacks and mestizos gradually led to the political power of the black population, which in some legislatures had a number of representatives higher than that of white landowners. In 1937 the British government was forced to grant to Barbados social and political reforms, which gradually led to the establishment of universal suffrage (1951). From 1958 to 1962 Barbados was part of the Federation of the West Indies, which included Trinidad and Tobago. The island gained the establishment of a form of self-government in 1961 and became an independent state within the Commonwealth on November 30, 1966. Member of the United Nations and the Organization of American States, the country in 1973 has contributed to the creation of the Economic Community of Caribbean countries, an organization for political and social cooperation and economic integration. Barbados has reached a stable and democratic form of government, based on the alternation of the two major political parties. In the 1994 elections, the victory went to the Labour Party by Owen Arthur. In 1996 the island has reached a financial settlement with Cuba.


Bermuda archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean, British colony governed independently. It is located east of Cape Hatteras (North Carolina). Of the islands (between 150 small islands, islets and rocks) about 20 are inhabited, but only 6 of a certain importance in Bermuda, also known as the Great Bermuda, the largest, Somerset, Ireland, St George's, St David's and Boaz. The total area of ​​the islands is 53 km2, is the capital of Hamilton, the main port and the most populous city. From a geological point of view, the islands are composed of volcanic rocks covered with coral formations and surrounded to the north, west and south by rocks, almost all submerged. The narrow straits that separate them include some coral lagoons, among which the most important are Harrington Sound and Castle Harbour. The area is slightly hilly (80 m above sea level). Being deficient in sources of fresh water, the islands depend on rainwater that is collected and stored in tanks before being used (the rainfall have reached on average 1470 mm per year). The climate is mild, with a temperature is around 17.2 ° C in winter and 26.1 ° C in summer. The winds coming from the ocean is tempered by the Gulf Stream, but when the prevailing southerly winds, humidity reaches high percentages and are experiencing severe thunderstorms. The vegetation is lush and includes cedar, bamboo, palm trees, papayas and numerous flowering plants. Oleander bushes and mangrove forests are typical attractions of these islands.

The archipelago has a population of more then 75,000 inhabitants composed of 60% by blacks. The most professed religion is Anglican and the official language is English. Education is free and compulsory for young people aged between 5 and 16 years: about 10,000 students attend each year compulsory school, while the Bermuda College (founded in 1974) offers a university education. Bermuda is a popular tourist destination thanks to the attractive landscape and the mild and sunny climate. The main resources of the islands, in addition to tourism, are the shipyards, and supplies and services for military bases that are installed. Industrial products include medicines, perfumes, aromatic extracts and essential oils. Agriculture is poorly developed and limited to the cultivation of bananas, vegetables and flowers. The food and fuels are almost entirely imported. Thanks to the advantageous tax conditions, the islands have become home to several banks. The currency is the U.S. dollar of Bermuda. The internal transport occurs through a road network which extends for 240 km away and links with foreign countries are provided by numerous airlines and international shipping.

The Constitution of Bermuda, adopted in 1968, provides for a governor, appointed by the British crown, which is at the same time responsible for foreign affairs and interior, defense and police forces, and is flanked by an executive council. This Council is composed of the Prime Minister, who is also the leader of the largest party, and at least six members of the Legislative Assembly. The latter includes a parliament, whose 40 members are democratically elected every five years, and a Senate. The main political organizations are the United Party (UBP) and the Progressive Labour Party (PLP).


The discovery of Bermuda is attributed to a Spanish navigator Juan de Bermúdez, who landed there in 1503. The first permanent settlement dates back to 1609 at the hands of some settlers who were wrecked near the archipelago while trying to reach the Virginia under the leadership of George Somers. In 1612 the islands, known as Somers Islands, were attributed to the Company of Virginia and joined by a new group of British settlers. In 1684 the islands became possessions of the Crown, and began importing African slaves and, later, Portuguese laborers from the Azores and Madeira. During the American Civil War, the Confederates skirted the sea blockade as a base on Bermuda, and at the end of the war, some Americans, mainly from Virginia, emigrated there, then the islands welcomed Boer prisoners, sent by the British government during the Boer War (1899-1902).

