The Cyprus Critical History Archive (CCHA) is a joint initiative between the Association for Historical Dialogue & Research (AHDR) and Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) to digitize, catalogue and make available to the public Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot newspaper articles on inter-communal relations and conflict-related violence during the 1955-1964 period.
The archive contains digitized newspaper articles which have been uploaded to an online database. Freely available to historians, social scientists, researchers, journalists or any interested member of the public, this is a unique resource to anyone who wants to learn more on this troubled period of the history of Cyprus.
A pioneering contribution to historical enquiry, the CCHA constitutes the first attempt to offer an online trilingual collection of sources on the 1955-64 period. By providing English translations of Greek and Turkish sources, this resource makes readily available otherwise inaccessible material to anyone interested in Cypriot history – be it scholars, educators, or the public at large.
The purpose of the archive is to facilitate the quest for knowledge, understanding and multiperspectivity, and will enhance historical dialogue through access to primary sources. Users are able to browse through the summaries entries and English translations, read the articles in their original language, and perform multiple searches. This resource opens a window into understanding the different perceptions of the events of the period not only along communal, but also political and ideological lines.
Emphasising access to primary material, means that the CCHA encourages users to enquire into historical issues themselves, rather than accepting ready-made answers that favour particular interpretations of Cypriot history.Researchers will be exposed to different points of view of specific events in order to better understand the complex nature of the Cyprus conflict.
“We’re not here to offer answers, we’re here to facilitate the asking of questions”, says Antonis Hadjikyriacou, project coordinator.
The CCHA is an innovative initiative that has been under way for the past two years. During the initial phase of the project that lasted about 15 months, researchers have been identifying, digitizing and cataloguing material from libraries and archives all over Cyprus. Having collected tens of thousands of images, the second phase of the project concerned the uploading, summarising, and translation of articles pertinent to selected themes and topics. This selection was based on specific criteria, the main consideration of which was going beyond conventional wisdom and established knowledge by highlighting marginalised, but no less important, facets of the 1955-64 period.
Eventually, it is hoped that the project will broaden its temporal scope and extend up to 1974, while the typology of sources will include private and public archival documentation, photographic archives, audio-visual material and oral accounts from Cyprus and abroad.
Take a look at the thought-provoking CCHA video titled ‘Capturing History’!
‘An interesting and thought provoking look into the making of a critical history archive for Cyprus. This short film shows the enormity of the task and the methods employed to digitally preserve past newspaper articles and editorial perceptions from both sides of the divided island of Cyprus. The legacy of this project will be to allow future researchers to see both points of view of specific events to better understand the reasons for the conflicts of the past.’