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, image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in northern
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous , after in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of 's total surface area and 20% of its land area.Sayre ...

Africa
, image_map2 = , capital =
Tunis Tunis ( ar, تونس ') is the and largest city of . The greater metropolitan area of Tunis, often referred to as "", has about 2,700,000 inhabitants. , it is the fourth-largest city in the region (after , and ) and the in the . Situated on ...

Tunis
, largest_city = capital , coordinates = , official_languages =
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
Translation by the University of Bern: "Tunisia is a free State, independent and sovereign; its religion is the Islam, its language is Arabic, and its form is the Republic." , religion =
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission
o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling o ...
) is an religion teaching that is a of .Peters, F. E. 2009. "Allāh." In , edited by J. L. Esposito. Oxford: . . (See alsoquick reference) " e Muslims' und ...
(
official An official is someone who holds an office (function or , regardless whether it carries an actual with it) in an or government and participates in the exercise of , (either their own or that of their superior and/or employer, public or legally ...
) , languages_type =
Spoken languages A spoken language is a language produced by articulate sounds, as opposed to a written language. Many languages are only in written form and are not spoken. An oral language or vocal language is a language produced with the vocal tract, as opposed t ...
, languages = , ethnic_groups =
Arab-Berber Arab-Berbers ( ar, العرب والبربر ''al-ʿarab wa-l-barbar'') are an ethnolinguistic group of the Maghreb, a vast region of North Africa in the western part of the Arab world along the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Arab-Berbe ...
98%, European 1%, Jewish and other 1% , demonym = Tunisian , government_type =
Unitary Unitary may refer to: * Unitary construction, in automotive design a common term for unibody (unitary body/chassis) construction * Lethal Unitary Chemical Agents and Munitions (Unitary), as chemical weapons opposite of Binary * Unitarianism, in Chr ...
semi-presidential A semi-presidential system or dual executive system is a system of government in which a president exists alongside a prime minister and a cabinet, with the latter being responsible to the legislature of the state. It differs from a parliam ...
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...

republic
, leader_title1 =
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...
, leader_name1 =
Kais Saied Kais Saied ( ar, قَيس سَعيد; born 22 February 1958) is a Tunisian politician, jurist and a retired university professor of constitutional law serving as the president of Tunisia since October 2019. He was president of the Tunisian Associa ...
, leader_title2 =
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpar ...
, leader_name2 =
Najla Bouden Najla Bouden ( ar, نجلاء بودن), also known as Najla Bouden Romdhane (; born 29 June 1958), is a Tunisian geologist and university professor who is serving as the Prime Minister of Tunisia The prime minister of Tunisia (informally abbrevi ...
, leader_title3 = Assembly Speaker , leader_name3 = ''vacant'' , legislature =
Assembly of the Representatives of the People The Assembly of the Representatives of the People ( ar, مجلس نواب الشعب ', french: Assemblée des représentants du peuple; ARP) is Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location o ...
, sovereignty_type =
Establishment Establishment may refer to: * The Establishment, the dominant group or elite holding effective power or authority in a society * The Establishment (club), an English satire club of the 1960s * The Establishment (comics), ''The Establishment'' (com ...
, established_event1 =
Ancient Carthage Carthage (; xpu, 𐤒𐤓𐤕𐤟𐤇𐤃𐤔𐤕, translit=Qart-ḥadašt, lit=New City; la, Carthāgō) was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past events
inaugurated , established_date1 = 814 BC , established_event2 =
Vandal Kingdom The Vandal Kingdom ( la, Regnum Vandalum) or Kingdom of the Vandals and Alans ( la, Regnum Vandalorum et Alanorum) was established by the Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of ...
inaugurated , established_date2 = 435 , established_event3 =
Aghlabids 300px, An Aghlabid cistern in Kairouan The Aghlabids ( ar, الأغالبة) were an Arab dynasty of emirs from the Najd Najd, ( ar, نَجْدٌ, ) or the Nejd, forms the geographic center of Saudi Arabia (Shahada) , national_anthe ...
inaugurated , established_date3 = 800 , established_event4 =
Fatimid Caliphate The Fatimid Caliphate ( ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْفَاطِمِيَّة , al-Ḫilāfa al-Fāṭimiyya) was an Ismaili Shia Ismāʿīlism ( ar, الإسماعيلية, ''al-ʾIsmāʿīlīyah''; fa, اسماعیلیان, ''E ...

Fatimid Caliphate
inaugurated , established_date4 = 909 , established_event5 =
Zirid dynasty The Zirid dynasty ( ar, الزيريون, translit=Al-Zīryūn), Banu Ziri ( ar, بنو زيري, translit=Banu Zīry), or the Zirid state ( ar, الدولة الزيرية, translit=Al-dawla al-Zīrya) was a Sanhaja The Sanhaja ( ber, Aẓnag, ...
inaugurated , established_date5 = 972 , established_event6 =
Hafsid dynasty The Hafsids ( ar, الحفصيون ''al-Ḥafṣiyūn'') were a Sunni Muslim Sunni Islam () is by far the largest branch of Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second ...
inaugurated , established_date6 = 1207 , established_event7 = Husainid Dynasty inaugurated , established_date7 = 15 July 1705 , established_event8 = Independence from
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning Western Europe and Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Ame ...
, established_date8 = 20 March 1956 , established_event9= Republic declared , established_date9=25 July 1957 , established_event10=
1987 Tunisian coup d'état The 1987 Tunisian coup d'état involved the bloodless ousting of the aging President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university ...
, established_date10=7 November 1987 , established_event11=
Revolution DayRevolution Day or the Day of the Revolution refers to public holidays or remembrance days in various country held in commemoration of an important event in the country's history, usually the starting point or a turning point in a revolution that led ...
, established_date11=14 January 2011 , established_event12= 2nd republic declared , established_date12=10 February 2014 , area_km2 = 163610 , area_rank = 91st , area_sq_mi = 63170 , percent_water = 5.04 , population_estimate = 11,708,370 , population_census = , population_estimate_year = 2020 , population_estimate_rank = 81st , population_census_year = , population_density_km2 = 71.65 , population_density_sq_mi = 186 , population_density_rank = 110th , GDP_PPP = $159.707 billion , GDP_PPP_year = 2020 , GDP_PPP_rank = , GDP_PPP_per_capita = $13,417 , GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank = , GDP_nominal = $44.192 billion , GDP_nominal_year = 2020 , GDP_nominal_per_capita = $3,713 , GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank = , Gini = 35.8 , Gini_year = 2017 , Gini_change = , Gini_ref = , HDI = 0.740 , HDI_year = 2019 , HDI_change = increase , HDI_ref = , HDI_rank = 95th , currency =
Tunisian dinar The dinar ( ar, دينار, french: Dinar, ISO 4217 currency code: ''TND'') is the currency of Tunisia. It is subdivided into 1000 milim or millimes (). The abbreviation ''DT'' is often used in Tunisia, although writing "dinar" after the amount is ...
, currency_code = TND , time_zone =
CET CET or cet may refer to: Places * Cet, Albania * Cet, standard astronomical abbreviation for the constellation Cetus * Colchester Town railway station (National Rail code CET), in Colchester, England Arts, entertainment, and media * Comcast Enter ...
, utc_offset = +1 , drives_on = right , calling_code = +216 , cctld = , today = Tunisia, ';
Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically Morocco ) , ...
: , ; french: Tunisie. officially the Republic of Tunisia, '; french: République tunisienne. The native Arabic official name translates more closely to "Tunisian Republic", as does the commonly used French translation, but the less-exact English translation "Republic of Tunisia" is used in English even by the Tunisian government for official purposes (e.g., the designation used by the Tunisian embassy in Washington, D.C.) is the northernmost country in
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous , after in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of 's total surface area and 20% of its land area.Sayre ...

Africa
. It is a part of the
Maghreb The Maghreb (; ar, المغرب, al-Maghrib, lit=the west), also known as Northwest Africa, is the western part of North Africa and the Arab world. The region includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania (also considered part of West Africa), Morocco and ...

Maghreb
region of
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
, and is bordered by
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religion = , official_languages = , languages_type = Oth ...

Algeria
to the west and southwest,
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
to the southeast, and the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
to the north and east; covering , with a population of 11 million. It contains the eastern end of the
Atlas Mountains The Atlas Mountains ( ar, جِبَال ٱلْأَطْلَس, jibāl al-ʾaṭlas /ʒibaːl al atˤlas/, Tamazight The Berber languages, also known as the Amazigh languages (Berber name: , ; Neo-Tifinagh: ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ, Tuareg Tifin ...

Atlas Mountains
and the northern reaches of the
Sahara The Sahara (, ; ar, الصحراء الكبرى, ', 'the Greatest Desert') is a desert on the African continent Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landma ...