Given their strategic location, Bermuda served as a naval base for the British fleet, and during the Second World War, in 1941, the United States obtained permission to install their naval bases for a period of 99 years. Bermuda, which received internal self-government in 1968, in a referendum held in August 1995, however, it have chosen not full independence, maintaining the colonial status.


Jamaica is an independent state within the Commonwealth and island of the Caribbean Sea, the third largest of the Greater Antilles, West Indies, located south of Cuba has an area of ​​10,991 km2 and its capital is Kingston.


The territory is mostly mountainous, except for some flat sections in the southern coastal area. The main chain, located in the eastern part of the island, is one of the Blue Mountains, whose highest peak, the Blue Mountain Peak (2,256 m) is the highest of the West Indies. A number of other surveys extends west to the coast and overlooks a vast plateau. The coastline is 800 km long, is irregular especially in the south, with many natural harbors such as Kingston, Montego Bay, St Ann's Bay, Port Maria. In many areas of the island there are hot springs; apparently you are still having earthquakes, but Jamaica is prone to violent earthquakes. Many non-navigable waterways crisscross the territory.

The climate is tropical, hot and humid, with an average annual temperature of about 26.7 ° C tempered by winds blowing from the northeast. On the plateau and mountain areas the average drops to 22.2 ° C at a height of 900 m and further at higher elevations. Rainfall varies depending on the climatic zones, from an average of 5080 mm in the mountains to 813 mm on the coast, concentrated in the months of May, June, October and November. In the late summer and early autumn the island is hit by hurricanes.


The island's vegetation is lush and very diversified, have been in fact classified over two hundred species of flowering plants. In the forests that provide valuable timber trees grow like a cedar, mahogany, rosewood and ebony, as well as coconut and pepper plants. On the island there are extensive cultivation of fruit trees such as mango, banana and breadfruit. The local fauna, like that prevailing in the West Indies, includes many species of birds and reptiles non-venomous. Almost absent are the large mammals.


Jamaica has a population density of 221 units per km2. It consists largely of blacks and mestizos, descendants of slaves deported from Africa between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries; the island is also inhabited by small minorities of Indian, European and Chinese. About half of the population lives in rural areas. there is athe massive emigration towards the United States, Britain and Latin America.

Kingston, the capital, has a population of 590,000 inhabitants (1991); other important centers are Montego Bay and Spanish Town.

Language and religion

English is the official language, although many Jamaicans speak a local dialect that incorporates elements of African, Spanish and French. The majority of the population is Protestant, but there are also many Catholics; there are also community Jewish, Muslim and Hindu.

Education and Culture

The educational system in Jamaica has elements of British school organisation. Education is compulsory up to 11 years. The largest institution of higher education is the University of the West Indies (1948), located in Kingston. In the village there are also many schools of technical, artistic and scientific orientation. The dependence of the island from Britain for over three centuries is reflected both in the idiom and traditions, but also deeply influenced by African culture. The reggae, a style of syncopated local music sometimes used as a political tool, widespread in the twentieth century by Bob Marley and other Jamaican groups, influenced the rock music of the eighties, especially in England.

Economic resources

The country's economy is mainly based on agriculture, but in recent years have developed strong tourism, mining and manufacturing industries. The main product is sugar cane, followed by bananas, tobacco, citrus, cocoa, coffee, coconuts, peanuts, grains and spices, including ginger and especially pimento, or Jamaica pepper, of which the island is the world's largest producer. Of secondary importance the breeding of cattle, pigs and sheep.

Bauxite and alumina (a derivative of bauxite) are the leading products of the economy of the country, covering 60% of the volume of exports. The industrial sector is becoming a strategic one , and it is encouraged by the government through tax and customs benefits. There are food, textile, chemical, cement plants and an oil refinery. Principal trading partners are the United States, Britain, Venezuela, Canada. Bauxite, alumina, sugar, rum, coffee and garments are the major exported products; chemicals, food and textiles, petroleum and equipment are mostly imported.

Cash flows and banks

The currency of Jamaica is the Jamaican dollar is divided into 100 cents. The Bank of Jamaica, established in 1960, is the central bank.


