According to Hill, in spite of the prevalence of piracy, Cyprus, situated at a point where all the trade-routes from the East converged, flourished, as the chief entrepot in the Levant, equalling in importance for a century Constantinople and Alexandria [George Hill, 1948].
According to Hill’s (1948) sources, privileges were granted to the Genoese by Henry in 1232 and to the Venetians by the Governor in 1306. The Genoese and Venetians escaped customs duties; perhaps also the Marseillais in 1198; the merchants of Trani; and the Syrians also were favoured with exemptions from various dues [George Hill, 1948].
Large-scale sugar production began in Cyprus in about 1368, with irrigation, imported slave labour, and improvements in processing [Ronald Jennings, 1992]. A humongous trade and consequently financial blow for the Franks occurred in 1383 though, who in order to set free the king-to-be James I, agreed with the Genoese that “all ships trading to Cyprus are to be compelled to call at [Genoese controlled] Famagusta, except those coming from Turkey, which may go to Kerynia. Local products, such as carobs, may however be exported from Salines (Aliki) and Lemesos without restriction” [George Hill, 1948].
Episkopi had impressed Capodilista in 1458, not only for its sugar plantations, but for its lovely and well-watered gardens of oranges, citrons, carobs, and bananas. Paul Walther (1482) praised the “sweet and good waters” of the island, very cheap lamb, and abundant wine, wheat, oil, milk, honey, wax, pomegranates, carob, cassia, flax, and cottonwool, as well as salt, metals, and timber [Ronald Jennings, 1992]. According to Francesco Soriano, in 1484, “the island produced meat in plenty so that one may get twelve or fourteen sheep for a ducat. It is poor meat and unwholesome”. Cyprus also produced commandaria, wine, salt, grain, sugar, cotton, cheese, laudanum, honey, wool, and samite [Claude Delaval Cobham, 1895].
According to L. Machairas, in the year 1351, the island was affected by the locusts which created “a lot of destruction” [Leontios Macheras, 15th cent.]. According to Hill, “after the plague of 1409 came locusts, and devastated the crops for three or four years, abating in 1412. In 1413 by the King’s orders, practical measures (apparently for the first: time) were taken against this pest, with the result that it did little damage. The eggs and the young hoppers were collected and buried in pits. No more effectual method was invented until the ‘screen and pit’ system was adopted in 1884” [George Hill, 1948]. According to L. Machairas, in about the year 1434, many locusts appeared (again) in Cyprus [Leontios Macheras, 15th cent.]. Francesco Soriano, in 1484, wrote: the island, “almost every year it is smitten with locusts” [Claude Delaval Cobham, 1895].
In regards to the hunting, de Martoni mentions in 1394 about the king: “he has twenty-four leopards and three hundred hawks of all kinds, some of which he takes every day to hunt”. He also mentioned that muflons were hunted by leopards. In 1396 D’ Anglure was in Nicosia and ” the king sent us again presents, to wit one hundred partridges, sixty hares, and five wild sheep [probably muflons]” [Claude Delaval Cobham, 1895].