Sahara
desert, with much of its remaining territory
arable land Arable land (from the la, arabilis, "able to be plough A plough or plow ( US; both ) is a farm tool for loosening or turning the soil before sowing seed or planting. Ploughs were traditionally drawn by oxen and horses, but in modern farms ...

arable land
. Its of coastline include the African conjunction of the western and eastern parts of the
Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as the Mediterranean region or sometimes Mediterranea) is the region of lands around the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ...
. Tunisia is home to Africa's northernmost point,
Cape Angela Cape Angela (french: Cap Angela; ar, رأس أنجلة) is a rocky headland A headland, also known as a head, is a coast The coast, also known as the coastline or seashore, is defined as the area where land meets the sea or ocean, or as a lin ...

Cape Angela
; and its capital and
largest city The United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, ...
is
Tunis Tunis ( ar, تونس ') is the and largest city of . The greater metropolitan area of Tunis, often referred to as "", has about 2,700,000 inhabitants. , it is the fourth-largest city in the region (after , and ) and the in the . Situated on ...

Tunis
, located on its northeastern coast, which lends the country its name. From early antiquity, Tunisia was inhabited by the indigenous
Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, the Canary Islands, and to a lesser ...

Berbers
.
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3 ...
ns began to arrive in the 12th century BC, establishing several settlements, of which
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading hub of the Ancient Mediterranean and one of the most affluent cities of the . The city developed from a n colony ...

Carthage
emerged as the most powerful by the 7th century BC. A major mercantile empire and a military rival of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
, Carthage was
defeated Defeated may refer to: *Defeated (Breaking Benjamin song), "Defeated" (Breaking Benjamin song) *Defeated (Anastacia song), "Defeated" (Anastacia song) *"Defeated", a song by Snoop Dogg from the album ''Bible of Love'' *Defeated, Tennessee, an uninc ...
by the Romans in 146 BC, who occupied Tunisia for most of the next 800 years, introducing
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
and leaving architectural legacies like the . After several attempts starting in 647, Muslims conquered all of Tunisia by 697, bringing
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission
o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling o ...
) is an religion teaching that is a of .Peters, F. E. 2009. "Allāh." In , edited by J. L. Esposito. Oxford: . . (See alsoquick reference) " e Muslims' und ...
and
Arab culture Arab culture is the culture of the Arabs, from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the east, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean in the southeast. Language, literature, gastrono ...
to the local inhabitants. The
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
established control in 1574 and held sway for over 300 years, until the French conquered Tunisia in 1881. Tunisia gained independence under the leadership of
Habib Bourguiba Habib Bourguiba (; ar, الحبيب بورقيبة, al-Ḥabīb Būrqībah; 3 August 19036 April 2000) was a Tunisian lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at lawAttorney at law or attorn ...
, who declared the Tunisian Republic in 1957. Today, Tunisia is the smallest nation in North Africa, and its culture and identity are rooted in this centuries-long intersection of different cultures and ethnicities. In 2011, the
Tunisian Revolution The Tunisian Revolution, also called the Jasmine Revolution, was an intensive 28-day campaign of civil resistance. It included a series of street demonstrations which took place in Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic pr ...
, triggered by the lack of freedom and
democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to cho ...

democracy
under the 24-year rule of president
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali Zine El Abidine Ben Ali ( ar, زين العابدين بن علي, '; 3 September 1936 – 19 September 2019), commonly known as Ben Ali ( ar, بن علي) or Ezzine ( ar, الزين), was a Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthogra ...

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
, overthrew his regime and catalyzed the broader
Arab Spring The Arab Spring ( ar, الربيع العربي) was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Arab world in the early 2010s. It began in response to oppressive regimes and a low stand ...
across the region. Free multiparty parliamentary
elections An election is a formal group decision-makingGroup decision-making (also known as collaborative decision-making or collective decision-making) is a situation faced when individuals An individual is that which exists as a distinct entity. Ind ...
were held shortly after; the country again voted for parliament on 26 October 2014, and for president on 23 November 2014. Tunisia remains a
unitary Unitary may refer to: * Unitary construction, in automotive design a common term for unibody (unitary body/chassis) construction * Lethal Unitary Chemical Agents and Munitions (Unitary), as chemical weapons opposite of Binary * Unitarianism, in Chr ...
semi-presidential A semi-presidential system or dual executive system is a system of government in which a president exists alongside a prime minister and a cabinet, with the latter being responsible to the legislature of the state. It differs from a parliam ...
representative democratic
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...

republic
; and is the only North African country classified as "Free" by
Freedom House Freedom House is a U.S.-based, U.S. government-funded non-profit non-governmental organization File:Europe in a suitcase - UK.jpg, upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience a ...
, and considered the only fully democratic state in the
Arab World The Arab world ( ar, العالم العربي '), formally the Arab homeland ( '), also known as the Arab nation ( '), the Arabsphere, or the Arab states, consists of the 22 Member states of the Arab League, Arab countries which are members of ...

Arab World
in the
Economist Intelligence Unit The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is the research and analysis division of the Economist Group The Economist Group (legally The Economist Newspaper Limited) is a media company headquartered in London London is the capital city, capita ...

Economist Intelligence Unit
's
Democracy Index The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is the research and analysis division of Economist Group providing forecasting and advisory services through research and analys ...

Democracy Index
. It is one of the few countries in Africa ranking high in the
Human Development Index The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, its current age, and ot ...
, with one of the highest per capita incomes in the continent. Tunisia is well integrated into the international community. It is a member of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
,
La Francophonie Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the largest city in California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3milli ...
, the
Arab League The Arab League ( ar, الجامعة العربية, '), formally the League of Arab States ( ar, جامعة الدول العربية, '), is a regional organization in the Arab world, which is located in Africa and Western Asia. The Arab L ...

Arab League
, the
OIC The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC; ar, منظمة التعاون الإسلامي, Munaẓẓama at-Taʿāwun al-ʾIslāmiyy; french: Organisation de la coopération islamique), formerly the Organisation of the Islamic Conference ...
, the
African Union The African Union (AU) is a continental union A continental union is a regional organization which facilitates pan-continental integration. Continental unions vary from collaborative intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organiza ...

African Union
, the
Non-Aligned Movement The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 developing world Image:Imf-advanced-un-least-developed-2008.svg, 450px, Example of Older Classifications by the International Monetary Fund, IMF and the United Nations, UN from 2008 A deve ...
, the
International Criminal Court The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizatio ...

International Criminal Court
, and the
Group of 77 The Group of 77 (G77) at the is a coalition of 134 , designed to promote its members' collective interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations. There were 77 founding members of the organization headquartered ...
, among others. It maintains close economic and political relations with some European countries, particularly with France, and
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...
, which geographically lie very close to it. Tunisia also has an
association agreement A European Union Association Agreement or simply Association Agreement (AA) is a treaty between the European Union (EU), its Member States of the European Union, Member States and a non-EU country that creates a framework for co-operation between ...
with the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
, and has also attained the status of a
major non-NATO ally Major non-NATO ally (MNNA) is a designation given by the United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government) is the national government of the United States The United States of America ...
of the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
.


Etymology

The word ''Tunisia'' is derived from
Tunis Tunis ( ar, تونس ') is the and largest city of . The greater metropolitan area of Tunis, often referred to as "", has about 2,700,000 inhabitants. , it is the fourth-largest city in the region (after , and ) and the in the . Situated on ...

Tunis
; a central urban hub and the capital of modern-day Tunisia. The present form of the name, with its Latinate suffix ', evolved from French , in turn generally associated with the
Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically Morocco ) , ...

Berber
root ⵜⵏⵙ, transcribed , which means "to lay down" or "encampment". It is sometimes also associated with the Punic goddess '''', ancient city of ''Tynes''. and others associated with the word "" (different from ) in Arabic which is a verb that means to socialize and to be friendly. The French derivative was adopted in some European languages with slight modifications, introducing a distinctive name to designate the country. Other languages have left the name untouched, such as the Russian () and Spanish . In this case, the same name is used for both country and city, as with the Arabic , and only by context can one tell the difference. Before Tunisia, the territory's name was
Ifriqiya Ifriqiya ( '), also known as al-Maghrib al-Adna ( ar, المغرب الأدنى), was a medieval historical region comprising today's Tunisia and eastern Algeria, and Tripolitania (today's western Libya). It included all of what had previously ...
or
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...
, which gave the present-day name of the continent Africa.


History


Antiquity

Farming methods reached the
Nile Valley The Nile, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nubi ...

Nile Valley
from the
Fertile Crescent The Fertile Crescent is a crescent-shaped region in the Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an establishe ...

Fertile Crescent
region about 5000 BC, and spread to the
Maghreb The Maghreb (; ar, المغرب, al-Maghrib, lit=the west), also known as Northwest Africa, is the western part of North Africa and the Arab world. The region includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania (also considered part of West Africa), Morocco and ...

Maghreb
by about 4000 BC. Agricultural communities in the humid coastal plains of central Tunisia then were ancestors of today's
Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically Morocco ) , ...
tribes. It was believed in ancient times that Africa was originally populated by
Gaetuli Gaetuli was the Romanised name of an ancient Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concent ...
ans and Libyans, both nomadic peoples. According to the Roman historian
Sallust Gaius Sallustius Crispus, usually anglicised Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of modifying foreign words, names, and phrases to make them easier to spell, pronounc ...