The island is a rail network (340 km) and about 15,000 km of roads, a quarter of which are paved. The local airline is Air Jamaica making international flights, but domestic flights are ensured by the Trans-Jamaican Airlines.

System of government

The Jamaican Constitution, promulgated in 1962, provides for a parliamentary system of government modeled on the english one. Head of state is the monarch of the United Kingdom, represented by a general governor appointed on the advice of the prime minister.

Executive power is exercised by the Council of Ministers, chaired by the Prime Minister who is the leader of the majority party and is appointed by the General-Governor. Legislative power, vested in the bicameral Parliament, consists of the Senate (21 members appointed by the Governor-General, 13 in agreement with the prime minister and the remaining 8 on the advice of the leader of the minority party) and the House of Representatives (60 members elected every 5 years). The legal and judicial system is modeled on the english one and includes a Supreme Court, a Court of Appeals and other lower courts.


The first people to inhabit the island were the Arawak Indians, belonging to a North American lineage, who named the island Xaymaca (“island of the sources”). Jamaica was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1494 and soon colonized by the Spanish in 1509. St. Iago de la Vega (now Spanish Town), first and capital budget for the next three centuries, was founded in 1523. Decimated the Indians, the Spaniards took them slaves deported from Africa to work the plantations of sugar cane.

The English conquest

In 1655 the island was conquered by the British to whom it was formally ceded in 1670 under the terms of the Treaty of Madrid. During the last decades of the seventeenth century many English settlers arrived, and soon spreading the industries of sugar and cocoa, and with them also the increasing demand of labor for the plantations. Jamaica became one of the main centers of the slave trade, which had its base in Port Royal. In 1692 the city was destroyed by an earthquake and in its place was founded Kingston. Slavery was finally abolished on 1 August 1838.

A very high number of freed blacks abandoned the plantations and took possession of the unoccupied lands located inward, thus disrupting the solid plantation economy. The lack of workforce and the decline of trade in the sector caused a crisis that lasted a long time. In October of 1865 an insurrection broke out of the black population, oppressed by discriminatory laws, oppressive tax measures and exclusion from land ownership, the government imposed martial law and suppressed the revolt in blood. Jamaica became a crown colony, thus losing the self-rule which he had enjoyed since the seventeenth century. A government representative was partially restored in 1884.

The independence

On 3 January 1958 the island became part of the Federation of the West Indies from which later fell off, and on August 6, 1962, the country gained independence. The Labour Party won the election in April of the same year and the group's leader, Alexander Bustamante, became prime minister, replaced in 1967 by Hugh Lawson Shearer. In 1968 the country was a founding member of the Free Trade Caribbean (CARIFTA) in 1973 and the Economic Community of Caribbean countries (CARICOM). The 1972 election brought to power the National People's Party led by Michael N. Manley, who was committed to conduct a policy of economic recovery. His ideas of the left and friendship with Fidel Castro's was not well accepted by some sections of the population. The elections in October 1980 favored the Labour Party and its leader, Edward Seaga, former Minister of Finance; the Prime Minister was also confirmed at the next elections in December 1983. Rejecting socialism and relations with Cuba, Seaga established a close relationship with the United States in an attempt to attract foreign capital and revive the economic fortunes of the country. The persistence, however, of a condition of economic stagnation and a consequent strong social protest favored the return to power in 1989 of the National People's Party and its leader Michael Manley, who continued the free market policy inaugurated by his predecessor. He tendered his resignation for health reasons in 1992; it succeeded to the government, leader of the party, Percival J. Patterson, who in 1994 was re-elected as prime minister.


Cyprus (greek Kypriakí Dimokratía; turkish Kibris Cumhuriyeti), republic located west of Syria and south of Turkey, with an area of ​​about 9251 km2, is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and its capital is Nicosia. Since 1974, the northern region has been under military occupation by Turkey and constitutes a separate state, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is not recognized by the international community.


