The first Latin Archbishopric in Cyprus was established in Lefkosia in 1196 during the Frankish rule on the island. However, the present Latin community of the island, as regards both its clerical and secular members, came into being during the early Ottoman period and it began to increase notably in numbers during the late Ottoman and early British periods. It had a nationally heterogeneous composition, with its members originating from Venice, other areas of Italy, Malta, France and even Dalmatia. Most of the Latins on the island not belonging to the clergy were engaged in commercial pursuits, but nonetheless also developed notable initiatives in other fields such as agriculture and education, and thereby made a significant contribution to the life of the island. The religious leader of the group is a Patriarchal Vicar General accountable to the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and ex officio representative of the Holy See pro-Nuncio in Jerusalem.
The Latins of Cyprus form a compact but steadily increasing community differing markedly from the Armenians and the Maronites insofar as they are not nationally homogeneous. Today, it is estimated that traditional Latins number about 1,000 persons, while the last 25-30 years have seen the arrival of thousands of Roman Catholics from countries of the former Soviet bloc, western Europe, south – east Asia and Latin America.