Greek Cypriots began immigrating to the United States in the late 1800s. The first Greek Cypriot association in the United States was founded in 1917 in New York City under the name Cyprian Brotherhood. The primary purposes of the Brotherhood were the moral and financial support and the education of its members. The Brotherhood also provided support to the Cypriot immigrants who continued to arrive and settle in the New York City area.
In 1930, the Cyprian Brotherhood was dissolved, and a new organization, the Pancyprian Brotherhood, was established, with primarily the same objectives. In 1931, in the aftermath of the uprising of the Greek Cypriots against the British colonial rule demanding union with Greece, the Cypriot Americans united under the Cyprus National Federation and supported the efforts of their brothers in Cyprus.
As time went by and more Greek Cypriots immigrated to the United States, they organized numerous other associations. Many of the associations were formed by groups of immigrants who had a common origin from Cypriot towns, such as Asgata, Kalavasos, Karavas/Lapithos (Lampousa), Larnaka (Zenon), Lefkara, and Yialousa.
From 1931 to 1938, Dr. Savvas Zavoyianis, a well-known Cypriot American physician living in New York City, published a series of articles in Greek American newspapers urging the various associations to unite under a federation to better coordinate their common goals. The groundwork for the establishment of the federation began on November 10, 1950, in Dr. Zavoyianis’ office, who presided during this first meeting. The following New York associations were represented during the first meeting: (1) Enosis Lefkariton in America (founded 1924); (2) Asgata Association “Cyprus” (founded 1934); (3) Kalavasos Fraternity (founded 1936); (4) Lampousa Cyprian Society (founded 1937); (5) United Cyprians of America, Men’s and Women’s Divisions (New York, founded 1937); and (6) Yialousa Association (founded circa 1936).
The founding meeting of the new organization, named Cyprus Federation of America, was held on April 12, 1951, at the YMCA located at 215 West 23rd Street in New York City. Representatives from the following associations participated: (1) Asgata Association “Cyprus”; (2) Enosis Lefkariton in America; (3) Kalavasos Fraternity; (4) Lampousa Cyprian Association; (5) United Cyprians of New York (Men’s, Women’s and Youth Divisions); (6) Yialousa Association; and (7) the Cypriot Society of Greater Chicago (founded 1942). Dr. Zavoyianis was elected as the first president of the Cyprus Federation of America.
In the years that followed the founding of the Cyprus Federation of America, several other associations were formed, including:
Cyprus Benevolent Society of Tidewater, Virginia
Cyprus Society of Greater Philadelphia
Cypriots of New Jersey, Jersey City, NJ
Zenon (New York)
In the 1960s, following the liberation of Cyprus from British rule and the establishment of the independent Republic of Cyprus, the influx of Greek Cypriot immigrants to the United stated decreased dramatically. However, this changed dramatically in the years following the illegal and barbaric invasion of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkish troops in 1974, which resulted in the occupation of 37% of the island by Turkey and the creation of more than 180,000 Greek Cypriot refugees. Many of them were forced to emigrate abroad, including the United States. These new immigrants founded numerous new associations, including:
On June 18, 2014, the various Greek Cypriot associations in the United States reorganized under the name Federation of Cypriot American Organizations, Inc, a New York non-profit corporation, which was subsequently approved as a tax-exempt organization under the terms of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
It is estimated that in 2015, there were between 70,000 and 80,000 Americans of Greek Cypriot descent living in the United States.
The mission of the FCAO is to preserve and promote the Hellenic Cypriot culture, heritage, principles and ideals in the United States of America through the coordination and promotion of cultural, charitable, educational, fraternal and professional activities.
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