Irregular in shape, the island narrows considerably north-east end, forming the Karpaso peninsula stretched east to the Syrian coast. Most of the interior territory consists of a flat and bare plain, called Massaria (greek, “in the mountains”), which extends from the west coast to the east and is bordered by mountains to the north by the Kyrenia mountains (the whose maximum elevation is 1019 m), arranged parallel to the coast to the peninsula of Karpaso to the south by the mountains of Olympus, where stands the highest peak of Cyprus, the Troodos mountain (1953 m). Cyprus does not have permanent rivers: thanks to the winter rains some rivers bathe the plain Massaria in spring, dried up during the rest of the year. On the island there are some freshwater lakes and two large saltwater lakes.

The climate is typically Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and cool, rainy season between the months of October and March. The average annual temperature is 20.6 ° C. The average annual rainfall is less than 500 mm. On the mountains grow forests of pine, cypress and cedar; the natural vegetation also includes juniper, plane, oak, olive and carob trees. In order to reforest the land, it have been extensively planted eucalyptus trees. Among the few wild animals the best known is the mouflon, the wild sheep, including many varieties of hazel grouse, snipe, quail and lapwings, inhabiting the island that hosts periodically flocks of migratory birds.


Cyprus' population: 80% are Greek Cypriots, 18% are of Turkish origin, and the remaining is made up of armenians and other ethnic minorities. Both the Greek and the Turkish communities maintain their traditions and customs and a strong national identity. Following the Turkish invasion of 1974, the migration flows have resulted in a clear geographical separation between the two communities: the Greeks in fact occupy two-thirds of the island, in the center and south, the Turks the Northern Territory. The population, composed mostly of farmers, live mostly in rural areas. The biggest city is Nicosia, the capital, which in 1993 had about 177,000 inhabitants in the greek and 35,000 in the one occupied by the Turks (1989 estimate); along the coast centers are located port of Limassol, Famagusta and Larnaca.

Language and religion

Official languages ​​are greek and turkish, compared to all other Greek dialects modern Cypriot what is more akin to ancient greek. The members of the Greek community belong to the National Church of Cyprus (80% of the population), formally independent of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Primate, the Bishop of Nicosia, Cyprus and the other three bishops are elected by the members of the Church itself. The Turkish minority profess the Muslim religion (19%), small minorities are represented by Maronite (Christian Arabs), Catholics and Jews.

Education and Culture

In the village there are two different school systems. In the field of greek education is free and compulsory between 5 and 11 years and the public school system provides a course of secondary education lasting six years. In the country there is a university, the University of Cyprus, founded in 1988 . In the Turkish community, education is directly dependent on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. In the country there are numerous archaeological sites and the testimonies of different cultures have occurred on the island, among the museums are reminiscent of the Art Museum and the Museum native of Cyprus in Nicosia.


About 47% of the land is used for agriculture, practiced mostly in small farms and advanced methods, the main products are citrus fruits, potatoes, grapes, barley, wheat, carob and olive. Of great importance is also the breeding, especially sheep and goats (whose milk is used for the production of cheese and yogurt), pigs, cattle, donkeys and horses. The forest resources offer timber used as a building material or as fuel; in fisheries, it is significant the collection of sponges in coastal waters.

Remarkable is the presence of copper, of which the island in the ancient world represented the main source, and there are other minerals such as iron pyrites, asbestos, chromium and plaster. Light industry is becoming an increasingly important sector of the Cypriot economy, the main products are clothing and footwear, food, building materials, wine, cigarettes, oil for food use. The currency is divided into 100 cents, issued by the Central Bank of Cyprus. Monetary unit of the turkish field is the Turkish lira. Sector are exported from greek potatoes, citrus fruits, wine and products of the manufacturing industry, especially footwear, while imports include oil, cereals and textiles; Britain is the largest trading partner of the country. The exchanges take place with Turkey's largest trading partner and political representative of the country, and with Britain. The system of internal communications consists of approximately 11,000 km of road network (half of which asphalt), while there are no railways. There are three international airports - in Nicosia and Larnaca, in the Greek, and Tymbou (Ercan) in turkish territory.

