Tunisia

Tunisia

Overview
Tunisia officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages
Languages of Tunisia
Tunisia is, in terms of language, the most homogeneous of the Maghreb states. This is because almost the entire population speaks Tunisian Arabic natively. Most are also literate in Literary Arabic, which is the country's official language, and French...

 used in the country is:
( 2), is the northernmost
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

 country in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. It is a Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

 country and is bordered by Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 to the west, Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 to the north and east. Its area is almost 165000 square kilometres (63,706.9 sq mi), with an estimated population of just over 10.4 million.
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Timeline

1881   In North Africa, Tunisia becomes a French protectorate.

1941   World War II: The Italian convoy ''Duisburg'', directed to Tunisia, is attacked and destroyed by British ships.

1943   World War II: Battle of the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia begins.

1956   Tunisia gains independence from France.

1956   Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia join the United Nations.

1957   The Republic of Tunisia is proclaimed.

1961   French military forces break the Tunisian siege of Bizerte.

1963   France cedes control of the Bizerte naval base to Tunisia.

1987   In Tunisia, president Habib Bourguiba is overthrown and replaced by Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

2002   The Ghriba synagogue bombing by Al Qaeda kills 21 in Tunisia.

 
Encyclopedia
Tunisia officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages
Languages of Tunisia
Tunisia is, in terms of language, the most homogeneous of the Maghreb states. This is because almost the entire population speaks Tunisian Arabic natively. Most are also literate in Literary Arabic, which is the country's official language, and French...

 used in the country is:
( 2), is the northernmost
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

 country in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. It is a Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

 country and is bordered by Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 to the west, Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 to the north and east. Its area is almost 165000 square kilometres (63,706.9 sq mi), with an estimated population of just over 10.4 million. Its name is derived from the capital Tunis
Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

 located in the north-east.

Tunisia is the smallest of the nations situated along the Atlas mountain
Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains is a mountain range across a northern stretch of Africa extending about through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The highest peak is Toubkal, with an elevation of in southwestern Morocco. The Atlas ranges separate the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert...

 range. The south of the country is composed of the Sahara desert, with much of the remainder consisting of particularly fertile soil and 1300 kilometres (807.8 mi) of coastline. Both played a prominent role in ancient times, first with the famous Punic city of Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

, then as the Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 province of Africa, which was known as the "bread basket" of Rome. Later, Tunisia was occupied by Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

 during the 5th century AD, Byzantines
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 in the 6th century, and Arabs in the 8th century. Under the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, Tunisia was known as "Regency of Tunis". It passed under French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 protectorate in 1881. After obtaining independence in 1956 the country took the official name of the "Kingdom of Tunisia" at the end of the reign of Lamine Bey and the Husainid Dynasty
Husainid Dynasty
The Husainid Dynasty is the former ruling dynasty of Tunisia originally of Cretan origin. They came to power under Al-Husayn I ibn Ali at-Turki in 1705 replacing the Muradid Dynasty. After taking power the Husainids ruled as Beys with succession to the throne determined by age with the oldest...

. With the proclamation of the Tunisian Republic on July 25, 1957, the nationalist leader Habib Bourguiba
Habib Bourguiba
Habib Bourguiba was a Tunisian statesman, the Founder and the first President of the Republic of Tunisia from July 25, 1957 until 7 November 1987...

 became its first president.

The country was led by the authoritarian government of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali is a Tunisian political figure who was the second President of Tunisia from 1987 to 2011. Ben Ali was appointed Prime Minister in October 1987, and he assumed the Presidency on 7 November 1987 in a bloodless coup d'état that ousted President Habib Bourguiba, who was...

 from 1987 to 2011 before he fled during the Tunisian revolution
Tunisian revolution
The Tunisian Revolution is an intensive campaign of civil resistance, including a series of street demonstrations taking place in Tunisia. The events began in December 2010 and led to the ousting of longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011...

. Tunisia now finds itself as 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 the former president's family.

Tunisia has relations with both the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

—with whom it has an association agreement
European Union Association Agreement
A European Union Association Agreement is a treaty between the European Union and a non-EU country that creates a framework for co-operation between them. Areas frequently covered by such agreements include the development of political, trade, social, cultural and security links...

—and the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

. Tunisia is also a member of the Arab Maghreb Union
Arab Maghreb Union
The Arab Maghreb Union is a trade agreement aiming for economic and some sort of future political unity in North Africa between the countries Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania...

, the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

 and the African Union
African Union
The African Union is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity...

. Tunisia has established close relations with France in particular, through economic cooperation, industrial modernization, and privatisation programs. The government's approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict has also made it an intermediary in Middle Eastern diplomacy.

Etymology


The word Tunisia is derived from Tunis
Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

; a city and capital of modern-day Tunisia. The present form of the name, with its Latinate suffix , evolved from French . The French derivative was adopted in some European languages with slight modifications, introducing a distinctive name to designate the country. Other languages remained untouched, such as the Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

  () and Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 . 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.

The name Tunis can be attributed to different origins. It can be associated with the Phoenician goddess Tanith (aka Tunit)
Tanit
Tanit was a Phoenician lunar goddess, worshipped as the patron goddess at Carthage. Tanit was worshiped in Punic contexts in the Western Mediterranean, from Malta to Gades into Hellenistic times. From the fifth century BCE onwards Tanit is associated with that of Baal Hammon...

, ancient city of Tynes or to the Berber root which means "to lie down".

Antiquity


Farming methods reached the Nile Valley from the Fertile Crescent
Fertile Crescent
The Fertile Crescent, nicknamed "The Cradle of Civilization" for the fact the first civilizations started there, is a crescent-shaped region containing the comparatively moist and fertile land of otherwise arid and semi-arid Western Asia. The term was first used by University of Chicago...

 region about 5000 BC, and spread to the Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

 by about 4000 BC. Agricultural communities in the humid coastal plains of central Tunisia then were ancestors of today's Berber tribes.

Numidians


It was believed in ancient times that Africa was originally populated by Gaetulians and Libyans, both nomadic peoples. The demigod Hercules died in Spain and his polyglot eastern army was left to settle the land, with some migrating to Africa. Persians went to the West and inter married with the Gaetulians and became the Numidians. The Medes settled and were known as Mauri latter Moors. Sallust's version of African history must be considered with reservations.

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 of the Massyli tribe.

Phoenician colonies and Punic era



At the beginning of recorded history, Tunisia was inhabited by Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

 tribes. Its coast was settled by Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

ns starting as early as the 10th century BC. The city of Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

 was founded in the 9th century BC by Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

n and Cypriot
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 settlers. Legend says that Dido from Tyre, now in modern day Lebanon founded the city in 814 BC, as retold by the Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 writer Timaeus of Tauromenium. The settlers of Carthage brought their culture and religion from the Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

ns.

After a 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 people of Carthage worshipped a pantheon of Middle Eastern gods including Baal
Baal
Baʿal is a Northwest Semitic title and honorific meaning "master" or "lord" that is used for various gods who were patrons of cities in the Levant and Asia Minor, cognate to Akkadian Bēlu...

 and Tanit
Tanit
Tanit was a Phoenician lunar goddess, worshipped as the patron goddess at Carthage. Tanit was worshiped in Punic contexts in the Western Mediterranean, from Malta to Gades into Hellenistic times. From the fifth century BCE onwards Tanit is associated with that of Baal Hammon...

. 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
Tophet
Tophet or Topheth is believed to be a location in Jerusalem, in the Valley of Hinnom, where the Canaanites sacrificed children to the god Moloch by burning them alive. The Hebrew Bible also mentions what appears to be child sacrifice practiced at a place called the Tophet by the Canaanites,...

, which was altered in Roman times.

A Carthaginian invasion of Italy led by Hannibal during the Second Punic War
Second Punic War
The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and The War Against Hannibal, lasted from 218 to 201 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of the Berbers on...

, one of a series of wars with Rome
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

, 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.

Roman era


Following the Battle of Carthage in 149 BC, Carthage was conquered by Rome. After the Roman conquest, the region became one of the main granaries of Rome and was fully Latinized and Christianized.
The Romans controlled nearly all of modern Tunisia from 149 BC until the area was conquered by the Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

 in the 5th century AD, only to be reconquered by Roman general
Strategos
Strategos, plural strategoi, is used in Greek to mean "general". In the Hellenistic and Byzantine Empires the term was also used to describe a military governor...

 Belisarius
Belisarius
Flavius Belisarius was a general of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental to Emperor Justinian's ambitious project of reconquering much of the Mediterranean territory of the former Western Roman Empire, which had been lost less than a century previously....

 in the 6th century, during the rule of Emperor Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

.

