New Delhi. 14 March 2020. On this day in 1489, Queen Catherine Cornaro renounced her throne, put her entire kingdom up for sale, and sold it to Venice.
Venice was interested in Cyprus for a long time because of the growing interest in the merchants trading since the 1000 A.D. but ever since then, the Venetian had been growing their maritime empire into the eastern Mediterranean sea .
While the kingdom of Cyprus had been declining for a while, it was a tributary state of the “Egyptian Mameluks since the year 1426 A.D. Some years later under the control of Caterina who ruled Cyprus from 1474 until 1489, the island was controlled by the Venetian merchants and she was forced to leave her throne so she sold island of Cyprus to the “Republic of Venice”.
Catherine Cornaro was the last monarch of the Kingdom of Cyprus. She was queen consort of Cyprus by marriage to James II of Cyprus, regent of Cyprus during the minority of her son James III of Cyprus in 1473–1474, and finally queen regnant of Cyprus. She reigned from 26 August 1474 to 26 February 1489 and was declared a “Daughter of Saint Mark” in order that the Republic of Venice could claim control of Cyprus after the death of her husband, James II.
In 1468, James II of Cyprus, otherwise known as James the Bastard, became King of Cyprus. In 1468 he chose Caterina for his wife and Queen consort of the Kingdom of Cyprus. The King’s choice was extremely pleasing to the Republic of Venice as it could henceforth secure the commercial rights and other privileges of Venice in Cyprus. They married in Venice on 30 July 1468 by proxy when she was 14 years old. She finally set sail to Cyprus in November 1472 and married James in person at Famagusta.
James died soon after the wedding due to a sudden illness and, according to his will, Caterina, who at the time was pregnant, acted as regent. She became monarch when their infant son James died in August 1474 before his first birthday, probably from illness even if it was rumored that he had been poisoned by Venice or Charlotte’s partisans. The kingdom had long since declined, and had been a tributary state of the Mameluks since 1426. Under Caterina, who ruled Cyprus from 1474 to 1489, the island was controlled by Venetian merchants, and on 14 March 1489 she was forced to abdicate and sell the administration of the country to the Republic of Venice.
According to George Boustronios, “on 15 February 1489 the queen exited from Nicosia in order to go to Famagusta, to leave Cyprus. And when she went on horseback wearing a black silken cloak, with all the ladies and the knights in her company […] Her eyes, moreover did not cease to shed tears throughout the procession. The people likewise shed many tears.”
In February 1489, the Venetian government persuaded Catherine to cede her rights as ruler of Cyprus to the Doge of Venice—and by extension the Venetian government as a whole—as she had no heir.