System of government

Cyprus is based on the Constitution of 1960, which divided power between the Greek and Turkish communities, with a greek Cypriot president assisted by a vice-president turkish Cypriot and a mixed representation on a proportional basis in the Council of Ministers and the House of Representatives, in 1963 However, the turkish Cypriots withdrew from the government. Following the military and the Turkish occupation of the northern part of the island, in 1979 it was declared a turkish Cypriot federal state and, in 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which has never been recognized by the United Nations, and its Constitution (1975) entrusts the executive power to the president, elected by universal suffrage and assisted by a legislative unicameral assembly made up of 50 members. Under the Constitution of 1960, Cyprus is a presidential republic, the chief executive is the president elected by direct universal suffrage for a term of five years. Legislative power is exercised by the House of Representatives, since 1985 composed of 56 members greek Cypriots and 24 members turkish Cypriots; the Turkish community, however, does not send representatives to the Parliament since 1963. According to the 1964 reforms, the judicial system within the community greek Cypriots as the main body, the Supreme Court, lower courts are the district courts and courts of assizes. Even in the turkish operate a Supreme Court and courts. The major cities are run by municipal councils, the smaller cities are governed by several committees made up of a “mukhtar” and a body of “azas” (senior advisors).


Home to advanced civilization during the Neolithic and Bronze Age Cyprus was Mycenean colony in the seventeenth and fifteenth centuries BC. Given the position and the wealth of mineral deposits, especially copper, was a disputed land from the people who lived on the Mediterranean and experienced continuous and numerous dominations, first of Egypt, during the reign of Pharaoh Thutmose III, around 1450 BC, then Assyria (VIII century) and then the Persians (at the end of 500 BC). Conquered by Alexander the Great in 333 BC, after nearly a decade and came under the control of Egypt in 58 BC below that of Rome. He then made part of the Eastern Empire until 1191 when it was conquered during the Third Crusade in the Holy Land by Richard I of England, who, in turn, gave it to King Guy of Lusignan who had lost the throne of Jerusalem. At the end of the fifteenth century, Cyprus became part of the dominion of the powerful Venetian Republic to pass, in 1571, under the sovereignty of the Turks, who resisted on the island for three centuries, until 1878, when they were defeated in the Russo -Turkish war (1877-1878). In order to prevent any expansion attempt by Russia to the Dardanelles, the Turks granted Britain the right to occupy and administer Cyprus.

The British administration

The Convention was signed June 4, 1878: the British secured complete control over Cyprus providing a financial contribution, while Turkey was sovereignty over the place. When the British took control in 1879, he was presented with a petition by them and primate of the Greek community on the basis of which it was sought enosis (greek, “union”), ie the annexation policy of Cyprus with the reign of Greece, which was not however taken into consideration by the authority. When Turkey was allied with Germany during the First World War, Britain annulled the Treaty of 1878 and in November of 1914 proclaimed the annexation of Cyprus to the English kingdom, under the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), Turkey formally recognized the British possession of Cyprus and two years later the island became a colony of British crown. In 1931 occurred some internal conflicts caused by maladministration, the British promptly suppressed the riots, abolished the Legislative Council and banned all political parties. After the end of World War II in 1945, the issue resurfaced and in 1946 the British proposed constitutional reforms that would lead to the autonomy of the island.

The spread of the movement dell'Enosis

In 1948, the Primate of Cyprus, Mihail Mouskos, he openly supported by the Orthodox Church to the movement dell'Enosis; elected Archbishop of Cyprus under the name Makarios III, became the undisputed leader of the movement. In January 1950 the British authorities refused the request for a plebiscite on the unit with Greece and declared that the same location on the island made it impossible for any change in political status resulting in open rebellion led by the movement of greek Cypriot EOKA (Ethniki Organosis Kypriakou Agonos, National Organization for the Cypriot struggle). In 1954, Greece, hitherto foreign to any direct involvement not to oppose the UK, took the Cyprus issue before the General Assembly of the United Nations during the discussion that followed in the UN; Turkey announced that it would oppose the union of Cyprus with Greece, and declared that, in case of withdrawal by the British forces, the island would have passed under the Turkish administration. At the beginning of 1955 the Cypriots intensified their terrorist actions against British authority, while an attempt to settle the dispute through the convening of a conference between the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Turkey openly failed. In 1956, the British government had exiled the primate Makarios, declaring him responsible for the anti-government demonstrations. In 1957, the General Assembly of the UN called for the resumption of trading, the EOKA leader proposed a truce, provided that, the primate was released. The request was granted, even if the religious were not allowed to return to the island.