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
Tripolitania or Tripolitana is a historic region and former province of Libya.Tripolitania was a separate Italian colony from 1927 to 1934...

, 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 rivalled 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
African red slip is a category of terra sigillata, or "fine" Ancient Roman pottery produced in the province of Africa Proconsularis, specifically that part roughly coinciding with the modern country of Tunisia and the Diocletianic provinces of Byzacena and Zeugitana. It is distinguished by a...

, and wool.

There was even a huge production of mosaics and ceramics, exported mainly to Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, in the central area of El Djem
El Djem
Drifting sand is preserving the market city of Thysdrus and the refined suburban villas that once surrounded it. The amphiteatre occupies archaeologists' attention: no digging required...

 (where there was the second biggest amphitheater in the Roman Empire).

During the 5th and 6th Centuries (from 430 to 533 AD), the Germanic Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

 invaded and ruled over a kingdom in North Africa that included present-day Tripoli. They were defeated by a combined force of Romans and Berbers.

Middle Ages


Around the end of the 7th century and the beginning of 8th century the region was conquered by Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 Muslims
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, who founded the city of Kairouan
Kairouan
Kairouan , also known as Kirwan or al-Qayrawan , is the capital of the Kairouan Governorate in Tunisia. Referred to as the Islamic Cultural Capital, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city was founded by the Arabs around 670...

, which became the first city of Islam in North Africa; in this period was erected (in 670) the Great Mosque of Kairouan considered the oldest and most prestigious sanctuary in the western Islamic world as well as a great masterpiece of Islamic art and architecture. Tunisia flourished under Arab rule as extensive irrigation installations were constructed to supply towns with water and promote 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).

Successive Muslim dynasties ruled Tunisia (Ifriqiya
Ifriqiya
In medieval history, Ifriqiya or Ifriqiyah was the area comprising the coastal regions of what are today western Libya, Tunisia, and eastern Algeria. This area included what had been the Roman province of Africa, whose name it inherited....

 at the time) with occasional instabilities caused mainly by Berber rebellions
Berber Revolt
The Great Berber Revolt of 739/740-743 AD took place during the reign of the Umayyad Caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik and marked the first successful secession from the Arab caliphate...

; of these reigns we can cite the Aghlabids (800–900) and Fatimids (909–972). After conquering Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, Fatimids abandoned North Africa to the local Zirids (Tunisia and parts of Eastern Algera, 972–1148) and Hammadid
Hammadid
The Hammadids were a Berber dynasty who ruled an area roughly corresponding to north-eastern modern Algeria for about a century and a half , until they were destroyed by the Almohads...

 (Central and eastern Algeria, 1015–1152). North Africa was submerged by their quarrels; political instability was connected to the decline of Tunisian trade and agriculture. In addition, the invasion of Tunisia by Banu Hilal
Banu Hilal
The Banu Hilal were a confederation of Arabian Bedouin tribes that migrated from Upper Egypt into North Africa in the 11th century, having been sent by the Fatimids to punish the Zirids for abandoning Shiism. Other authors suggest that the tribes left the grasslands on the upper Nile because of...

, a warlike Arab Bedouin tribe encouraged by the Fatimids of Egypt to seize North Africa, sent the region's urban and economic life into further decline. The Arab historian Ibn Khaldun
Ibn Khaldun
Ibn Khaldūn or Ibn Khaldoun was an Arab Tunisian historiographer and historian who is often viewed as one of the forerunners of modern historiography, sociology and economics...

 wrote that the lands ravaged by Banu Hilal invaders had become completely arid desert.

The coasts were held briefly by the Normans
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 of Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 in the 12th century, but following the Arab reconquest the last Christians in Tunisia disappeared either through forced conversion or emigration. In 1159, Tunisia was conquered by the Almohad
Almohad
The Almohad Dynasty , was a Moroccan Berber-Muslim dynasty founded in the 12th century that established a Berber state in Tinmel in the Atlas Mountains in roughly 1120.The movement was started by Ibn Tumart in the Masmuda tribe, followed by Abd al-Mu'min al-Gumi between 1130 and his...

 caliphs. They were succeeded by the Berber Hafsids (c.1230–1574), under whom Tunisia prospered. During the reign of the Hafsid dynasty, fruitful commercial relationships were established with several Christian Mediterranean states. In the late 16th century the coast became a pirate stronghold (see: Barbary States).

Ottoman rule


In the last years of the Hafsids, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 seized many of the coastal cities, but these were recovered by the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. Under its Turkish
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

 governors, the Beys, Tunisia attained virtual independence.
The Hussein dynasty
Husainid Dynasty
The Husainid Dynasty is the former ruling dynasty of Tunisia originally of Cretan origin. They came to power under Al-Husayn I ibn Ali at-Turki in 1705 replacing the Muradid Dynasty. After taking power the Husainids ruled as Beys with succession to the throne determined by age with the oldest...

 of Beys, established in 1705, lasted until 1957. The Maghreb suffered from the deadly combination of plague
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 and famine. The great epidemics ravaged Tunisia in 1784–1785, 1796–1797 and 1818–1820.

French era



In 1869, Tunisia declared itself bankrupt and an international financial commission took control over its economy. In 1883, using the pretext of a Tunisian incursion into Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, the French invaded with an army of about 36,000 and forced the Bey to agree to the terms of the 1883 Treaty of Bardo
Treaty of Bardo
The Treaty of Bardo was signed on May 12, 1881 between representatives of the French Republic and Tunisian bey Muhammed as-Sadiq. A raid of Algeria by the Tunisian Kroumer tribe served as a pretext for French armed forces to invade Tunisia...

 (Al Qasr as Sa'id). With this treaty, Tunisia was officially made a French protectorate
French occupation of Tunisia
The French conquest of Tunisia occurred in two phases in 1881: the first consisting of the invasion and securing of the country before the signing of a treaty of protection, and the second consisting in the suppression of a rebellion...

, over the objections of Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. Under French colonization, European settlements in the country were actively encouraged; the number of French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

 colonists grew from 34,000 in 1906 to 144,000 in 1945. In 1910 there were 105,000 Italians in Tunisia.

World War II


In 1942–1943, Tunisia was the scene of the third major operations by the Allied Forces
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 (the British Empire and the United States) against the Axis Powers
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

 (Italy and Germany) during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The main body of the British army, advancing from their victory in the Battle of el-Alamein
Second Battle of El Alamein
The Second Battle of El Alamein marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. The battle took place over 20 days from 23 October – 11 November 1942. The First Battle of El Alamein had stalled the Axis advance. Thereafter, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery...

 under the command of British Field Marshal Montgomery
Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC , nicknamed "Monty" and the "Spartan General" was a British Army officer. He saw action in the First World War, when he was seriously wounded, and during the Second World War he commanded the 8th Army from...

, pushed into Tunisia from the south. The U.S. and other allies, following their invasions of Algeria and Morocco in Operation Torch
Operation Torch
Operation Torch was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II during the North African Campaign, started on 8 November 1942....

, invaded from the west.

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
Erwin Rommel
Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel , popularly known as the Desert Fox , was a German Field Marshal of World War II. He won the respect of both his own troops and the enemies he fought....

, commander of the Axis forces in North Africa, had hoped to inflict a similar defeat on the Allies in Tunisia as German forces did in the Battle of France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

 in 1940. Before the battle for el-Alamein, the Allied forces had been forced to retreat toward Egypt. As such, the battle for Tunisia was a major test for the Allies. They concluded that in order to defeat Axis Powers they would have to coordinate their actions and quickly recover from the inevitable setbacks the German-Italian forces would inflict.

On February 19, 1943, Rommel launched an attack on the American forces in the Kasserine Pass region of Western Tunisia, hoping to inflict the kind of demoralizing and alliance-shattering defeat the Germans had dealt to Poland, Britain and France. The initial results were a disaster for the United States; the area around the Kasserine Pass is the site of many U.S. war grave
War grave
A war grave is a burial place for soldiers or civilians who died during military campaigns or operations. The term does not only apply to graves: ships sunk during wartime are often considered to be war graves, as are military aircraft that crash into water...

s from that time.

However, the American forces were ultimately able to reverse their retreat. With a critical strategy in tank warfare, and having determined that encirclement was feasible, the British, Australian and New Zealand forces broke through the Mareth Line
Mareth Line
The Mareth Line was a system of fortifications built by the French between the towns of Medenine and Gabès in southern Tunisia, prior to World War II...

 on March 20, 1943. The Allies subsequently linked up on April 8, and on May 12, the German-Italian Army in Tunisia surrendered. Thus, the United States, United Kingdom, Australian, Free French
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

, and Polish forces (as well as others) were able to win a major battle as an Allied army.