Sallust
, the demigod Hercules died in Spain and his polyglot eastern army was left to settle the land, with some to Africa. Persians went to the West and intermarried with the Gaetulians and became the Numidians. The Medes settled and were known as Mauri, later Moors. The Numidians and Moors belonged to the race from which the Berbers are descended. The translated meaning of Numidian is Nomad and indeed the people were semi-nomadic until the reign of
Masinissa Masinissa (''c.'' 238 BC – 148 BC), also spelled Massinissa, Massena and Massan, was an ancient Numidians, Numidian king best known for leading a federation of Massylii, Massylii Berber tribes during the Second Punic War (218–201 BC), ulti ...
of the Massyli tribe. At the beginning of recorded history, Tunisia was inhabited by
Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically Morocco ) , ...
tribes. Its coast was settled by
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3 ...
ns starting as early as the 12th century BC (
Bizerte Bizerte or Bizerta ( ar, بنزرت '), the classical antiquity, classical Hippo, is a town of Bizerte Governorate in Tunisia. It is the List of northernmost items, northernmost city in Africa, located 65 km (40mil) north of the capital Tunis. ...

Bizerte
, Utica). The city of
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading hub of the Ancient Mediterranean and one of the most affluent cities of the . The city developed from a n colony ...

Carthage
was founded in the 9th century BC by Phoenicians. Legend says that
Dido tells Dido of the Trojan War In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans (Homer), Achaeans (Greeks) after Paris (mythology), Paris of Troy took Helen of Troy, Helen from her husband Menelaus, king o ...
from Tyre, now in modern-day Lebanon, founded the city in 814 BC, as retold by the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...

Greek
writer Timaeus of Tauromenium. The settlers of Carthage brought their culture and religion from Phoenicia, now present-day
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part ...

Lebanon
and adjacent areas. After the series of wars with Greek city-states of Sicily in the 5th century BC, Carthage rose to power and eventually became the dominant civilization in the Western
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...

Mediterranean
. The people of Carthage worshipped a pantheon of Middle Eastern gods including
Baal Baal (), properly Baal,; phn, , baʿl; hbo, , baʿal, ). was a title and honorific An honorific is a title that conveys esteem, courtesy, or respect for position or rank when used in addressing or referring to a person. Sometimes, the term " ...

Baal
and
Tanit Tanit (Punic The Punics, Carthaginians or Western Phoenicians, were a group of peoples in the Western Mediterranean who traced their origins to the Phoenicians. In modern scholarship, the term 'Punic' – the Latin equivalent of the Greek-deriv ...

Tanit
. Tanit's symbol, a simple female figure with extended arms and long dress, is a popular icon found in ancient sites. The founders of Carthage also established a
Tophet In the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; : , or ), is the of scriptures, including the , the , and the . These texts are almost exclusively in , with a few passages in (in the books of and , the verse 10:11, and some single word ...
, which was altered in Roman times. A Carthaginian invasion of Italy led by
Hannibal Hannibal (; xpu, 𐤇𐤍𐤁𐤏𐤋, ''Ḥannibaʿl''; 247 – between 183 and 181 BC) was a Carthaginian general and statesman who commanded the forces of Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern ...

Hannibal
during the
Second Punic War The Second Punic War, which lasted from 218 to 201BC, was the second of three wars fought between Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading ...

Second Punic War
, one of a series of wars with
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...
, nearly crippled the rise of Roman power. From the conclusion of the Second Punic War in 202 BC, Carthage functioned as a client state of the Roman Republic for another 50 years. Following the Battle of Carthage which began in 149 BC during the
Third Punic War The Third Punic War (149–146 BC) was the third and last of the Punic Wars The Punic Wars were a series of wars (taking place between 264 and 146BC) that were fought between the Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūbli ...
, Carthage was conquered by Rome in 146 BC. Following its conquest, the Romans renamed Carthage to
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...
, incorporating it as a province. During the Roman period, the area of what is now Tunisia enjoyed a huge development. The economy, mainly during the Empire, boomed: the prosperity of the area depended on agriculture. Called the ''Granary of the Empire'', the area of actual Tunisia and coastal
Tripolitania Tripolitania ( ar, طرابلس '; Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated ...

Tripolitania
, according to one estimate, produced one million tons of cereals each year, one-quarter of which was exported to the Empire. Additional crops included beans, figs, grapes, and other fruits. By the 2nd century, olive oil rivaled cereals as an export item. In addition to the cultivations and the capture and transporting of exotic wild animals from the western mountains, the principal production and exports included the textiles, marble, wine, timber, livestock, pottery such as
African Red Slip African red slip ware, also African Red Slip or ARS, is a category of ''terra sigillata'', or "fine" Ancient Roman pottery produced from the mid-1st century AD into the 7th century in the province of Africa Proconsularis, specifically that part ro ...
, and wool. There was even a huge production of mosaics and ceramics, exported mainly to Italy, in the central area of
El Djem El Djem or El Jem ( Tunisian Arabic:, ') is a town in Mahdia Governorate, Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in northern Africa , image_map2 = , capital = Tunis , la ...

El Djem
(where there was the second biggest amphitheater in the Roman Empire). Berber bishop
Donatus Magnus Donatus Magnus, also known as Donatus of Casae Nigrae, became leader of a schismatic sect known as the Donatists alt=Painting of Augustine of Hippo arguing with a man before an audience, Charles-André van Loo's 18th-century ''Augustine arguing ...
was the founder of a Christian group known as the
Donatist Image:Augustine and donatists.jpg, alt=Painting of Augustine of Hippo arguing with a man before an audience, Charles-André van Loo's 18th-century ''Augustine arguing with Donatists'' Donatism was a Christian sect leading to schism in the Catholic ...
s. During the 5th and 6th centuries (from 430 to 533 AD), the Germanic
Vandals The Vandals were a Germanic peoples, Germanic people who first inhabited what is now southern Poland. They established Vandal Kingdom, Vandal kingdoms on the Iberian Peninsula, Mediterranean islands, and North Africa in the fifth century. The ...
invaded and ruled over a kingdom in Northwest Africa that included present-day Tripoli. The region was easily reconquered in 533–534 AD, during the rule of Emperor
Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation o ...
, by the led by General
Belisarius Flavius Belisarius ( el, Φλάβιος Βελισάριος; c. 500The exact date of his birth is unknown. – 565) was a military commander of the Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, o ...
.


Middle Ages

Sometime between the second half of the 7th century and the early part of the 8th century,
Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an mainly inhabiting the . In modern usage the term refers to those who originate from an Arab co ...

Arab
Muslim conquest occurred in the region. They founded the first Islamic city in Northwest Africa,
Kairouan Kairouan, also spelled Al Qayrawān or Kairwan ( ar, ٱلْقَيْرَوَان, al-Qayrawān , aeb, script=Latn, Qeirwān ), is the capital of the Kairouan Governorate in Tunisia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city was founded by the Uma ...

Kairouan
. It was there in 670 AD that the
Mosque of Uqba The Great Mosque of Kairouan ( ar, جامع القيروان الأكبر), also known as the Mosque of Uqba (), is a mosque situated in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Kairouan, Tunisia and is one of the most impressive and largest Islamic mo ...
, or the Great Mosque of Kairouan, was constructed. This mosque is the oldest and most prestigious sanctuary in the Muslim West with the oldest standing
minaret Minaret (; fa, گل‌دسته ', az, minarə, tr, minare,"minaret."
''Online Etymology Dictiona ...

minaret
in the world; it is also considered a masterpiece of Islamic art and architecture. Tunis was taken in 695, re-taken by the Byzantine Eastern Romans in 697, but lost permanently in 698. The transition from a Latin-speaking Christian Berber society to a Muslim and mostly Arabic-speaking society took over 400 years (the equivalent process in Egypt and the Fertile Crescent took 600 years) and resulted in the final disappearance of Christianity and Latin in the 12th or 13th centuries. The majority of the population were not Muslim until quite late in the 9th century; a vast majority were during the 10th. Also, some Tunisian Christians emigrated; some richer members of society did so after the conquest in 698 and others were welcomed by Norman rulers to Sicily or Italy in the 11th and 12th centuries – the logical destination because of the 1200 year close connection between the two regions. The Arab governors of Tunis founded the
Aghlabid dynasty 300px, An Aghlabid cistern in Kairouan The Aghlabids ( ar, الأغالبة) were an Arab dynasty of emirs from the Najd Najd, ( ar, نَجْدٌ, ) or the Nejd, forms the geographic center of Saudi Arabia (Shahada) , national_anthe ...
, which ruled Tunisia,
Tripolitania Tripolitania ( ar, طرابلس '; Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated ...

Tripolitania
and eastern Algeria from 800 to 909. Tunisia flourished under Arab rule when extensive systems were constructed to supply towns with water for household use and irrigation that promoted agriculture (especially olive production). This prosperity permitted luxurious court life and was marked by the construction of new palace cities such as al-Abassiya (809) and Raqadda (877). After conquering
Cairo Cairo ( ; ar, القاهرة, al-Qāhirah, , Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in E ...