The independence from the United Kingdom

In June 1958 the British announced a plan to maintain the status quo in Cyprus at the international level for a period of seven years with the establishment of a representative government and communal autonomy. Makarios and governments greek and turkish opposed the English project, but on October 1, the British did come into force with a modified version of the same. After some talks held in 1959 between the various parties, it came to an agreement on the possibility of a constitution for an independent republic of Cyprus: the status of republic was guaranteed by the United Kingdom (which maintained its sovereignty over two military bases), the Turkey and Greece. Makarios, returned to Cyprus on March 1, was elected president the following December; Fazil Kuchuk, a turkish Cypriot, he became vice-president. Independence was proclaimed August 16, 1960, Cyprus was admitted to the United Nations and became an independent republic within the Commonwealth. In December 1963, the representatives of the communities greek Cypriot and turkish Cypriot clashed after Makarios proposed constitutional changes, including the abolition of the veto power by the Turkish minority in the legislature; it followed a few fights, and after that Greece and Turkey threatened to intervene, began a civil war on the entire territory of Cyprus. In response to the unrest, the UN appointed a mediator and organized a military force for the maintenance of peace, acceptance of UN resolution for a ceasefire of 10 August 1964 put an end to the bloody clashes between opposing factions.

The coup and the intervention of Turkey

Makarios was reelected president in 1968 and 1973, while nationalist organizations began again to disseminate and support the idea of ​​unification with Greece: Athens, when the president asked to withdraw from the island of Cyprus National Guard, said this with a stroke of state and militarily occupied the centers of power in the capital (15 July 1974). With the support of the greek government, was elected president Nikos Sampson. In the face of these changes, Turkey sent military forces on the island, grabbing about 1/3 of the entire territory. In December Makarios returned to Cyprus and assumed the presidency. In April 1975, under the auspices of the UN, it was declared a turkish Cypriot federal state. The talks continued even after the death of Makarios (1977), who was succeeded by Spyros Kyprianou, re-elected in 1983. In November of 1983 Rauf R. Denktash, President turkish Cypriots proclaimed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is not recognized by the UN; the attempts by the international community to restore the rule of law in the country were in vain. In 1996, following the killing by police of a young turkish Cypriot Greek community during a demonstration, there were further armed clashes along the border line. A meeting between the delegations of the two communities, which took place in 1997, had no success.


Malta is anindependent Republic within the Commonwealth, consisting of a small group of islands - Malta, Gozo, Comino, Cominotto and Filfla - located in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily. The land area of ​​the republic measuring 316 km2, the island of Malta has an area of ​​246 km2, Gozo as 3 km2. The average density is of 1,171 inhabitants per km2. The capital city of Valletta is the main port and the largest city of the country, other smaller towns are Rabat, Island of Gozo, and Hamrun.


The territory of Malta is flat, characterized by karst formations and the absence of waterways. The climate is Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and cool winters and rainy. The average temperature is 19 ° C and the average rainfall reaches 560 mm per year.


Agriculture still has a decisive role in the Maltese economy, with 40% of the land cultivated, but the high density of population and the poverty of the soil forcing the country to import many food products. The most important crops providing potatoes, tomatoes, wheat, fruits and flowers. Less important is the breeding, limited to farmyard animals and a few head of cattle, goats and sheep. The most developed industrial sector is shipbuilding, which uses state-equipped shipyards. They are also important industries of food, textile, furniture, manufacture of tobacco products, chemicals and rubber. For nearly a decade, the most important economic sector is tourism, which employs about a third of the country's labor force. In the early nineties exports were valued at around $ 1.2 billion and imports of $ 1.9 billion. The former consist mainly of clothing, transportation, basic manufactured goods and machinery, while imports in machinery, textile and chemical products, raw materials, fuel and groceries. The main trading partners are Italy, Great Britain, United States and Germany. The currency is the Maltese lira is divided into 100 cents. An efficient road network is linking the capital to the smaller towns of the island, while Luqa is home to an international airport, the national airline is Air Malta.