The battle, though overshadowed by Stalingrad
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia. The battle took place between 23 August 1942 and 2 February 1943...

, represented a major Allied victory of World War II largely because it forged the Alliance that would one day liberate Western Europe.

Independence


Tunisia achieved independence from France in 1956 led by Habib Bourguiba
Habib Bourguiba
Habib Bourguiba was a Tunisian statesman, the Founder and the first President of the Republic of Tunisia from July 25, 1957 until 7 November 1987...

, who later became the first Tunisian President. 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
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali is a Tunisian political figure who was the second President of Tunisia from 1987 to 2011. Ben Ali was appointed Prime Minister in October 1987, and he assumed the Presidency on 7 November 1987 in a bloodless coup d'état that ousted President Habib Bourguiba, who was...

 assumed the presidency. He and his family subsequently were accused of corruption and plundering the country's money and fled into exile in 2011.

2010–2011 Tunisian revolution


The Tunisian revolution is an intensive campaign of civil resistance
Civil resistance
The term civil resistance, alongside the term nonviolent resistance, is used to describe political action that relies on the use of non-violent methods by civil groups to challenge a particular power, force, policy or regime. Civil resistance operates through appeals to the adversary, pressure and...

, including a series of street demonstrations taking place in Tunisia. The events began when Mohamed Bouazizi
Mohamed Bouazizi
Mohamed Bouazizi was a Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire on 17 December 2010, in protest of the confiscation of his wares and the harassment and humiliation that he reported was inflicted on him by a municipal official and her aides...

, a 26-year old Tunisian street vendor, set himself afire on 17 December 2010, in protest of the confiscation of his wares and the humiliation that was inflicted on him by a municipal official. This act became the catalyst for mass demonstrations and riots throughout Tunisia in protest of social and political issues in the country. Anger and violence intensified following Bouazizi's death on 4 January 2011, ultimately leading longtime President
President of Tunisia
The President of Tunisia, formally known as the President of the Tunisian Republic is the head of state of Tunisia. Tunisia is a presidential republic in which the president is the head of the executive branch of government with the assistance of the Prime Minister of Tunisia, formally the head of...

 Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali is a Tunisian political figure who was the second President of Tunisia from 1987 to 2011. Ben Ali was appointed Prime Minister in October 1987, and he assumed the Presidency on 7 November 1987 in a bloodless coup d'état that ousted President Habib Bourguiba, who was...

 to step down on 14 January 2011, after 23 years in power. Street demonstrations and other unrest have continued to the present day. International Tunisian organizations, like the Tunisian Community Center
Tunisian Community Center
Founded in 1999, the Tunisian Community Center , or TCC, is a US-based non-profit organization, dedicated toward community building and cultural outreach for Tunisian Americans...

 in the US, has supported the protesters' aims toward democracy as-well, in-addition to TCC's efforts to freeze Ben Ali's assets abroad.

The demonstrations were precipitated by high unemployment
Unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

, food inflation, corruption
Corruption
Corruption usually refers to spiritual or moral impurity.Corruption may also refer to:* Corruption , an American crime film* Corruption , a British horror film...

, a lack of freedom of speech
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

 and other political freedoms and poor living conditions. The protests constituted the most dramatic wave of social and political unrest in Tunisia in three decades and have resulted in scores of deaths and injuries, most of which were the result of action by police and security forces against demonstrators. Labour unions were said to be an integral part of the protests. The protests inspired similar actions throughout the Arab world
Arab Spring
The Arab Spring , otherwise known as the Arab Awakening, is a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests occurring in the Arab world that began on Saturday, 18 December 2010...

; the Egyptian revolution
2011 Egyptian revolution
The 2011 Egyptian revolution took place following a popular uprising that began on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 and is still continuing as of November 2011. The uprising was mainly a campaign of non-violent civil resistance, which featured a series of demonstrations, marches, acts of civil...

 began after the events in Tunisia and also led to the ousting of Egypt's longtime president Hosni Mubarak
Hosni Mubarak
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak is a former Egyptian politician and military commander. He served as the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011....

; furthermore, protests have also taken place in Algeria, Yemen, Jordan
2011 Jordanian protests
The 2011 Jordanian protests are a series of protests occurring in Jordan in 2011, which resulted in the firing of the cabinet ministers of the government.Food inflation and salaries were a cause for resentment in the country....

, Bahrain, Iraq
2011 Iraqi protests
The 2011 Iraqi protests came in the wake of the Tunisian revolution and Egyptian uprising. It has resulted in at least thirty-five deaths, including at least twenty-nine on the 25 February "Day of Rage"....

, Mauritania
Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and also Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 – where a civil war
2011 Libyan civil war
The 2011 Libyan civil war was an armed conflict in the North African state of Libya, fought between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government. The war was preceded by protests in Benghazi beginning on 15 February 2011, which led to clashes with security...

 broke out – as well as elsewhere in the wider North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

 and Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

.

Politics



Tunisia is a constitutional republic, with a president serving as chief of state, prime minister as head of government, a bicameral legislature and a court system influenced by French civil law. While Tunisia is formally a democracy with a multi-party system, the secular Constitutional Democratic Rally
Constitutional Democratic Rally
The Constitutional Democratic Rally , also referred to by its French acronym RCD, formerly called Neo Destour then Socialist Destourian Party, was the governing party in Tunisia. The party was suspended by the minister of interior on February 6th awaiting a decision on its dissolution by judicial...

 (RCD), formerly Neo Destour
Neo Destour
The New Constitutional Liberal Party , most commonly known as Neo Destour, was a Tunisian political party that was founded by a group of nationalist politicians during the French protectorate.-History:...

, has controlled the country as one of the most repressive regimes in the Arab World since its independence in 1956.

President Ben Ali, previously Habib Bourguiba
Habib Bourguiba
Habib Bourguiba was a Tunisian statesman, the Founder and the first President of the Republic of Tunisia from July 25, 1957 until 7 November 1987...

's minister and a military figure, held office from 1987 to 2011, having acceded to the executive office of Habib Bourguiba
Habib Bourguiba
Habib Bourguiba was a Tunisian statesman, the Founder and the first President of the Republic of Tunisia from July 25, 1957 until 7 November 1987...

 after a team of medical experts judged Bourguiba unfit to exercise the functions of the office in accordance with Article 57 of the Tunisian constitution. The anniversary of Ben Ali’s succession, November 7, was celebrated as a national holiday. He was consistently re-elected with enormous majorities every election, the last being October 25, 2009, until he fled the country amid popular unrest in January 2011.

Tunisia has a republican presidential system characterized by a bicameral parliamentary system, including the Chamber of Deputies
Chamber of Deputies of Tunisia
The Chamber of Deputies is the lower chamber of the Parliament of Tunisia, the bicameral legislative branch of the government of Tunisia. It has 189 seats and members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. 20% of the seats are reserved for the opposition. Elections are held in the...

, which has 214 seats, 25% of which are reserved for 'opposition parties,' and the Chamber of Advisors (112 members), which is composed of representatives of political parties, professional organisations patronised by the president, and by personalities appointed by the president of the Republic. The Prime Minister and cabinet, appointed by the president, play a strong role in the execution of policy and approval of legislation. Regional governors and local administrators are also appointed by the central government. Largely consultative mayors and municipal councils are elected.

The President’s Constitutional Democratic Rally
Constitutional Democratic Rally
The Constitutional Democratic Rally , also referred to by its French acronym RCD, formerly called Neo Destour then Socialist Destourian Party, was the governing party in Tunisia. The party was suspended by the minister of interior on February 6th awaiting a decision on its dissolution by judicial...

, or RCD in an abbreviation of the French, has consistently won large majorities in local and parliamentary elections. It is composed of more than 2 million members and more than 6000 representations throughout the country and largely overlaps with all important state institutions. Although the party was renamed (in Bourguiba’s days it used to be known as the Socialist Destourian Party), its policies are still considered to be largely secular but not socialist or liberal. Rare for the Arab world, women hold more than 20% of seats in both chambers of parliament. Moreover, Tunisia is the only country in the Arab world where polygamy
Polygamy
Polygamy is a marriage which includes more than two partners...

 is forbidden by law. This is part of a provision in the country’s Code of Personal Status, which was introduced by the former president Bourguiba in 1956.) There are currently eight other small political parties in Tunisia, six of whom are represented in the parliament.