Cairo
, the
Fatimids The Fatimid Caliphate ( ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْفَاطِمِيَّة , al-Ḫilāfa al-Fāṭimiyya) was an Isma'ilism, Ismaili Shia caliphate of the 10th to the 12th centuries AD. Spanning a large area of North Africa, it range ...

Fatimids
abandoned Tunisia and parts of Eastern Algeria to the local
Zirids The Zirid dynasty ( ar, الزيريون, translit=Al-Zīryūn), Banu Ziri ( ar, بنو زيري, translit=Banu Zīry), or the Zirid state ( ar, الدولة الزيرية, translit=Al-dawla al-Zīrya) was a from modern-day which ruled the ...

Zirids
(972–1148). Zirid Tunisia flourished in many areas: agriculture, industry, trade, and religious and secular learning. Management by the later Zirid
emirs Emir (; ar, أمير ' ), sometimes transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system, based on a repertoire of specific elemen ...
was neglectful though, and political instability was connected to the decline of Tunisian trade and agriculture. The depredation of the Tunisian campaigns by the
Banu Hilal The Banu Hilal ( ar, بنو هلال or ) was a confederation of Arabian tribes The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") is a peni ...
, a warlike Arab Bedouin tribe encouraged by the Fatimids of Egypt to seize Northwest Africa, sent the region's rural and urban economic life into further decline. Consequently, the region underwent rapid urbanisation as famines depopulated the countryside and industry shifted from agriculture to manufactures. The Arab historian
Ibn Khaldun Ibn Khaldun (; ar, أبو زيد عبد الرحمن بن محمد بن خلدون الحضرمي, ; 27 May 1332 – 17 March 1406) was an Arabs, Arab The Historical Muhammad', Irving M. Zeitlin, (Polity Press, 2007), p. 21; "It is, of course ...
wrote that the lands ravaged by Banu Hilal invaders had become completely arid desert. The main Tunisian cities were conquered by the
Normans The Normans (Norman Norman or Normans may refer to: Ethnic and cultural identity * The Normans The Normans (Norman language, Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were inhabitants of the early medieval Duchy of N ...

Normans
of
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...

Sicily
under the
Kingdom of Africa The Kingdom of Africa was an extension of the frontier zone of the Kingdom of Sicily, Siculo-Norman state in the former Roman province of Africa (''Ifrīqiya'' in Arabic), corresponding to Tunisia and parts of Algeria and Libya today. The main ...
in the 12th century, but following the conquest of Tunisia in 1159–1160 by the
Almohads The Almohad Caliphate (International Phonetic Alphabet, IPA: ; from ar, المُوَحِّدون, translit=al-Muwaḥḥidūn, lit=those who profess the unity of God) was a North African Berbers, Berber Muslim empire founded in the 12th century. ...

Almohads
the Normans were evacuated to Sicily. Communities of Tunisian Christians would still exist in
NefzaouaNefzaoua (نفزاوة) is a region of south-west Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in northern Africa , image_map2 = , capital = Tunis , largest_city = capital , coo ...
up to the 14th century. The Almohads initially ruled over Tunisia through a governor, usually a near relative of the Caliph. Despite the prestige of the new masters, the country was still unruly, with continuous rioting and fighting between the townsfolk and wandering Arabs and Turks, the latter being subjects of the Muslim Armenian adventurer Karakush. Also, Tunisia was occupied by
Ayyubids The Ayyubid dynasty ( ar, الأيوبيون '; Kurdish: ئەیووبیەکان Eyûbiyan) was a Sunni Muslim dynasty of Kurdish origin, founded by Saladin Al-Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub ( ar, الناصر صلاح الدين يوس ...
between 1182 and 1183 and again between 1184 and 1187. The greatest threat to Almohad rule in Tunisia was the
Banu GhaniyaThe Banu Ghaniya were an Almoravid Sanhaja Berber dynasty. Their first leader, Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Yusuf, a son of Ali ibn Yusuf al-Massufi and the Almoravid Princess Ghaniya, was appointed as governor of the Balearic Islands The Balearic Islan ...
, relatives of the
Almoravids The Almoravid dynasty ( ar, المرابطون, translit=Al-Murābiṭūn, lit=those from the ribats) was an imperial Berbers, Berber Muslim dynasty centered in Morocco. It established an empire in the 11th century that stretched over the west ...
, who from their base in
Mallorca Mallorca, or Majorca, is the largest island in the Balearic Islands, which are part of Spain and located in the Mediterranean. The capital of the island, Palma, Majorca, Palma, is also the capital of the autonomous communities of Spain, autono ...

Mallorca
tried to restore Almoravid rule over the Maghreb. Around 1200 they succeeded in extending their rule over the whole of Tunisia until they were crushed by Almohad troops in 1207. After this success, the Almohads installed Walid Abu Hafs as the governor of Tunisia. Tunisia remained part of the Almohad state, until 1230 when the son of Abu Hafs declared himself independent. During the reign of the
Hafsid dynasty The Hafsids ( ar, الحفصيون ''al-Ḥafṣiyūn'') were a Sunni Muslim Sunni Islam () is by far the largest branch of Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second ...
, fruitful commercial relationships were established with several Christian Mediterranean states. In the late 16th century the coast became a
pirate Piracy is an act of robbery Robbery is the crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted ...

pirate
stronghold.


Ottoman Tunisia

In the last years of the
Hafsid dynasty The Hafsids ( ar, الحفصيون ''al-Ḥafṣiyūn'') were a Sunni Muslim Sunni Islam () is by far the largest branch of Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second ...
, Spain seized many of the coastal cities, but these were recovered by the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
. The first Ottoman conquest of Tunis took place in 1534 under the command of , the younger brother of Oruç Reis, who was the
Kapudan Pasha The Kapudan Pasha ( ota, قپودان پاشا, modern Turkish Turkish ( , ), also referred to as Istanbul Turkish (''İstanbul Türkçesi'') or Turkey Turkish (''Türkiye Türkçesi''), is the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages The ...
of the Ottoman Fleet during the reign of
Suleiman the Magnificent Suleiman I ( ota, سليمان اول, Süleyman-ı Evvel; tr, I. Süleyman; 6 November 14946 September 1566), commonly known as Suleiman the Magnificent in the West and Suleiman the Lawgiver ( ota, قانونى سلطان سليمان, Ḳā ...

Suleiman the Magnificent
. However, it was not until the final Ottoman reconquest of Tunis from Spain in 1574 under Kapudan Pasha Uluç Ali Reis that the Ottomans permanently acquired the former History of medieval Tunisia#Hafsid dynasty of Tunis, Hafsid Tunisia, retaining it until the French conquest of Tunisia in 1881. Initially under Turkish rule from Algiers, soon the Ottoman Porte appointed directly for
Tunis Tunis ( ar, تونس ') is the and largest city of . The greater metropolitan area of Tunis, often referred to as "", has about 2,700,000 inhabitants. , it is the fourth-largest city in the region (after , and ) and the in the . Situated on ...

Tunis
a governor called the Pasha supported by janissary forces. Before long, however, Tunisia became in effect an autonomous province, under the local Bey. Under its Turkish People, Turkish governors, the Beys, Tunisia attained virtual independence. The Husainid Dynasty, Hussein dynasty of Beys, established in 1705, lasted until 1957. This evolution of status was from time to time challenged without success by Algiers. During this era the governing councils controlling Tunisia remained largely composed of a foreign elite who continued to conduct state business in the Turkish language. Attacks on European shipping were made by Barbary corsairs, corsairs, primarily from Algiers, but also from Tunis and Tripoli, yet after a long period of declining raids the growing power of the European states finally forced its termination. Under the Ottoman Empire, the boundaries of Tunisia contracted; it lost territory to the west (Constantine, Algeria, Constantine) and to the east (Tripoli). The Second plague pandemic, plague epidemics ravaged Tunisia in 1784–1785, 1796–1797 and 1818–1820. In the 19th century, the rulers of Tunisia became aware of the ongoing efforts at political and social Tanzimat, reform in the Ottoman capital. The Bey of Tunis then, by his own lights but informed by the Turkish example, attempted to effect a modernizing reform of institutions and the economy. Tunisian international debt grew unmanageable. This was the reason or pretext for French forces to establish a History of French era Tunisia, protectorate in 1881.


French Tunisia (1881–1956)

In 1869, Tunisia declared itself bankrupt and an international financial commission took control over its economy. In 1881, using the pretext of a Tunisian incursion into
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religion = , official_languages = , languages_type = Oth ...