Population and sorting state

The population of Malta is overwhelmingly Catholic. the official languages ​​are Maltese and English, but it is also common the italian language. School education is free and compulsory for children aged five to sixteen years and is organized on the British model. Valletta is home to the University of Malta, founded in 1769. In the early nineties, life expectancy was 74 years for men and 78 years for women. Under the Constitution of 1964 and subsequent amendments of 1974, Malta is a Republic. The head of state is the President who is appointed by Parliament for a term of five years. The legislative power is exercised by the House of Representatives, composed of 65 members elected every five years by direct universal suffrage on the basis of proportional representation. Head of government is the prime minister, chosen by the President from among the Members of the Parliament. The Prime Minister, assisted by the Council of Ministers is accountable to the House of Representatives.


The numerous monuments and artifacts found in Malta testify to the high degree of civilization in the fifth millennium BC, when the islands were the site of a Neolithic culture . In 736 BC the islands were occupied by the Greeks, who called the colony Melita, and later became possessions of Carthage and then to Rome. In 395 AD, with the division of the Roman Empire, Malta became part of the Eastern Empire. Occupied by the Arabs in 870, it was conquered by the Normans in 1091 and joined the Kingdom of Sicily. In 1530 Charles V, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, gave the island to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem (or Knights of Malta), who governed until the nineteenth century. After the failed invasion of the Ottoman Turks in 1565, the Knights of Malta fortified Valletta.

The British rule

In 1798, during the expedition to Egypt, Malta was conquered by Napoleon Bonaparte. Refusing to be governed by France, the Maltese asked for help to Britain and in 1799 the English admiral Horatio Nelson besieged Valletta, Malta managed to wrest the French and declared the area a British protectorate. With the Treaty of Paris in 1814, Malta became part of the British Empire as a crown colony.

During the nineteenth century the Maltese they began to claims for independence and in 1921, in return for the aid provided during the First World War, the colony was granted a constitution that allowed him to elect a local parliament. The Constitution was later revoked in 1936 when Malta, due to its strategic location in the Mediterranean, had aroused the ambitions of the Italians. Important English base during the Second World War, Malta was bombarded by the German and Italian.

The attainment of independence

On 1 November 1961 the first elections were held in Malta to dial a local parliament. The election campaign was conducted by the Labour Party, which called for the independence of Malta outside the Commonwealth, and the Nationalist Party, in alliance with other political parties, who pressed for independence within the Commonwealth. The Nationalists won the election and their leader, George Borg Olivier, was appointed prime minister. Malta gained full independence September 21, 1964 and was admitted to the UN on 1 December of the same year. The elections of June 1971, the Nationalist Party was defeated by Labour and Dominic (Dom) Mintoff was appointed prime minister. In 1974 the Constitution was amended and Malta was proclaimed a Republic within the Commonwealth.

The years of Mintoff

In the following years the government of Mintoff shifted more and more to the left and in the political life created two opposite poles. After the declaration of the country's neutrality and adherence to a policy of non-alignment, Mintoff and the government in 1979 did not renew the agreement that allowed NATO to maintain naval and air bases on the territory of Malta. At the end of the seventies Dom Mintoff promoted a policy of cooperation and preferential relations between Malta and Libya, but relations between the two countries broke down in 1980 after the dispute over mining rights of oil in the waters of the Mediterranean. In December 1981 Mintoff government mandate was renewed for another five years, but in December 1984 he resigned and was replaced by Carmelo Mifsud-Bonnici (then head of state since 1994).

Malta and the European Union

In the elections of May 1987 the nationalists returned to power after sixteen years and also won a large majority in the next election in February 1992. In 1990 churches of Malta were joining the European Union (with which the first agreements dating back to 1970); in the same year Malta and Libya renewed bilateral agreements and signed a cooperation treaty valid until 1995. The 1996 elections saw the return to power of the Labour Party by Alfred Sant, who rejected the plan of joining the European Union.


Lebanon (Al-Arab al-Jumhuriya Lubnaniya), Republic in the Middle East, which is bordered to the north and east by Syria, on the south by Israel to the west is washed by the Mediterranean Sea. It has an area of ​​10,400 km2 and its capital is Beirut.