The Tunisian legal system is based on the French civil code and on Islamic law; the judiciary is appointed by the Ministry of Justice. The Code of Personal Status remains one of the most progressive civil codes in the Middle East and the Muslim world. Enacted less than five months after Tunisia gained its independence, the code was meant to end gender inequality and update family law, to enable greater social and economic progress and make Tunisia a fully modern society. Among other reforms, the code outlawed the practices of polygamy and repudiation, or a husband’s right to unilaterally divorce his wife.

Independent human rights groups, such as Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

, Freedom House
Freedom House
Freedom House is an international non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights...

, and Protection International, have documented that basic human and political rights are not respected. The regime obstructs in any way possible the work of local human rights organizations. In the Economist
Economist
An economist is a professional in the social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from economics and write about economic policy...

's 2008 Democracy Index
Democracy Index
The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit that claims to measure the state of democracy in 167 countries, of which 166 are sovereign states and 165 are UN member states...

 Tunisia is classified as an authoritarian regime ranking 141 out of 167 countries studied. In 2008, in terms of freedom of the press, Tunisia was ranked 143 out of 173.

Human rights


Since 1987 Tunisia has formally reformed its political system several times, abolishing life presidency and opening up the parliament to opposition parties. The President's official speeches are full of references to the importance of democracy and freedom of speech. According to Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

, "the Tunisian government is misleading the world as it conveys a positive image of the human rights situation in the country while abuses by its security forces continue unabated and are committed with impunity".

Freedom of the press is officially guaranteed by the government, although independent press outlets remain restricted, as does a substantial amount of web content. According to the Open Net Initiative, journalists are often obstructed from reporting
Censorship in Tunisia
Censorship in Tunisia has been an issue since the country gained independence in 1956. Though considered relatively mild under President Habib Bourguiba , censorship and other forms of repression have become common under his successor, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali...

 on controversial events. In practice, no public criticism of the regime is tolerated and all direct protest is severely suppressed and does not get reported in the local media. This was the case with the public demonstrations against nepotism. In January 2010 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

 mentioned Tunisia and China as the two countries with the greatest internet censorship. The state-owned 'Publinet' internet network has more than 1.1 million users and hundreds of internet cafes, which monitors and filters traffic. Hundreds of thousands of young men avoid compulsory conscription and live with the constant fear of arrest, although it appears that the police go after them only in certain times of the year (the 'raffle') and often let them go if a sufficient bribe is paid.

Tunisian journalists and human rights activists are harassed and face surveillance and imprisonment under harsh conditions. Others are dismissed from their jobs or denied their right to communicate and move freely. The authorities have also prevented the emergence of an independent judiciary, further compounding the problem.

Corruption and nepotism


Accusations have been made against the regime, accusing it of becoming a kleptocracy
Kleptocracy
Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often without pretense of honest...

 with corrupt members of the Trabelsi family, most notably in the cases of Imed Trabelsi
Imed Trabelsi
Imed Trabelsi is a businessman, politician, and favorite nephew of Leïla Ben Ali, the former First Lady of Tunisia, Trabelsi was formerly the mayor of La Goulette, Tunisia. Under Ben Ali's regime, Trabelsi controlled the construction industry in Tunisia, in addition to operating a franchise of...

 and Belhassen Trabelsi
Belhassen Trabelsi
Belhassen Trabelsi is a Tunisian businessman. He is the brother of Leïla Ben Ali, wife of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.-Biography:...

, controlling much of the business sector in the country. In its January/February 2008 issue, the Foreign Policy Magazine reported that Tunisia's First Lady had been using a government 737 Boeing Business Jet
Boeing Business Jet
|-External links:* .* .*...

 to make "unofficial visits" to European fashion capitals, such as Milan, Paris and Geneva. The report mentioned that the trips are not on the official travel itinerary. The first lady has been described as a shopaholic
Oniomania
Oniomania is the technical term for the compulsive desire to shop, more commonly referred to as compulsive shopping, shopping addiction, shopaholism, compulsive buying or CB...

. Recently Tunisia refused a French request for the extradition of two of the President's nephews, from Leila's side, who are accused by the French State prosecutor of having stolen two mega-yachts from a French marina. Rumours have been circulating that Ben Ali's son-in-law Sakher al-Materi (the husband of Zine and Leila's daughter Nessrine) was being primed to eventually take over the country.

2009 National elections


On October 25, 2009, national elections to elect the president and parliament were held in Tunisia in what was described by a Human Rights Watch report as "an atmosphere of repression". Ben Ali faced three candidates, two of whom said they actually supported the incumbent. No independent observer was allowed to monitor the vote. Zinedine Ben Ali won a landslide victory, with 89.62%. His opponent, Mohamed Bouchiha, received 5.01%. The candidate who was most critical of the regime, Ahmed Ibrahim, of the Ettajdid party, received only 1.57% after a campaign in which he was not allowed to put posters up or hold any kind of meeting. The president's party, the CDR, also got the majority of votes for the parliamentary election, 84.59%. The Movement of Socialist Democrats
Movement of Socialist Democrats
The Movement of Social Democrats is an opposition political party in Tunisia. It was the second-largest party in the Chamber of Deputies, behind the dominant Constitutional Democratic Rally, with sixteen seats....

 party received 4.63%.

The election received criticism in foreign media. Human Rights Watch has reported that parties and candidates were denied exposure equal to the sitting president, and that the Ettajdid party's weekly publication, Ettarik al-Jadid, was seized by authorities. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists
Committee to Protect Journalists
The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent nonprofit organisation based in New York City that promotes press freedom and defends the rights of journalists.-History:A group of U.S...

, "97% of newspaper campaign coverage was devoted to President Ben Ali amid severe restrictions on independent reporting. Ben Ali’s government went after the country’s journalist union, bringing down its democratically elected board, while his police bullied and harassed critical reporters. Two journalists, one of them a leading critic of the president, were in jail later in the year. Journalist Taoufik Ben Brik
Taoufik Ben Brik
Taoufik Ben Brik is a Tunisian journalist born in 1960 in Jerissa.-Career:Brik is a prominent critic of the former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and an outspoken critic of censorship in the Middle East...

, who had published two articles in French newspapers that were critical of the regime, has been incarcerated since October 29, 2009 until his release on April 27, 2010. (The Court of Appeal upheld a sentence of nine years on 3 January 2010 in a trial that "confirmed the complete absence of independence of the Tunisian legal system" the defendant's French lawyer William Bourdon said.) Florence Beaugé, a correspondent for the French daily Le Monde
Le Monde
Le Monde is a French daily evening newspaper owned by La Vie-Le Monde Group and edited in Paris. It is one of two French newspapers of record, and has generally been well respected since its first edition under founder Hubert Beuve-Méry on 19 December 1944...

, tried to cover the polling but was put on a flight back to Paris on October 21.

Candidate Percentage of votes (%)
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (RCD) 89.62%
Mohamed Bouchiha (PPU) 5.01%
Ahmed Linoubli (UDU) 3.80%
Ahmed Ibrahim (ME) 1.57%


2010–2011 revolution


In response to the 2010–2011 Tunisian revolution, Ben Ali declared a state of emergency in the country, dissolved the government on January 14, 2011, and promised new legislative elections within six months. But on that same day Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi went on state television to say he was assuming power in Tunisia. Unconfirmed news reports, citing unidentified government sources in Tunisia, said that the President had left the country. Gannouchi based his speech on Article 56 of the Tunisian constitution. However, the head of Tunisia's Constitutional Court, Fethi Abdennadher, confirmed that Gannouchi violated the constitution, as Article 56 is not applicable to current circumstances and requires a President. Article 57 of the constitution states that the President of the Parliament should take the executive power and organize an election in 45 to 60 days. Consequently, Fouad Mebazaa
Fouad Mebazaa
Fouad Mebazaa is a Tunisian politician who has been President of Tunisia since 15 January 2011. He was active in Neo Destour prior to Tunisian independence, served as Minister of Youth and Sports, Minister of Public Health, and Minister of Culture and Information, and has been President of the...

 became acting President following the Constitutional Court's interpretation of the situation and the Constitution. It was soon confirmed, however, that Ben Ali had indeed fled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. His current whereabouts are yet to be confirmed. Protests continued in Tunisia to call for banning of the ruling party and the eviction of all its members from the transitional government formed by Mohamed Ghannouchi. Eventually the new government gave in to the demands and a new prime minister Beji Caid-Essebsi was appointed by the acting president on Thursday March 3, 2011. Two of the first actions made after the appointment of the new government were the decision of the Tunis court to ban the ex-ruling party RCD and to confiscate all its resources, and a decree by the minister of the interior banning the "political police" including what has been known as the state security special forces which were used to intimidate and persecute political activists On January 26, 2011, INTERPOL
Interpol
Interpol, whose full name is the International Criminal Police Organization – INTERPOL, is an organization facilitating international police cooperation...

 confirmed that its National Central Bureau (NCB) in Tunis has issued a global alert via INTERPOL's international network to seek the location and arrest of former Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and six of his relatives.
On 3 March 2011, the president announced that elections to a Constituent Assembly would be held on 23 October 2011; this likely means that general elections
Tunisian general election, 2011
The next Tunisian general election was originally scheduled to be held in 2014, but it was brought forward by the Tunisian Revolution which caused the ousting of President Ben Ali on 14 January 2011...

 will be postponed to a later date. The constituent assembly elections took place as scheduled with international and internal observers declaring it free and fair. The Ennahda Movement, formerly banned under the Ben Ali regime, won a plurality of 90 seats out of a total of 217.

