Capital : Tunis
Size: 63 000 sq m Popn: 8 410 000
Recorded history goes back to the C13th BC with Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Muslim Arabs, Spaniards and Turks all involved. The Punic kingdom of Carthage which had controlled much of coastal north Africa fell to the Roman Empire after the Punic wars and formed the original Africa Province. After the Roman Empire became divided, it was under Byzantine control and became Islamicised as part of the Ottoman Turkish Empire.
In 1881, France invaded, ejected the Ottomans and set up a protectorate. French settlers seized a fifth of the cultivable land. During WWII, the country was a battlefield with many people, including Habib Bourguiba, helping the Free French. He campaigned for independence after the war but was exiled.
Autonomy was granted in 1955 and Bourguiba returned to become the first President in 1956. Due to his liberalism, Tunisia became much freer, especially from a female point of view than other Arab Muslim countries but the DSP party became more authoritarian in the 1970s. Gadaffi's Libya took advantage of the unrest to raid Gafsa in 1980 and serious unrest in the 1980s culminated in the 'quiet coup' when Gen. Ben Ali deposed Bourguiba. His sweeping reforms improved relations with France and improved the agricultural system.
Ethnic groups are Arab and Bedouin and French is still spoken alongside the official Arabic.
|El Hadrioui||El Ouaer||Eyadema||Ghodbane||Hadda||Hadji|
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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