Combining historical maps and censuses of Cyprus from the sixteenth to the twentieth century: A geospatial approach
Keywords: Cyprus, Kitchener map, Ottoman surveys, British colonial censuses, HGIS
Abstract. The paper presents the preliminary results of an ongoing project that combines historical cartographic and economic sources on Cyprus through the employment of geospatial analysis. The main sources are: the 1883 trigonometrical survey of the island by Horatio Herbert Kitchener; the 1572 fiscal survey and 1832/33 property survey by the Ottomans; and the 1931 British agricultural census. The Ottoman and British censuses, different though they are and separated by three and a half centuries, provide vital information on production, economic activity, population, and toponymy. The project correlates this data with the detailed recording of topographical, hydrological, and land use features of the Kitchener map, which constitutes an extremely close depiction of Ottoman conditions given that the transformation of the countryside witnessed during the British colonial period was not yet initiated. This allows the identification of certain constants in the Cypriot environment and landscape. The paper presents the interdisciplinary methodological challenges the project has encountered and proposes a framework for the combination of these different datasets and their analysis in order to better record and understand certain long-term patterns in the Cypriot economy, environment and landscape. It uses viticulture as a case study for the visualisation of data to determine the spatial distribution of vines in the historical long term. Finally, the paper situates its conclusions within broader historiographical discussions on the historical development of viticulture in the Mediterranean.