Economy


Tunisia has a diverse economy, ranging from agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and petroleum products, to tourism
Tourism in Tunisia
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...

. In 2008 it had a GDP of US $41 billion (official exchange rates
Exchange rate
In finance, an exchange rate between two currencies is the rate at which one currency will be exchanged for another. It is also regarded as the value of one country’s currency in terms of another currency...

), or $82 billion (purchasing power parity). It also has one of Africa and the Middle East's highest per-capita GDPs (PPP
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

). The agricultural sector stands 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.

Tunisia was in 2009 ranked the most competitive economy in Africa and the 40th in the world by the World Economic Forum
World Economic Forum
The World Economic Forum is a Swiss non-profit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva, best known for its annual meeting in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland....

. Tunisia has managed to attract many international companies such as Airbus
Airbus
Airbus SAS is an aircraft manufacturing subsidiary of EADS, a European aerospace company. Based in Blagnac, France, surburb of Toulouse, and with significant activity across Europe, the company produces around half of the world's jet airliners....

 and Hewlett-Packard
Hewlett-Packard
Hewlett-Packard Company or HP is an American multinational information technology corporation headquartered in Palo Alto, California, USA that provides products, technologies, softwares, solutions and services to consumers, small- and medium-sized businesses and large enterprises, including...

.
Tourism accounted for 7% of GDP and 370,000 jobs in 2009.

The European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 remains Tunisia's first trading partner, currently accounting for 72.5% of Tunisian imports and 75% of Tunisian exports. Tunisia is a one of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

’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
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, 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 Mediterranean country to enter in a free trade area with EU.

Tunisia also attracted large Persian Gulf investments (especially from United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

) the largest include:
  • Mediterranean gate: a US$ 25 billion project to build a new city in the south of Tunis.
  • Tunis Sport City: an entire sports city currently being constructed in Tunis, Tunisia. The city that will consist of apartment buildings as well as several sports facilities will be built by the Bukhatir Group at a cost of $5 Billion.
  • Tunis Financial harbour: will deliver North Africa
    North Africa
    North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

    ’s first offshore financial centre
    Offshore financial centre
    An offshore financial centre , though not precisely defined, is usually a small, low-tax jurisdiction specializing in providing corporate and commercial services to non-resident offshore companies, and for the investment of offshore funds....

     at Tunis Bay in a project with an end development value of US$ 3 billion.
  • Tunis Telecom City: A US$ 3 billion project to create an IT hub in Tunis
    Tunis
    Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

    .

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 GWh was produced in the country.

Oil and gas


Oil production of Tunisia is about 97600 oilbbl/d. The main field is El Bourma.

Oil production began in 1966 in Tunisia. Currently there are 12 oil fields.

List of oil fields
Oil field Oil field
7 November oil field El Menzah field
Ashtart field Belli field
Bouri field Cercina field
El Biban field El Borma field
Ezzaouia field Miskar field
Sidi El Kilani field Tazarka field

Nuclear energy


Tunisia has plans for two nuclear power stations, to be operational by 2019. Both facilities are projected to produce 900–1000 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.

Desertec project


The Desertec
Desertec
DESERTEC is a concept proposed by the DESERTEC Foundation for making use of solar energy and wind energy. This concept will be implemented in North Africa and the Middle East by the consortium Dii GmbH, formed by a group of European companies and the DESERTEC Foundation...

 project is a large-scale energy project aimed at installing solar power panels in northern Africa, with a power line connection between it and southern Europe. Tunisia will be a part of this project, but exactly how it may benefit from this remains to be seen.

Transport


  • The country maintains 19232 kilometres (11,950.2 mi) of roads, with the A1 Tunis-Sfax, P1 Tunis-Libya and P7 Tunis-Algeria being the major highways.
  • There are 30 airports in Tunisia, with Tunis Carthage International Airport and Monastir International Airport
    Monastir International Airport
    Monastir – Habib Bourguiba International Airport is an airport serving Monastir in Tunisia. The airport is operated by Tepe Akfen Ventures.Beginning on 1 January 2008, a private company is managing the airport on behalf of the Tunisian Civil Aviation and Airports Authority .The airport serves as...

     being the most important ones. A New airport, Enfidha–Martyrs International Airport, was completed at the end of October 2009 and was due to open December 2009. The airport is located North of Sousse at Enfidha and is likely to serve the resorts of Hamammet and Port El Kantoui, together with inland cities such as Kairouan. There are four airlines headquartered in Tunisia: Tunisair
    Tunisair
    Société Tunisienne de l'Air, or Tunisair is the flag carrier airline of Tunisia. Formed in 1948, it operates scheduled international services to European, African and Middle Eastern destinations. Its main base is Tunis-Carthage International Airport...

    , Karthago Airlines
    Karthago Airlines
    Karthago Airlines is a privately owned airline based in Tunis, Tunisia, operating scheduled charter flights to Europe. Its main base is Djerba-Zarzis Airport, but most of the flights are out of Tunis-Carthage International Airport.-History:...

    , Nouvelair
    Nouvelair
    Nouvelair Limited Company is a Tunisian airline with its registered office in Tunis, while its head office in the Dhkila Tourist Zone in Monastir, near the Hôtel Sahara Beach. The airline operates tourist charters from European cities to Tunisian holiday resorts...

     and Tunisair express.
  • The railway network is operated by SNCFT and amounts to 2135 kilometres (1,326.6 mi) in total. The Tunis area is served by a tram
    Tram
    A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

     network, named Metro Leger.

Governorates



Tunisia is subdivided into 24 governorate
Governorate
A governorate is an administrative division of a country. It is headed by a governor. As English-speaking nations tend to call regions administered by governors either states, provinces, or colonies, the term governorate is often used in translation from non-English-speaking administrations.The...

s, they are:

  1. Ariana
    Ariana Governorate
    Ariana Governorate is one of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in northern Tunisia. It has a population of 422,000 . The capital is Aryanah.The following cities and towns are located in the Ariana Governorate:...


  2. Béja
    Béja Governorate
    Béja Governorate is one of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in northern Tunisia. It covers an area of 3,558 km² and has a population of 305,000 . The capital is Béja....


  3. Ben Arous
    Ben Arous Governorate
    Ben Arous Governorate is one of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in northern Tunisia. It covers an area of 761 km² and has a population of 506,000...


  4. Bizerte
    Bizerte Governorate
    Bizerte Governorate is the northernmost of the 24 governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in northern Tunisia. It covers an area of 3,685 km² and has a population of 524,000 . The capital is Bizerte...


  5. Gabès
    Gabès Governorate
    Gabès Governorate is one of the 24 governorates of Tunisia. It is located in south-eastern Tunisia. It covers an area of and has a population of 343,000...


  6. Gafsa
    Gafsa Governorate
    Gafsa Governorate is one of the 24 governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in central Tunisia, bordering Algeria. It covers an area of 8,990 km² and has a population of 324,000 . The capital is Gafsa....


  7. Jendouba
    Jendouba Governorate
    Jendouba Governorate is one of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in northern Tunisia, bordering Algeria. It covers an area of 3,102 km² and has a population of 417,000...


  8. Kairouan
    Kairouan Governorate
    Kairouan Governorate is one of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia. It is an inland province, situated in the centre of the country. It covers an area of 6,712 km² and has a population of 546,209...


  9. Kasserine
    Kasserine Governorate
    Kasserine Governorate , sometimes spelt Casrein, is one of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in west-central Tunisia on the frontier with Algeria. It covers an area of 8,066 km² and has a population of 412,278...