Algeria
, the French invaded with an army of about 36,000 and forced the Bey to agree to the terms of the 1881 Treaty of Bardo (Al Qasr as Sa'id). With this treaty, Tunisia was officially made a French occupation of Tunisia, French protectorate, over the objections of Italy. Under French colonization, European settlements in the country were actively encouraged; the number of French people, French colonists grew from 34,000 in 1906 to 144,000 in 1945. In 1910 there were 105,000 Italian Tunisians, Italians in Tunisia. During World War II, French Tunisia was ruled by the collaborationist Vichy France, Vichy government located in Metropolitan France. The antisemitic Vichy anti-Jewish legislation, Statute on Jews enacted by the Vichy government was also implemented in Vichy-controlled Northwest Africa and other overseas French territories. Thus, the persecution, and murder of the Jews from 1940 to 1943 was part of the Holocaust in France. From November 1942 until May 1943, Vichy-controlled Tunisia was occupied by Germany. Schutzstaffel, SS Commander Walter Rauff continued to implement the "Final Solution" there. From 1942 to 1943, Tunisia was the scene of the Tunisia Campaign, a series of battles between the Axis powers, Axis and Allies of World War II, Allied forces. The battle opened with initial success by the German and Italian forces, but the massive supply and numerical superiority of the Allies led to the Tunisian Campaign, Axis surrender on 13 May 1943.


Post-independence (1956–2011)

Tunisia achieved independence from France on 20 March 1956 with
Habib Bourguiba Habib Bourguiba (; ar, الحبيب بورقيبة, al-Ḥabīb Būrqībah; 3 August 19036 April 2000) was a Tunisian lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at lawAttorney at law or attorn ...
as Prime Minister. 20 March is celebrated annually as Tunisian Independence Day. A year later, Tunisia was declared a republic, with Bourguiba as List of Presidents of Tunisia, the first President. From independence in 1956 until the 2011 revolution, the government and the Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD), formerly Neo Destour and the Socialist Destourian Party, were effectively one. Following a report by Amnesty International, ''The Guardian'' called Tunisia "one of the most modern but repressive countries in the Arab world". In November 1987, doctors declared Bourguiba unfit to rule and, in a bloodless coup d'état, Prime Minister
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali Zine El Abidine Ben Ali ( ar, زين العابدين بن علي, '; 3 September 1936 – 19 September 2019), commonly known as Ben Ali ( ar, بن علي) or Ezzine ( ar, الزين), was a Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthogra ...

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
assumed the presidency in accordance with Article 57 of the Tunisian constitution. The anniversary of Ben Ali's succession, 7 November, was celebrated as a national holiday. He was consistently re-elected with enormous majorities every five years (well over 80 percent of the vote), the last being 25 October 2009, until he fled the country amid popular unrest in January 2011. Ben Ali and his family were accused of corruption and plundering the country's money. Economic liberalisation provided further opportunities for financial mismanagement, while corrupt members of the Trabelsi family, most notably in the cases of Imed Trabelsi and Belhassen Trabelsi, controlled much of the business sector in the country. The First Lady Leila Ben Ali was described as an "unabashed Oniomania, shopaholic" who used the state airplane to make frequent unofficial trips to Europe's fashion capitals. Tunisia refused a French request for the extradition of two of the President's nephews, from Leila's side, who were accused by the French State prosecutor of having stolen two mega-yachts from a French marina. Ben Ali's son-in-law Sakher El Materi was rumoured as being primed to eventually take over the country. Independent human rights groups, such as Amnesty International,
Freedom House Freedom House is a U.S.-based, U.S. government-funded non-profit non-governmental organization File:Europe in a suitcase - UK.jpg, upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience a ...
, and Protection International, documented that basic human and political rights were not respected. The regime obstructed in any way possible the work of local human rights organizations. In 2008, in terms of Press freedom, Tunisia was ranked 143rd out of 173.


Post-revolution (since 2011)

The Tunisian Revolution was an intensive campaign of civil resistance that was precipitated by high unemployment, food inflation, corruption, a lack of freedom of speech and other political freedoms and poor living conditions. Labour unions were said to be an integral part of the protests. The protests inspired the
Arab Spring The Arab Spring ( ar, الربيع العربي) was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Arab world in the early 2010s. It began in response to oppressive regimes and a low stand ...
, a wave of similar actions throughout the Arab world. The catalyst for mass demonstrations was the death of Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old Tunisian street vendor, who set himself afire on 17 December 2010 in protest at the confiscation of his wares and the humiliation inflicted on him by a municipal official named Faida Hamdy. Anger and violence intensified following Bouazizi's death on 4 January 2011, ultimately leading longtime
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali Zine El Abidine Ben Ali ( ar, زين العابدين بن علي, '; 3 September 1936 – 19 September 2019), commonly known as Ben Ali ( ar, بن علي) or Ezzine ( ar, الزين), was a Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthogra ...

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
to resign and flee the country on 14 January 2011, after 23 years in power. Protests continued for banning of the ruling party and the eviction of all its members from the transitional government formed by Mohammed Ghannouchi. Eventually the new government gave in to the demands. A Tunis court banned the ex-ruling party RCD and confiscated all its resources. A decree by the minister of the interior banned the "political police", special forces which were used to intimidate and persecute political activists. On 3 March 2011, the interim president announced that Tunisian Constituent Assembly election, 2011, elections to a Constituent Assembly would be held on 24 July 2011. On 9 June 2011, the prime minister announced the election would be postponed until 23 October 2011. International and internal observers declared the vote free and fair. The Ennahda Movement, formerly banned under the Ben Ali regime, came out of the election as the largest party, with 89 seats out of a total of 217. On 12 December 2011, former dissident and veteran human rights activist Moncef Marzouki was elected president. In March 2012, Ennahda declared it will not support making sharia the main source of legislation in the new constitution, maintaining the secular nature of the state. Ennahda's stance on the issue was criticized by hardline Islamists, who wanted strict sharia, but was welcomed by secular parties. On 6 February 2013, Chokri Belaid, the leader of the leftist opposition and prominent critic of Ennahda, was assassinated. In 2014, President Moncef Marzouki established Tunisia's Truth and Dignity Commission (Tunisia), Truth and Dignity Commission, as a key part of creating a national reconciliation. Tunisia was hit by two terror attacks on foreign tourists in 2015, Bardo National Museum attack, first killing 22 people at the Bardo National Museum (Tunis), Bardo National Museum, and 2015 Sousse attacks, later killing 38 people at the Sousse beachfront. Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi renewed the state of emergency in October for three more months. The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet won the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize for its work in building a peaceful, pluralistic political order in Tunisia. Tunisia's first democratically elected president Beji Caid Essebsi died in July 2019. Following him,
Kais Saied Kais Saied ( ar, قَيس سَعيد; born 22 February 1958) is a Tunisian politician, jurist and a retired university professor of constitutional law serving as the president of Tunisia since October 2019. He was president of the Tunisian Associa ...
became Tunisia's president after a landslide victory in the 2019 Tunisian presidential elections in October. On 25 July 2021, amid ongoing demonstrations concerning government dysfunction and corruption and rises in COVID-19 cases,
Kais Saied Kais Saied ( ar, قَيس سَعيد; born 22 February 1958) is a Tunisian politician, jurist and a retired university professor of constitutional law serving as the president of Tunisia since October 2019. He was president of the Tunisian Associa ...
2021 Tunisian political crisis, suspended parliament, dismissed the prime minister and withdrew immunity of parliament members. In September 2021, Saied said he would appoint a committee to help draft new constitutional amendments. On 29 September, he named
Najla Bouden Najla Bouden ( ar, نجلاء بودن), also known as Najla Bouden Romdhane (; born 29 June 1958), is a Tunisian geologist and university professor who is serving as the Prime Minister of Tunisia The prime minister of Tunisia (informally abbrevi ...
as the new prime minister and tasked her with forming a Bouden Cabinet, cabinet, which was sworn in on 11 October.


Geography

Tunisia is situated on the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...

Mediterranean
coast of Northwest Africa, midway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Nile Delta. It is bordered by
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religion = , official_languages = , languages_type = Oth ...

Algeria
on the west and southwest and
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
on the south east. It lies between latitudes 30th parallel north, 30° and 38th parallel north, 38°N, and longitudes 7th meridian east, 7° and 12th meridian east, 12°E. An abrupt southward turn of the Mediterranean coast in northern Tunisia gives the country two distinctive Mediterranean coasts, west–east in the north, and north–south in the east. Though it is relatively small in size, Tunisia has great environmental diversity due to its north–south extent. Its east–west extent is limited. Differences in Tunisia, like the rest of the Maghreb, are largely north–south environmental differences defined by sharply decreasing rainfall southward from any point. The Dorsal, the eastern extension of the Atlas Mountains, runs across Tunisia in a northeasterly direction from the Algerian border in the west to the Cape Bon peninsula in the east. North of the Dorsal is the Tell, a region characterized by low, rolling hills and plains, again an extension of mountains to the west in Algeria. In the Khroumire, Khroumerie, the northwestern corner of the Tunisian Tell, elevations reach and snow occurs in winter. The Sahel, Tunisia, Sahel, a broadening coastal plain along Tunisia's eastern Mediterranean coast, is among the world's premier areas of olive cultivation. Inland from the Sahel, between the Dorsal and a range of hills south of Gafsa, are the Steppes. Much of the southern region is semi-arid and desert. Tunisia has a coastline long. In maritime terms, the country claims a contiguous zone of , and a territorial sea of . The city of Tunis is built on a hill slope down to the lake of Tunis. These hills contain places such as Notre-Dame de Tunis, Ras Tabia, La Rabta, La Kasbah, Montfleury and La Manoubia with altitudes just above 50 metres (160 feet). The city is located at the crossroads of a narrow strip of land between Lake Tunis and Séjoumi.