Lebanon extends from north to south for about 217 km, with a width varying from 40 to 80 km. A narrow coastal plain overlooking the Mediterranean, while inland rise two high mountain ranges, separated from the fertile Bekaa valley: the chain of Lebanon, cut by numerous deep gorges, rises abruptly from the coastal lowland and houses in its northern part, the Qornet es-Saouda (3083 m), the highest peak in the country and Antilibano, located to the east, along the border with Syria. The main river, and the only navigable, is the Litani (Leontes), which descends along the Bekaa Valley, and most of the other rivers have seasonal regime. Much of the Lebanese territory consists of the so-called “red earth”, while along the coast, in the Bekaa Valley and in the Northeast extend very fertile alluvial soils. From the subtropical climate of Mediterranean and its coastal regions of the Bekaa Valley we pass, on the mountains higher, to a continental climate, colder. Summer is generally hot and dry, mild winter and wet. The average temperature in the coastal plain is 26.7 ° C in summer and 10 ° C in winter and mountain regions are relatively cooler. The rainfall, concentrated especially in the winter, have an annual average of 900 mm along the coast, 600 mm in the Bekaa Valley and more than 1200 mm on the mountains. Much of the country has suffered heavy deforestation. In the high mountains are forests of oaks, pines, cypresses and cedars of Lebanon known; prevails along the coast the vegetation of scrub.


The average population density is 341 units per km2. The Lebanese are descended from different ethnic groups, especially Semites, and the line of their origins back to the ancient Phoenicians, Jews, Philistines, Assyrians and Arabs. The latest migration features an Armenian minority and a large presence of Palestinians, many of whom live confined in refugee camps. However, it is difficult to establish reliable data on the composition of the population, since the last census was in 1970 and the recent civil war has altered the demographic situation. Arabic is the official language in administrative and commercial transactions are commonly used in French and English, while the Armenian language is spoken by a minority of the same name. The main religions are Islam (practiced mostly in the forms Shiite and Sunni, but also Druze, Ismaili and Alawite) and Christianity, professed by Maronites, Greek Orthodox and Catholics, Armenian Catholics and Orthodox, Latin Rite Catholics and other denominations. The capital and main port, is Beirut (1,500,000 inhabitants in 1990). Tripoli and Sidon are both important ports and stations.

Lebanese education and Culture

Primary education is free, but not compulsory, the illiteracy rate is around 20% (1990), one of the lowest in the entire Arab world. In the capital are located almost all cultural institutions, including some universities (like the University of Lebanon and the Arab University of Beirut), the National Museum and the National Library. Blending traditional Arabic (and other minority ethnic groups) with the latest Western influences, especially France and the U.S., Lebanon has been able to achieve a high level of culture. However, in recent decades, because of the war has failed cosmopolitan spirit that has characterized the country in the past, the different ethnic and religious groups, they have often come into conflict. One of the prominent members of the Lebanese culture was the poet and painter Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931).


Before the civil war the Lebanese economy was flourishing, especially thanks to a highly developed banking system and the liveliness of the commercial sector. Beirut was considered the financial capital of the Middle East, but the civil war, the Israeli invasion of 1982 and the ongoing clashes between factions have devastating effects on the economy: rising unemployment and inflation, a significant decrease in foreign investment and tourism, the destruction of many factories and the stagnation of trade.


Agriculture occupies only 7% of the active population (1994) and about 29% of the land consists of arable land. In the coastal plain, intensively cultivated, growing mainly tobacco and fruit (citrus fruits, bananas, grapes, figs and melons) in the Bekaa valley, where the soil is partially irrigated, the main crops are cereals and vegetables, in elevated areas, cooler climate, there are fruit trees (apple, cherry, pear, peach), potatoes, wheat, barley, corn, sorghum, oats and olive trees. The grazing of goats, sheep and cattle on the mountain slopes has contributed to the erosion of the soil and the almost total destruction of forests.

Industry and energy

The oil refining, the only heavy industry sector of Lebanon, was severely damaged during the wars of the seventies and eighties. Light industry is however still active and produces silk, cotton textiles, footwear, matches, paper and soap. The mining industry, due to very limited mineral resources of the subsoil, is relatively negligible. However, there are salt mines and iron ore are extracted (although the extraction is difficult), coal, copper and phosphates.

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