  10. Kebili
    Kebili Governorate
    Kebili Governorate is the second largest of the 24 governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in south-western Tunisia, bordering Algeria. It covers an area of and had a population of 143,218 at the 2004 census. The capital is Kebili.-Geography:...


  11. Kef
    Kef Governorate
    Kef Governorate is one of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in north-western Tunisia, bordering Algeria. It covers an area of 4,965 km² and has a population of 259,000...


  12. Mahdia
    Mahdia Governorate
    Mahdia Governorate is one of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in central-eastern Tunisia. It covers an area of 2,966 km² and has a population of 378,000...



  1. Manouba
    Manouba Governorate
    Manouba Governorate is one of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in northern Tunisia. It has a population of 336,000 , and an area of 1,137 km2...


  2. Medenine
    Medenine Governorate
    Medenine is one of the 24 governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in south-eastern Tunisia. It covers an area of 8,588 km² and had a population of 432,503 at the 2004 census...


  3. Monastir
    Monastir Governorate
    Monastir Governorate is one of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in north-eastern Tunisia. It covers an area of 1,019 km² and has a population of 456,000...


  4. Nabeul
    Nabeul Governorate
    Nabeul Governorate is one of the 24 governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in north-eastern Tunisia. It covers an area of 2,788 km² and has a population of 694,000 . The capital is Nabeul.-Municipalities:...


  5. Sfax
    Sfax Governorate
    The Sfax Governorate is one of the governorates of Tunisia. The governorate has a population of 860,000 and an area of 7,545 km². Its capital is Sfax.The following cities and towns are located in the Sfax Governorate:* Agareb...


  6. Sidi Bou Zid
  7. Siliana
    Siliana Governorate
    Siliana Governorate is one of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in northern Tunisia. It covers an area of 4,631 km² and has a population of 234,000...


  8. Sousse
    Sousse Governorate
    Sousse Governorate is one of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in north-eastern Tunisia. It covers an area of 2,621 km² and has a population of 544,000...


  9. Tataouine
    Tataouine Governorate
    Tataouine Governorate is the southernmost of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia, the only one to border both Algeria and Libya. It is also the largest Tunisian governorate, covering an area of 38,889 km² with a population of 143,524 , nearly tied for second least populated with Kebili ...


  10. Tozeur
    Tozeur Governorate
    Tozeur is one of the 24 governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in western Tunisia, bordering Algeria. It covers an area of 4,719 km² and has a population of 98,000 . The capital is Tozeur....


  11. Tunis
    Tunis Governorate
    Tunis Governorate the smallest and most populated of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in northern Tunisia. It covers an area of and has a population of 984,000...


  12. Zaghouan
    Zaghouan Governorate
    Zaghouan Governorate is one of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in north-eastern Tunisia. It covers an area of 2,768 km² and has a population of 161,000 . The capital is Zaghouan....




The governorates are divided into 264 "delegations
Delegations of Tunisia
||The delegations of Tunisia are the second level administrative divisions of Tunisia between the governorates and the sectors . there were 24 governorates which were divided into 264 delegations and further divided into 2073 sectors...

" or "district
District
Districts are a type of administrative division, in some countries managed by a local government. They vary greatly in size, spanning entire regions or counties, several municipalities, or subdivisions of municipalities.-Austria:...

s" (mutamadiyat), and further subdivided into municipalities
Municipality
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

 (shaykhats) and sectors (imadats).

Major cities


Nr. City Population Governatorate
1
Tunis
Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

Tunis
Tunis Governorate
Tunis Governorate the smallest and most populated of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in northern Tunisia. It covers an area of and has a population of 984,000...

2
Sfax
Sfax
Sfax is a city in Tunisia, located southeast of Tunis. The city, founded in AD 849 on the ruins of Taparura and Thaenae, is the capital of the Sfax Governorate , and a Mediterranean port. Sfax has population of 340,000...

Sfax
Sfax Governorate
The Sfax Governorate is one of the governorates of Tunisia. The governorate has a population of 860,000 and an area of 7,545 km². Its capital is Sfax.The following cities and towns are located in the Sfax Governorate:* Agareb...

3
Sousse
Sousse
Sousse is a city in Tunisia. Located 140 km south of the capital Tunis, the city has 173,047 inhabitants . Sousse is in the central-east of the country, on the Gulf of Hammamet, which is a part of the Mediterranean Sea. The name may be of Berber origin: similar names are found in Libya and in...

Sousse
Sousse Governorate
Sousse Governorate is one of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in north-eastern Tunisia. It covers an area of 2,621 km² and has a population of 544,000...

4
Kairouan
Kairouan
Kairouan , also known as Kirwan or al-Qayrawan , is the capital of the Kairouan Governorate in Tunisia. Referred to as the Islamic Cultural Capital, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city was founded by the Arabs around 670...

Kairouan
Kairouan Governorate
Kairouan Governorate is one of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia. It is an inland province, situated in the centre of the country. It covers an area of 6,712 km² and has a population of 546,209...

5
Gabès
Gabès
Gabès , also spelt Cabès, Cabes, Kabes, Gabbs and Gaps, the ancient Tacape, is the capital city of the Gabès Governorate, a province of Tunisia. It lies on the coast of the Gulf of Gabès. With a population of 116,323 it is the 6th largest Tunisian city.-History:Strabo refers to Tacape as an...

Gabès
Gabès Governorate
Gabès Governorate is one of the 24 governorates of Tunisia. It is located in south-eastern Tunisia. It covers an area of and has a population of 343,000...

6
Bizerte
Bizerte
Bizerte or Benzert , is the capital city of Bizerte Governorate in Tunisia and the northernmost city in Africa. It has a population of 230,879 .-History:...

Bizerte
Bizerte Governorate
Bizerte Governorate is the northernmost of the 24 governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in northern Tunisia. It covers an area of 3,685 km² and has a population of 524,000 . The capital is Bizerte...

7
Aryanah
Aryanah
Aryanah is a coastal city in northeastern Tunisia. It is located at around . It is the capital of Ariana Governorate and the country's eighth largest city....

Ariana
Ariana Governorate
Ariana Governorate is one of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in northern Tunisia. It has a population of 422,000 . The capital is Aryanah.The following cities and towns are located in the Ariana Governorate:...

8
Gafsa
Gafsa
Gafsa is the capital of Gafsa Governorate of Tunisia. Its name was appropriated by archaeologists for the Mesolithic Capsian culture. With a population of 84,676, it is the 9th Tunisian city.-Overview:...

Gafsa
Gafsa Governorate
Gafsa Governorate is one of the 24 governorates of Tunisia. It is situated in central Tunisia, bordering Algeria. It covers an area of 8,990 km² and has a population of 324,000 . The capital is Gafsa....


Military


The Tunisian armed forces are divided into three branches:
  • Army
  • Air Force
    Tunisian Air Force
    The Tunisian Air Force is one of the branches of the Tunisian Armed Forces.-Air Force:The Tunisian Air Force was established in 1959, three years after Tunisia regained its independence from France. It took deliveries of its first aircraft, eight Saab 91 Safirs, in 1960, later to be complemented...

  • Navy


Tunisia's military spending is 1.6% of GDP (2006). The army is responsible for national defence and also internal security.

Geography



Tunisia is situated on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, midway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Nile Delta
Nile Delta
The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers some 240 km of Mediterranean coastline—and is a rich...

. It is bordered by Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 on the west and Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 on the south east. It lies between latitudes 30°
30th parallel north
The 30th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 30 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It stands one-third of the way between the equator and the North Pole and crosses Africa, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 38°N
38th parallel north
The 38th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 38 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean...

, and longitudes
7th meridian east
The meridian 7° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 12°E
12th meridian east
The meridian 12° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

. 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 Khroumerie, the northwestern corner of the Tunisian Tell, elevations reach 1050 metres (3,444.9 ft) and snow occurs in winter.

The Sahel
Sahel, Tunisia
Sahel is an area of Tunisia. It forms the central part of the eastern shore, from the south of Hammamet to Mahdia. Its main town is Sousse, called "the Pearl of the Sahel".-Politics:* Habib Bourguiba;* Zine El Abidine Ben Ali;* Kamel Morjane;...

, 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
Semi-arid
A semi-arid climate or steppe climate describes climatic regions that receive precipitation below potential evapotranspiration, but not extremely...

 and desert
Desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

.