Climate

Tunisia's climate is Mediterranean climate, Mediterranean in the north, with mild rainy winters and hot, dry summers. The south of the country is desert. The terrain in the north is mountainous, which, moving south, gives way to a hot, dry central plain. The south is semiarid, and merges into the
Sahara The Sahara (, ; ar, الصحراء الكبرى, ', 'the Greatest Desert') is a desert on the African continent Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landma ...

Sahara
. A series of Tunisian salt lakes, salt lakes, known as ''chotts'' or ''shatts'', lie in an east–west line at the northern edge of the Sahara, extending from the Gulf of Gabes into
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religion = , official_languages = , languages_type = Oth ...

Algeria
. The lowest point is Chott el Djerid at below sea level and the highest is Jebel ech Chambi at .


Biodiversity

Tunisia is home to five terrestrial ecoregions: Mediterranean conifer and mixed forests, Saharan halophytics, Mediterranean dry woodlands and steppe, Mediterranean woodlands and forests, and North Saharan steppe and woodlands.


Government and politics

Tunisia is a representative democracy and a
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...

republic
with a President of Tunisia, president serving as head of state, a Prime Minister of the Republic of Tunisia, prime minister as head of government, a unicameralism, unicameral parliament, and a Civil law (legal system), civil law court system. The Constitution of Tunisia, adopted 26 January 2014, guarantees rights for women and states that the President's religion "shall be Islam". In October 2014 Tunisia held its first elections under the new constitution following the Arab Spring. Tunisia is the only democracy in
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
. The number of legalized political parties in Tunisia has grown considerably since the revolution. There are now over 100 legal parties, including several that existed under the former regime. During the rule of Ben Ali, only three functioned as independent opposition parties: the Progressive Democratic Party (Tunisia), PDP, Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties, FDTL, and Ettajdid Movement, Tajdid. While some older parties are well-established and can draw on previous party structures, many of the 100-plus parties extant as of February 2012 are small. Rare for the Arab world, women held more than 20% of seats in the country's pre-revolution bicameral parliament. In the 2011 constituent assembly, women held between 24% and 31% of all seats. Tunisia is included in the European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which aims at bringing the EU and its neighbours closer. On 23 November 2014 Tunisia held its first Presidential Election following the Arab Spring in 2011. The Tunisian legal system is heavily influenced by French civil law, while the Law of Personal Status is based on Islamic law. Sharia courts were abolished in 1956. A Code of Personal Status (Tunisia), Code of Personal Status was adopted shortly after independence in 1956, which, among other things, gave women full legal status (allowing them to run and own businesses, have bank accounts, and seek passports under their own authority). The code outlawed the practices of polygamy and repudiation and a husband's right to unilaterally divorce his wife. Further reforms in 1993 included a provision to allow Tunisian women to transmit citizenship even if they are married to a foreigner and living abroad. The Law of Personal Status is applied to all Tunisians regardless of their religion. The Code of Personal Status remains one of the most progressive civil codes in North Africa and the Muslim world.


Military

, Tunisia had an army of 27,000 personnel equipped with 84 main battle tanks and 48 light tanks. The navy had 4,800 personnel operating 25 patrol boats and 6 other craft. The Tunisian Air Force has 154 aircraft and 4 UAVs. Paramilitary forces consisted of a 12,000-member national guard. Tunisia's military spending was 1.6% of GDP . The army is responsible for national defence and also internal security. Tunisia has participated in peacekeeping efforts in the DROC and Ethiopia/Eritrea.
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
peacekeeping deployments for the Tunisian armed forces have been in Cambodia (UNTAC), Namibia (UNTAG), Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Western Sahara (MINURSO) and the 1960s mission in the Congo, ONUC. The military has historically played a professional, apolitical role in defending the country from external threats. Since January 2011 and at the direction of the executive branch, the military has taken on increasing responsibility for domestic security and humanitarian crisis response.


Administrative divisions

Tunisia is subdivided into 24 governorates (''Wilaya''), which are further divided into 264 "Delegations of Tunisia, delegations" or "districts" (''mutamadiyat''), and further subdivided into municipality, municipalities (''baladiyats'') and sectors (''imadats'').


Economy

Ranked the most competitive economy in Africa by the World Economic Forum in 2009; Tunisia is an export-oriented country in the process of liberalizing and privatizing an economy that, while averaging 5% GDP growth since the early 1990s, has suffered from corruption benefiting politically connected elites. Tunisia's Penal Code criminalises several forms of corruption, including active and passive bribery, abuse of office, extortion and conflicts of interest, but the anti-corruption framework is not effectively enforced. However, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index published annually by Transparency International, Tunisia was ranked the least corrupt North African country in 2016, with a score of 41. Tunisia has a diverse economy, ranging from agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and petroleum products, to Tourism in Tunisia, tourism, which accounted for 7% of the total GDP and 370,000 jobs in 2009. In 2008 it had an economy of US$41 billion in nominal terms, and $82 billion in purchasing power parity, PPP. The agricultural sector accounts for 11.6% of the GDP, industry 25.7%, and services 62.8%. The industrial sector is mainly made up of clothing and footwear manufacturing, production of car parts, and electric machinery. Although Tunisia managed an average 5% growth over the last decade it continues to suffer from a high unemployment especially among youth. The
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
remains Tunisia's first trading partner, currently accounting for 72.5% of Tunisian imports and 75% of Tunisian exports. Tunisia is one of the European Union's most established trading partners in the Mediterranean region and ranks as the EU's 30th largest trading partner. Tunisia was the first Mediterranean country to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union, in July 1995, although even before the date of entry came into force, Tunisia started dismantling tariffs on bilateral EU trade. Tunisia finalised the tariffs dismantling for industrial products in 2008 and therefore was the first non-EU Mediterranean country to enter in a free trade area with EU.


Tourism

Among Tunisia's tourist attractions are its cosmopolitan capital city of Tunis, the ancient ruins of Carthage, the Muslim and Jewish quarters of Jerba, and coastal resorts outside of Monastir. According to ''The New York Times'', Tunisia is "known for its golden beaches, sunny weather and affordable luxuries".


Energy

The majority of the electricity used in Tunisia is produced locally, by state-owned company STEG (Société Tunisienne de l'Electricité et du Gaz). In 2008, a total of 13,747 Kilowatt-hour#Multiples, GWh was produced in the country. Oil production of Tunisia is about . The main field is El Bourma. Oil production began in 1966 in Tunisia. Currently there are 12 oil fields. Tunisia had Energy in Tunisia, plans for two nuclear power stations, to be operational by 2020. Both facilities are projected to produce 900–1000 Watt#Megawatt, MW. France is set to become an important partner in Tunisia's nuclear power plans, having signed an agreement, along with other partners, to deliver training and technology. , Tunisia has abandoned these plans. Instead, Tunisia is considering other options to diversify its energy mix, such as renewable energies, coal, shale gas, liquified natural gas and constructing a submarine power interconnection with Italy. According to the Tunisian Solar Plan (which is Tunisia's Renewable Energy Strategy not limited to solar, contrary to what its title may suggest, proposed by th
National Agency for Energy Conservation
, Tunisia's objective is to reach a share of 30% of renewable energies in the electricity mix by 2030, most of which should be accounted for by wind power and photovoltaics. , Tunisia had a total renewable capacity of 312 MW (245 MW wind, 62 MW hydropower, 15 MW photovoltaics.)


Transport

The country maintains of roads, with three highways: the A1 motorway (Tunisia), A1 from Tunis to Sfax (works ongoing for Sfax-Libya), A3 motorway (Tunisia), A3 Tunis-Beja (works ongoing Beja – Boussalem, studies ongoing Boussalem – Algeria) and A4 motorway (Tunisia), A4 Tunis – Bizerte. There are 29 airports in Tunisia, with Tunis Carthage International Airport and Djerba–Zarzis International Airport being the most important ones. A new airport, Enfidha – Hammamet International Airport opened in 2011. The airport is located north of Sousse at Enfidha and is to mainly serve the resorts of Hamammet and Port El Kantaoui, together with inland cities such as Kairouan. Five airlines are headquartered in Tunisia: Tunisair, Syphax airlines, Karthago Airlines, Nouvelair, and Tunisair Express. The railway network is operated by SNCFT and amounts to in total. The Tunis area is served by a Light rail network named ''Metro Leger'' which is managed by Transtu.


Water supply and sanitation

Tunisia has achieved the highest access rates to water supply and sanitation services in the Middle East and North Africa. , access to safe drinking water became close to universal approaching 100% in urban areas and 90% in rural areas. Tunisia provides good quality drinking water throughout the year. Ministere du Developpement et de la Cooperation Internationale, Banque Mondiale et Programme "Participation Privee dans les infrastructures mediterreeanees"(PPMI
Etude sur la participation privée dans les infrastructures en Tunisie
, Volume III, 2004, accessed on 21 March 2010
Responsibility for the water supply systems in urban areas and large rural centres is assigned to the ''Sociéte Nationale d'Exploitation et de Distribution des Eaux'' (SONEDE), a national water supply authority that is an autonomous public entity under the Ministry of Agriculture. Planning, design and supervision of small and medium water supplies in the remaining rural areas are the responsibility of the ''Direction Générale du Génie Rurale'' (DGGR). In 1974, ONAS was established to manage the sanitation sector. Since 1993, ONAS has had the status of a main operator for protection of water environment and combating pollution. The rate of non-revenue water is the lowest in the region at 21% in 2012.


Demographics

According to the CIA, as of 2021, Tunisia has a population of 11,811,335 inhabitants. The government has supported a successful family planning program that has reduced the population growth rate to just over 1% per annum, contributing to Tunisia's economic and social stability.


Ethnic groups

According to the CIA The World Factbook, World Factbook, ethnic groups in Tunisia are: Arab 98%, European 1%, Jewish and other 1%. According to the 1956 Tunisian census, Tunisia had a population at the time of 3,783,000 residents, 95% consisting of
Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, the Canary Islands, and to a lesser ...

Berbers
and Arabs, 256 000 Europeans and 105 000 Jews. Speakers of Berber languages, Berber dialects were 2% of the population. According to another source, the population of Arabs is estimated to be <40% to 98%, and that of Berbers at 1% to over 60%. Black Tunisians make up 10-15% of the population and are mostly descended from Sub-Saharan Africa, sub-Saharan Africans brought to Tunisia as part of the Slavery in Tunisia, slave trade. Amazighs are concentrated in the Dahar mountains and on the island of Djerba in the south-east and in the Khroumire mountainous region in the north-west. That said, an important number of genetic and other historical studies point out to the predominance of the Amazighs in Tunisia. An Ottoman Empire, Ottoman influence has been particularly significant in forming the Turks in Tunisia, Turco-Tunisian community. Other peoples have also migrated to Tunisia during different time periods, including West Africans, Greeks, Ancient Rome, Romans, Phoenicians (Punics), Jews, and French settlers. By 1870, the distinction between the Arabic-speaking population and the Turkish elite had blurred. From the late 19th century to the period after World War II, Tunisia was home to large populations of French people, French and Italian Tunisians, Italians (255,000 European Tunisians, Europeans in 1956), although nearly all of them, along with the Jewish population, left after Tunisia became independent. The history of the Jews in Tunisia goes back some 2,000 years. In 1948, the Jewish population was estimated at 105,000, but by 2013 only about 1000 remained. The first people known to history in what is now Tunisia were the
Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically Morocco ) , ...
s. Numerous civilizations and peoples have invaded, migrated to, or have been assimilated into the population over the millennia, with influences of population from Phoenicians/Carthaginians, Roman Republic, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, Spaniards, Ottoman Empire, Ottoman Turks and Janissaries, and French people, French. There was a continuing inflow of nomadic Banu Hilal, Arab tribes from the Arabian Peninsula. After the Reconquista and expulsion of non-Christians and Moriscos from Spain, many Spanish Muslims and Jews arrived in Tunisia. According to Matthew Carr, "As many as eighty thousand Moriscos settled in Tunisia, most of them in and around the capital, Tunis, which still contains a quarter known as Zuqaq al-Andalus, or Andalusia Alley."


Languages

Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
is the official language, and Tunisian Arabic, known as Tounsi, is the national, vernacular varieties of Arabic, variety of Arabic used by the public. There is also a small minority of speakers of Berber languages known collectively as Jebbali or Shelha. French language, French also plays a major role in Tunisian society, despite having no official status. It is widely used in education (e.g., as the language of instruction in the sciences in secondary school), the press, and business. In 2010, there were 6,639,000 French-speakers in Tunisia, or about 64% of the population. Italian language, Italian is understood and spoken by a small part of the Tunisian people, Tunisian population. Shop signs, menus and road signs in Tunisia are generally written in both Arabic and French.


Religion

Tunisia's constitution declares
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission
o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling o ...
) is an religion teaching that is a of .Peters, F. E. 2009. "Allāh." In , edited by J. L. Esposito. Oxford: . . (See alsoquick reference) " e Muslims' und ...
as the official state religion—and the absolute majority of its population, or around 98%, are Muslims, while some 2% follow
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
and Judaism or other religions. Although most of the population are Muslims, more than one-third of them identify as non-religious. The percentage of Tunisians identifying themselves as non-religious increased from around 12% in 2013 to around 33% in 2018, making Tunisia the least religious country in the Arab world according to the Aran Barometer Survey. The same survey found that nearly half of the young Tunisians described themselves as non-religious. Tunisians enjoy a significant degree of religious freedom, a right enshrined and protected in its constitution, which guarantees the freedom of thoughts, beliefs and to practice one's religion. The country has a secular culture where religion is separated from not only political, but also public life. Individual Tunisians are tolerant of religious freedom and generally do not inquire about a person's personal beliefs. The bulk of Tunisians belong to the Maliki, Maliki School of Sunni Islam, and their mosques are easily recognizable by square minarets. However, the Turkish people, Turks brought with them the teaching of the Hanafi, Hanafi School during Ottoman Empire, Ottoman rule, which still survives among Turks in Tunisia, families of Turkish descent today; their mosques traditionally have octagonal minarets. Sunnis form the majority, with non-denominational Muslims being the second largest group of Muslims, followed by Ibadite Amazighs. Tunisia's sizable Christians, Christian community of around >35,000 adherents is composed mainly of Catholics (22,000), and to a lesser degree Protestantism, Protestants. Berber Christians continued to live in some
NefzaouaNefzaoua (نفزاوة) is a region of south-west Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in northern Africa , image_map2 = , capital = Tunis , largest_city = capital , coo ...
villages up until the early 15th century, and the community of Christianity in Africa, Tunisian Christians existed in the town of Tozeur up to the 18th century. The International Religious Freedom Report for 2007 estimates that thousands of Tunisian people, Tunisian Muslims have Christianization, converted to Christianity.International Religious Freedom Report 2007: Tunisia
United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (14 September 2007).
Judaism is the third-largest religion, with between 1,000 and 1,400 members. One-third of the Jewish population lives in and around the capital. The remainder lives on the island of Djerba with 39 synagogues where the Jewish community dates back 2,600 years, in Sfax, and in Hammam-Lif. Djerba, an island in the Gulf of Gabès, is home to El Ghriba synagogue, which is one of the Oldest synagogues in the World, oldest synagogues in the world and the oldest uninterruptedly used. Many Jews consider it a pilgrimage site, with celebrations taking place there once a year due to its age and the legend that the synagogue was built using stones from Solomon's temple. Although Antisemitism in Tunisia, anti-Semitic violence has been reported, Tunisia, along with Morocco are said to be the Arab countries most accepting of their Jewish populations


Education

The total adult literacy rate in 2008 was 78% and this rate goes up to 97.3% when considering only people from 15 to 24 years old. Education is given a high priority and accounts for 6% of Gross national product, GNP. A basic education for children between the ages of 6 and 16 has been compulsory since 1991. Tunisia ranked 17th in the category of "quality of the [higher] educational system" and 21st in the category of "quality of primary education" in The Global Competitiveness Report 2008–9, released by The World Economic Forum. While children generally acquire Tunisian Arabic at home, when they enter school at age 6, they are taught to read and write in Standard Arabic. From the age of 8, they are taught French while English is introduced at the age of 12. The four years of secondary education are open to all holders of Diplôme de Fin d'Etudes de l'Enseignement de Base where the students focus on entering university level or join the workforce after completion. The Enseignement secondaire is divided into two stages: general academic and specialized. The higher education system in Tunisia has experienced a rapid expansion and the number of students has more than tripled over the past 10 years from approximately 102,000 in 1995 to 365,000 in 2005. The gross enrollment rate at the tertiary level in 2007 was 31 percent, with gender parity index of GER of 1.5.


Health

In 2010, spending on healthcare accounted for 3.37% of the country's GDP. In 2009, there were 12.02 physicians and 33.12 nurses per 10,000 inhabitants. The life expectancy at birth was 75.73 years in 2016, or 73.72 years for males and 77.78 years for females. Infant mortality in 2016 was 11.7 per 1,000.


Culture

The culture of Tunisia is mixed due to its long established history of outside influence from people ‒ such as Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks, Italians, Spaniards, and the French ‒ who all left their mark on the country.