Tunisia has a coastline 1148 kilometres (713.3 mi) long. In maritime terms, the country claims a contiguous zone of 24 nautical miles (44.4 km), and a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles (22.2 km).

Climate


Tunisia's climate is temperate
Temperate
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

 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
Plain
In geography, a plain is land with relatively low relief, that is flat or gently rolling. Prairies and steppes are types of plains, and the archetype for a plain is often thought of as a grassland, but plains in their natural state may also be covered in shrublands, woodland and forest, or...

. The south is semiarid, and merges into the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

. A series of salt lakes
Tunisian salt lakes
The Tunisian salt lakes are a series of lakes in central Tunisia, lying south of the Atlas Mountains at the northern edge of the Sahara. The lakes include, from east to west, the Chott el Fedjedji, Chott el Djerid, and Chott el Gharsa....

, known as chotts or shatts, lie in an east-west line at the northern edge of the Sahara, extending from the Gulf of Gabes
Gulf of Gabès
The Gulf of Gabès is a gulf on Tunisia's east coast in the Mediterranean Sea, off North Africa. The gulf roughly spans the coast from modern day the town of Mahrès in Sfax Gouvernorate to Djerba...

 into Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

. The lowest point is Shatt al Gharsah, at 17 metres (55.8 ft) below sea level and the highest is Jebel ech Chambi
Jebel ech Chambi
Jebel ech Chambi is the highest mountain in Tunisia at 1544m. It stands above the city of Kasserine in western central Tunisia and is covered by a pine forest....

, at 1544 metres (5,065.6 ft).

Demographics


Some 98% of modern Tunisians are Arab-Berber
Arab-Berber
Arab-Berber is a term to denote an inhabitant of the North African Maghreb who is of mixed Arab and Berber origin and whose native language is a dialect of Arabic and who also has an Arab ethnic identity...

, and are speakers of Tunisian Arabic
Tunisian Arabic
Tunisian Arabic is a Maghrebi dialect of the Arabic language, spoken by some 11 million people. It is usually known by its own speakers as Derja, which means dialect, to distinguish it from Standard Arabic, or as Tunsi, which means Tunisian...

. However, there is also a small (1% at most) population of Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

s located in the Jabal Dahar mountains in the South East and on the island of Jerba, though many more have Berber ancestry. The Berbers primarily speak Berber languages
Berber languages
The Berber languages are a family of languages indigenous to North Africa, spoken from Siwa Oasis in Egypt to Morocco , and south to the countries of the Sahara Desert...

, often called Shelha.

The small European population (1%) consists mostly of French and Italians. There is also a long-established Jewish community in the country, the history of the Jews in Tunisia
History of the Jews in Tunisia
The history of the Jews in Tunisia goes back to Roman times. Before 1948, the Jewish population of Tunisia reached a peak of 110,000. From the 1950s, half this number left for Israel and the other half for France...

 going back some 2,000 years. In 1948 the Jewish population was an estimated 105,000, but by 2003 only about 1,500 remained.

The first people known to history in what is now Tunisia were the Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

s. Numerous civilizations and peoples have invaded, migrated to, and been assimilated into the population over the millennia, with influences of population via conquest from Phoenicians/Carthaginians, Roman
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

s, Vandals, Arabs, Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, and French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

. There was a continuing inflow of nomadic Arab tribes from Arabia.

Additionally, after the Reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

 and expulsion of non-Christians and Morisco
Morisco
Moriscos or Mouriscos , meaning "Moorish", were the converted Christian inhabitants of Spain and Portugal of Muslim heritage. Over time the term was used in a pejorative sense applied to those nominal Catholics who were suspected of secretly practicing Islam.-Demographics:By the beginning of the...

s from Spain, many Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 Moors
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

 and Jews also arrived. 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." In addition, from the late 19th century to after World War II, Tunisia was home to large populations of French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

 and Italians (255,000 Europeans in 1956), although nearly all of them, along with the Jewish population, left after Tunisia became independent.

Religion


The constitution declares Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 as the official state religion
State religion
A state religion is a religious body or creed officially endorsed by the state...

 and requires the President to be Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

. Besides the president, Tunisians enjoy a significant degree of religious freedom, a right enshrined and protected in its constitution, which guarantees the freedom to practice one's religion.

The country has a secular culture that encourages acceptance of other religions and religious freedom. With regards to the freedom of Muslims, the Tunisian government has restricted the wearing of Islamic head scarves (hijab
Hijab
The word "hijab" or "'" refers to both the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general....

) in government offices and it discourages women from wearing them on public streets and public gatherings. The government believes the hijab is a "garment of foreign origin having a partisan connotation". There were reports that the Tunisian police harassed men with "Islamic" appearance (such as those with beards), detained them, and sometimes compelled men to shave their beards off. In 2006, the former Tunisian president declared that he would "fight" the hijab, which he refers to as "ethnic clothing".

Individual Tunisians are tolerant of religious freedom and generally do not inquire about a person's personal beliefs.
The majority of Tunisia's population (around 98%) are Muslims, while about 1% follow Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and the remaining 1% adhere to Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 or other religions.

Tunisia has a sizable Christian community of around 25,000 adherents, mainly Catholics (22,000) and to a lesser degree Protestants
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

. Judaism is the country's third largest religion with 1,500 members. One-third of the Jewish population lives in and around the capital. The remainder lives on the island of Djerba, with 39 synagogues, and where the Jewish community dates back 2,500 years.

Djerba
Djerba
Djerba , also transliterated as Jerba or Jarbah, is, at 514 km², the largest island of North Africa, located in the Gulf of Gabes, off the coast of Tunisia.-Description:...

, an island in the Gulf of Gabès
Gulf of Gabès
The Gulf of Gabès is a gulf on Tunisia's east coast in the Mediterranean Sea, off North Africa. The gulf roughly spans the coast from modern day the town of Mahrès in Sfax Gouvernorate to Djerba...

, is home to El Ghriba synagogue
El Ghriba synagogue
The ancient El Ghriba Synagogue, , also known as the Djerba Synagogue, is located on the Tunisian island of Djerba. It is situated in the Jewish village of Hara Seghira, , several kilometres southwest of Houmt Souk, the capital of Djerba.-History:The synagogue is the destination of an annual...

, which is one of the oldest synagogues in the world
Oldest synagogues in the world
The designation oldest synagogue in the world requires careful definition. Many very old synagogues have been discovered in archaeological digs. Some synagogues have been destroyed and rebuilt several times on the same site, so, while the site or congregation may be ancient, the building may be...

. Many Jews consider it a pilgrimage site, with celebrations taking place there once every year. In fact, Tunisia along with Morocco has been said to be the Arab countries most accepting of their Jewish populations.

Language


Modern Standard Arabic is the official language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

, but Tunisian Arabic
Tunisian Arabic
Tunisian Arabic is a Maghrebi dialect of the Arabic language, spoken by some 11 million people. It is usually known by its own speakers as Derja, which means dialect, to distinguish it from Standard Arabic, or as Tunsi, which means Tunisian...

 is the local vernacular and is considered Tunisia's native language. As is the case in the rest of the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

, a local variety of Arabic
Varieties of Arabic
The Arabic language is a Semitic language characterized by a wide number of linguistic varieties within its five regional forms. The largest divisions occur between the spoken languages of different regions. The Arabic of North Africa, for example, is often incomprehensible to an Arabic speaker...

 is used by the public. Tunisian Arabic is closely related to the Maltese language
Maltese language
Maltese is the national language of Malta, and a co-official language of the country alongside English,while also serving as an official language of the European Union, the only Semitic language so distinguished. Maltese is descended from Siculo-Arabic...

. There is also a small minority of speakers of Shelha, a Berber language.

Due to the former French occupation, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 also plays a major role in the country, 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 in business. Most Tunisians are able to speak it. Due to Tunisia's proximity to Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and the large number of Italian Tunisians, Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 is understood and spoken by a small part of the Tunisian population.

Education


Education is given a high priority and accounts for 6% of 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
Tunisian Arabic
Tunisian Arabic is a Maghrebi dialect of the Arabic language, spoken by some 11 million people. It is usually known by its own speakers as Derja, which means dialect, to distinguish it from Standard Arabic, or as Tunsi, which means Tunisian...

 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.

Colleges and universities in Tunisia include:
  • École Polytechnique de Tunisie
  • International University of Tunis
  • Université Libre de Tunis
  • Université de l'Aviation et Technologie de Tunisie
  • Institut National d'Agronomie de Tunis
  • Université des Sciences de Tunis

Culture



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

Media


In practice, no public criticism of the Ben Ali regime was tolerated and all direct protest was severely suppressed and did not get reported in the local media. Tunisian journalists and human rights activists were harassed and faced surveillance and imprisonment under harsh conditions.