Painting

The birth of Tunisian contemporary painting is strongly linked to the School of Tunis, established by a group of artists from Tunisia united by the desire to incorporate native themes and rejecting the influence of Orientalist colonial painting. It was founded in 1949 and brings together French and Tunisian Muslims, Christians and Jews. Pierre Boucherle was its main instigator, along with Yahia Turki, Abdelaziz Gorgi, Moses Elias Levy, Moses Levy, Ammar Farhat, and Jules Lellouche. Given its doctrine, some members have therefore turned to the sources of aesthetic Arab-Muslim art: such as miniature Islamic architecture, etc. Expressionist paintings by Amara Debbache, Jellal Ben Abdallah, and Ali Ben Salem are recognized while abstract art captures the imagination of painters like Edgar Naccache, Nello Levy, and Hedi Turki. After independence in 1956, the art movement in Tunisia was propelled by the dynamics of nation building and by artists serving the state. A Ministry of Culture was established, under the leadership of ministers such as Habib Boularès who oversaw art and education and power. Artists gained international recognition such as Hatem El Mekki or Zoubeir Turki and influenced a generation of new young painters. Sadok Gmech draws his inspiration from national wealth while Moncef Ben Amor turns to fantasy. In another development, Youssef Rekik reused the technique of painting on glass and founded Nja Mahdaoui calligraphy with its mystical dimension. There are currently fifty art galleries housing exhibitions of Tunisian and international artists. These galleries include Gallery Yahia in Tunis and Carthage Essaadi gallery. A new exposition opened in an old monarchal palace in Bardo dubbed the "awakening of a nation". The exposition boasts documents and artifacts from the Tunisian reformist monarchal rule in mid 19th century.


Literature

Tunisian literature exists in two forms: Arabic and French. Arabic literature dates back to the 7th century with the arrival of Arab civilization in the region. It is more important in both volume and value than French literature, introduced during the French protectorate from 1881. Among the literary figures include Ali Douagi, who has produced more than 150 radio stories, over 500 poems and folk songs and nearly 15 plays, Khraief Bashir, an Arabic novelist who published many notable books in the 1930s and which caused a scandal because the dialogues were written in Tunisian dialect, and others such as Moncef Ghachem, Mohamed Salah Ben Mrad, or Mahmoud Messadi. As for poetry, Tunisian poetry typically opts for nonconformity and innovation with poets such as Aboul-Qacem Echebbi. As for literature in French, it is characterized by its critical approach. Contrary to the pessimism of Albert Memmi, who predicted that Tunisian literature was sentenced to die young, a high number of Tunisian writers are abroad including Abdelwahab Meddeb, Bakri Tahar, Mustapha Tlili, Hele Beji, or Mellah Fawzi. The themes of wandering, exile and heartbreak are the focus of their creative writing. The national bibliography lists 1249 non-school books published in 2002 in Tunisia, with 885 titles in Arabic. In 2006 this figure had increased to 1,500 and 1,700 in 2007." 2009, l'année des rendez-vous culturels importants ", ''Réalités'', 18 novembre 2008
Nearly a third of the books are published for children. In 2014 Tunisian American creative nonfiction scribe and translator Med-Ali Mekki who wrote many books, not for publication but just for his own private reading translated the new Constitution of the Tunisian Republic from Arabic to English for the first time in Tunisian bibliographical history, the book was published worldwide the following year and it was the Internet's most viewed and downloaded Tunisian book.


Music

At the beginning of the 20th century, musical activity was dominated by the liturgical repertoire associated with different religious brotherhoods and secular repertoire which consisted of instrumental pieces and songs in different Andalusian forms and styles of origins, essentially borrowing characteristics of musical language. In 1930 "The Rachidia" was founded well known thanks to artists from the Jewish community. The founding in 1934 of a musical school helped revive Arab Andalusian music largely to a social and cultural revival led by the elite of the time who became aware of the risks of loss of the musical heritage and which they believed threatened the foundations of Tunisian national identity. The institution did not take long to assemble a group of musicians, poets, scholars. The creation of Radio Tunis in 1938 allowed musicians a greater opportunity to disseminate their works. Notable Tunisian musicians include Saber Rebaï, Dhafer Youssef, Belgacem Bouguenna, Sonia M'barek, Latifa (singer), Latifa, Salah El Mahdi, Anouar Brahem, Emel Mathlouthi and Lotfi Bouchnak.


Media

The TV media has long remained under the domination of the Establishment of the Broadcasting Authority Tunisia (ERTT) and its predecessor, the Tunisian Radio and Television, founded in 1957. On 7 November 2006, President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali announced the demerger of the business, which became effective on 31 August 2007. Until then, ERTT managed all public television stations (Télévision Tunisienne 1 as well as Télévision Tunisienne 2 which had replaced the defunct RTT 2) and four national radio stations (Radio Tunis, Tunisia Radio Culture, Youth and Radio RTCI) and five regional Sfax, Monastir, Gafsa, Le Kef and Tataouine. Most programs are in Arabic but some are in French. Growth in private sector radio and television broadcasting has seen the creation of numerous operations including Radio Mosaique FM, Jawhara FM, Zaytuna FM, Hannibal TV, Ettounsiya TV, and Nessma TV. In 2007, some 245 newspapers and magazines (compared to only 91 in 1987) are 90% owned by private groups and independents. The Tunisian political parties have the right to publish their own newspapers, but those of the opposition parties have very limited editions (like Al Mawkif or Mouwatinoun). Before the recent democratic transition, although freedom of the press was formally guaranteed by the constitution, almost all newspapers have in practice followed the government line report. Critical approach to the activities of the president, government and the Constitutional Democratic Rally Party (then in power) were suppressed. In essence, the media was dominated by state authorities through the Agence Tunis Afrique Presse. This has changed since, as the media censorship by the authorities have been largely abolished, and self-censorship has significantly decreased. Nonetheless, the current regulatory framework and social and political culture mean that the future of press and media freedom is still unclear.


Sports

Association football, Football is the most popular sport in Tunisia. The Tunisia national football team, also known as "The Eagles of Carthage," won the 2004 African Cup of Nations (Africa Cup of Nations, ACN), which was held in Tunisia. They also represented Africa in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2005 FIFA Cup of Confederations, which was held in Germany, but they could not go beyond the first round. Their premier football league is the Tunisian Ligue Professionnelle 1. The main clubs are Espérance Sportive de Tunis, Étoile Sportive du Sahel, Club Africain, Club Sportif Sfaxien, US Monastir (football), Union Sportive Monastirienne, and ES Metlaoui. The Tunisia men's national handball team has participated in several handball world championships. In 2005, Tunisia came fourth. The national league consists of about 12 teams, with ES. Sahel and Esperance S.Tunis dominating. The most famous Tunisian handball player is Wissem Hmam. In the 2005 World Men's Handball Championship, 2005 Handball Championship in Tunis, Wissem Hmam was ranked as the top scorer of the tournament. The Tunisian national handball team won the African Cup ten times, being the team dominating this competition. The Tunisians won the 2018 African Cup in Gabon by defeating Egypt. Tunisia's national basketball team has emerged as a top side in Africa. The team won the 2011 Afrobasket and hosted Africa's top basketball event in 1965, 1987 and 2015. Tunisia was one of the continent's pioneers in basketball as it established one of Africa's first competitive leagues. In boxing, Victor Perez ("Young") was world champion in the flyweight weight class in 1931 and 1932. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, Tunisian Oussama Mellouli won a gold medal in 1500 meter freestyle. In the 2012 Summer Olympics, he won a bronze medal in the 1500 meter freestyle and a gold medal in the Swimming at the 2012 Summer Olympics – Men's marathon 10 kilometre, Men's marathon swim at a distance of 10 kilometers. In 2012, Tunisia participated for the seventh time in its history in the Summer Paralympic Games. Their national team finished the competition with 19 medals; 9 golds, 5 silvers and 5 bronzes. Tunisia was classified 14th on the 2012 Summer Paralympics medal table, Paralympics medal table and 5th in 2012 Summer Paralympics medal table, Athletics. Tunisia was suspended from Davis Cup play for the year 2014, because the Tunisian Tennis Federation was found to have ordered Malek Jaziri not to compete against an Israeli tennis player, Amir Weintraub. International Tennis Federation, ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti said: "There is no room for prejudice of any kind in sport or in society. The ITF Board decided to send a strong message to the Tunisian Tennis Federation that this kind of action will not be tolerated."


See also

*Index of Tunisia-related articles *Outline of Tunisia


References

;Notes ;References


External links


Official Tunisia Government websiteOfficial website of the Ministry of TourismOfficial Tourism PortalOfficial website of the National Institute of MeteorologyOfficial website of the Assembly of the Representatives of the PeopleOfficial website of the Tunisian Ministry of the InteriorOfficial website of The Ministry of TransportTunisia Profile from UNESCOTunisia
''The World Factbook''. Central Intelligence Agency.
The Emergence and activity of Tunisia's most fearful terrorist group
137–150. * *
Tunisia profile
from BBC News.
Tunisia profile and timeline
from the Conservative Middle East Council * *
EU Neighbourhood Info Centre: Country profile of Tunisia
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