Several private radio stations have been established, including Mosaique FM, Shems FM
Shems FM
Shems FM is the fourth-launched private radio station in Tunisia. It was launched on September 27, 2010 by 12 p.m. local time and it is owned by Cyrine Ben Ali Mabrouk, the daughter of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali -the current president of Tunisia- and the wife of prominent businessman Marouen Mabrouk...

 and private television stations such as Hannibal TV
Hannibal-TV
Hannibal TV is a privately owned television network in Tunisia....

 and Nessma TV
Nessma TV
Nessma TV is a commercial TV channel, that has a range covering Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria Libya and Mauritania. Mediaset owns 25% of it. All programs broadcast on this channel have subtitles in French or Maghrebi Arabic. It broadcasts such programs like Maghreb version of Who Wants to Be a...

.

Sports




The most popular sport in Tunisia is football. The national football team
Tunisia national football team
The Tunisia national football team , nicknamed Les Aigles de Carthage , is the national team of Tunisia and is controlled by the Fédération Tunisienne de Football. They have qualified for four FIFA World Cups, the first one in 1978, but have yet to make it out of the first round...

, also known as "The Eagles of Carthage," won the 2004 African Cup of Nations (ACN), which was held in Tunisia. They also represented Africa in the 2005 FIFA Cup of Confederations
2005 FIFA Confederations Cup
-Group B:---------------------Knockout stage:-Semi-finals:-----Third place playoff:-Final:-Awards:-Goal scorers:5 goals Adriano4 goals Luciano Figueroa John Aloisi Michael Ballack...

, which was held in Germany, but they could not go beyond the first round. The Eagles of Carthage have participated in four World Cup Championships. The team's record in the World Cup is shown below:
Year in World Cup Result
1978 1st Round
1998 1st Round
2002 1st Round
2006 1st Round


The premier football league is the "Tunisian Ligue Professionnelle 1
Tunisian Ligue Professionnelle 1
The CLP-1 or "Championnat de la Ligue Professionnelle 1" is the top division of the Fédération Tunisienne de Football. It was created in 1921.-History:...

". The main clubs are Espérance Sportive de Tunis, Club Africain
Club Africain
The Club Africain , also known as CA or Al Nadi Al Ifriki, is a Tunisian omnisport club founded in 1920 in Tunis. Club Africain football section is best known for its section of football...

, Club Sportif Sfaxien
Club Sportif Sfaxien
Club Sportif Sfaxien is a multi-sport club from Sfax in Tunisia.-History:The club was founded in 1928 as Club Tunisien, playing in green and red stripes. The team was promoted to the Tunisian First Division in 1947...

 and Étoile Sportive du Sahel
Étoile Sportive du Sahel
The Étoile Sportive du Sahel is a sports club from Sousse in the Sahel region of Tunisia, known primarily for its football team. The club also has sections for handball, volleyball, basketball, judo and wrestling...

. The latter team participated in the 2008 World Cup for Clubs and reached the semi-final match, in which it was eliminated by Boca Juniors
Boca Juniors
Club Atlético Boca Juniors is an Argentine sports club based in La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires. It is best known for its professional football team, which currently plays in the Primera División....

 from Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

.
The Tunisia national handball team
Tunisia national handball team
The Tunisian national handball team is the national handball team of Tunisia and is controlled by the Tunisian Handball Federation.The Tunisian handball League was founded in 1953...

 has participated in several handball world championships. In 2005 Tunisia came 4th. 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
Wissem Hmam
Wissem Hmam is a Tunisian handball player. He currently plays for the Tunisian national team, which reached the semifinals in the 2005 World Handball Championship in Tunisia. Hmam was ranked as top scorer in the 2005 World Championship, scoring a total of 81 goals.-References:...

. In the 2005 handball championship in Tunis
2005 World Men's Handball Championship
The 2005 World Championship for men in team handball was played in Tunisia between January 23 and February 6, 2005.The winner of the gold medal was Spain, Croatia took silver and France won the bronze.-Group A :-Group B :...

, Wisam Hmam was ranked as the top scorer of the tournament. The Tunisian national handball team won the African Cup 8 times, being the team dominating this competition. The Tunisians won the 2010 African Cup in Egypt by defeating the host country.

In boxing, Victor Perez
Victor Perez
Victor "Young" Perez was a Sephardic Jew born in French Tunisia, who became the World Flyweight Champion in 1931 and 1932. He was born to Khmaïssa Perez a household goods salesman and Khaïlou René Perez. He was raised along with his four siblings in Dar-El Berdgana, the Jewish quarter of Tunis...

 ("Young") was world champion in the flyweight weight class in 1931 and 1932.

In the 2008 Olympics, Tunisian Oussama Mellouli
Oussama Mellouli
Oussama "Ous" Mellouli is a Tunisian swimmer who competes in the freestyle and medley events. He currently is an African Record holder, and trains with the USA club based at the University of Southern California, where he went to school and swam, collegiately....

 won a gold medal in 1500 freestyle.

Festivals


  • Festival of Mediterranean guitar – Tunis (February)
  • Festival International of instrumental music – Tunis – (February)
  • Festival of Tunisian Music – Tunis (March)
  • Festival Matmata – Matmata (March)
  • A Capella international music festival – Tunis – (April)
  • Tozeur tradicional Festival of musical theatre – Tozeur – (April/ May)
  • Festival Oriljazz (April)
  • Festival "Tozeur, oriental, African" (April)
  • Festival international of spring- Sbeitla (April)
  • festival of Arabic poetry – Tozeur – (April)
  • Festival of Jazz in Carthage – Gammarth (April)
  • Coregrafic summit of dance in Carthage – Tunis (May)
  • Khamsa holidays & Dance – Tunis (June)
  • E-Fest festival of Music & electronic culture – Tunis (June)
  • International Festival of Jazz – Tabarka (June/ July)
  • Falconry Festival – Hauaria (June)
  • Festival of plastic arts – Mahres, Sfax (June/ August)
  • Festival International of traditional Arabic music – Jenduba (July)
  • Tabarka Jazz festival (مهرجان طبرقة للجاز) Kebili music- Tabarka (July)
  • International Festival of Music Symfonica de El-Jem – Nabel (July/ August)
  • International Festival of Dance in Hammamet – theatre y música – Hammamet (July/ August)
  • Yasmine Hammame tFestival – Hammamet (July)
  • Hourse Festival – Sidi Bouzid Meknassy (July)
  • Festival International of Carthage – Tunis (July/ August)
  • Festival International of Hammamet – Hammamet (July/ August)
  • Festival International of Susa – Susa – (July/ August)
  • Ulysse Festival – Djerba (July/ August)
  • Festival International of Testur Music Maluf Testour, Béja (July)
  • Festival International of Bizerte – Bizerta – (July/ August)
  • Festival International of Dugga – Dugga (July/ August)
  • Festival of Carthage Byrsa – art – Carthage – (July/ September)
  • Medina festival – dance & Music – Tunis – (August/ September)
  • Marsa by night- Marsa, Tunis (August/ September)
  • Musical October Festival of Carthage – Tunis – (October)
  • Musiqat, International Festival of music – Bu Sidi Said (October)
  • Sahara Festival in Douz – Douz (November)
  • Oasis Festival – Tozeur (November)
  • Dance Techno House Festival, Music – Tunis (December)
  • International Festival of Sahara in Douz – Dance, theatre, music – Mahdia, Douz (December)
  • InternacionalFestival Tozeur Oasis (المهرجان الدولي للواحات بتوزر) Dance, Music – Tozeur (December)
  • Techno House festival – Gammarth (December)
  • Dar Sebastian lyric art festival – music lyric (December)
  • Latin Caravan Festival – Tozeur (December)
  • subsaharian tradicional – Festival – Douz (December)
  • Festival of Medina – Tunis (Ramadan)
  • Festival laasida of Touza - Monastir (يوم المولد النبوي الشريف)


Affiliations


Tunisia is a member of the following organizations:
Organization Dates
United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

since 12 November 1956
Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

since 1958
Organisation of the Islamic Conference (now Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) since 1969
World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

since 29 March 1995
Mediterranean Dialogue group
Mediterranean Dialogue
The Mediterranean Dialogue, first launched in 1994, is a forum of cooperation between NATO and seven countries of the Mediterranean. Its stated aim is "to create good relations and better mutual understanding and confidence throughout the region, promoting regional security and stability and...

since February 1995


External links