country in North Africa

Tunisia,[a] officially the Republic of Tunisia,[b][19] is a country in the Arab Maghreb in North Africa. Tunis is its capital.

Republic of Tunisia
  • الجمهورية التونسية (Arabic)
    al-Jumhūrīyah at-Tūnisīyah
  • République tunisienne (French)
Coat of arms of Tunisia
Coat of arms
Motto: حرية، كرامة، عدالة، نظام
"Ḥurrīyah, Karāma, 'Adālah, Niẓām"
"Freedom, Dignity, Justice, Order"[1]
Anthem: حماة الحمى
"Humat al-Hima"
(English: "Defenders of the Homeland")
Location of Tunisia in northern Africa
Location of Tunisia in northern Africa
and largest city
36°49′N 10°11′E / 36.817°N 10.183°E / 36.817; 10.183
Official languagesArabic[2]
Spoken languages
Ethnic groups
Arab-Berber 98%, European 1%, Jewish and other 1% [8][9]
Islam (official)[10]
GovernmentUnitary semi-presidential republic[11][12]
• President
Kais Saied
Ahmed Hachani
Ibrahim Bouderbala
LegislatureAssembly of the Representatives of the People
• Ancient Carthage inaugurated
814 BC
• Vandal Kingdom inaugurated
• Aghlabids inaugurated
• Fatimid Caliphate inaugurated
• Zirid dynasty inaugurated
• Hafsid dynasty inaugurated
• Husainid Dynasty inaugurated
15 July 1705
• Independence from France
20 March 1956
25 July 1957
7 November 1987
14 January 2011
10 February 2014
• Total
163,610 km2 (63,170 sq mi) (91st)
• Water (%)
• 2020 estimate
11,708,370[13] (81st)
• Density
71.65/km2 (185.6/sq mi) (110th)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
• Total
Increase $159.707 billion[14]
• Per capita
Increase $13,417[14]
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
• Total
Increase $44.192 billion[14]
• Per capita
Increase $3,713[14]
Gini (2017)35.8[15]
HDI (2019)Increase 0.740[16]
high · 95th
CurrencyTunisian dinar (TND)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
Driving sideright
Calling code+216
ISO 3166 codeTN
Internet TLD

Ancient history change

Since history has been recorded, there were Berber tribes living in what is now Tunisia. Most of them built little towns and ports along the coastline so they could trade with different travelers from everywhere in the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the travelers were Phoenicians who started to settle on the Tunisian coast during the 10th Century BC. Later, in the 8th Century BC, settlers that came from Phoenicia and regions abroad built Carthage. After many wars against Greece in 6th Century BC, Carthage dominated the Mediterranean Sea.

In the of the 2nc Century BC, Punic Wars, Carthage fought against the Roman Empire. The Romans destroyed Carthage and made its territory part of the Africa Province of the Roman Empire. In later centuries the people learned Latin and became Christians.

When the Roman Empire became weak, the Vandals occupied that region. Some of them learned to sail and became pirates. This was in the 5th Century AD, and one hundred years after that, it became under the control of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I.

Islamic Tunisia change

In the 7th Century, it was conquered by the Arab Muslims who built a city which they called Kairouan. This was the first Arab Muslim city in Tunisia. Many Muslim dynasties (monarchies) ruled Tunisia. One of the best known dynasties was the Zirids dynasty. The Zirids were Berber people and followed the rules of the Fatimides, a bigger dynasty in Cairo. When the Zirids angered the Fatimides, the Fatimides sent some tribes known as Banu Hilal who ravaged (destroyed and vandalized) Tunisia.

After a brief occupation of Tunisia by the Normans of Sicily in the 12th Century, the Almohad re-conquered it. After that came the Hafsids. In the last years of their reign, the Hafsids became weak and Spain took control of many cities on the coast until they were finally occupied by the Ottoman Empire.

In 1705, Tunisia became virtually independent during the Hussein dynasty, but still had to follow orders from the Ottoman Empire.

French Occupation change

Some controversial financial decisions (money-lending) taken by the Bey in mid-1800s in an attempt to repair the country led Tunisia to become under the control of France. Tunisia became officially a French protectorate in on May 12, 1881, but with the strong opposition of the kingdom of Italy because there was a huge Italian community in Tunisia.[20]

World War II change

Important parts of the North African Campaign of World War II were fought in Tunisia from 1941 to 1943.

General Erwin Rommel, the German commander in Africa, wished to defeat the Allies in Tunisia, as the Germans had done in the Battle of France when the Allies were inexperienced against the German Blitzkrieg. On February 19, 1943, Rommel launched an attack against the U.S. Forces, with his German and Italian troops, in the western area of Tunisia. That was a disaster for the United States.

After that, the Allies understood the importance of tank warfare. With better supplies than the Germans, they easily broke into the German lines in southern Tunisia on March 20, 1943. On May 11, 1943 the last German troops surrendered, followed two days later by the Italian troops.

Independence and revolution change

Tunisia became independent in 1956 with the former Bey of Tunis as King. Prime Minister Habib Bourguiba became the first president in 1957 when it became a republic. Bourguiba focused on education and economic development. He was supportive of women's rights. However, he had a cult of personality around him and most of the power in the country was held by Bourguiba.

In 1987, Bourguiba was removed from power by Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. Ben Ali ruled as dictator of the country until 2011, when he was overthrown in a revolution. The revolution was the first major revolution of the Arab Spring. Tunisia began becoming more democratic, and in 2014, the country held its first free presidential election. The election was won by Beji Caid Essebsi, a secular, liberal candidate.

Geography change

Tunisia is in the northern part of Africa. The Mediterranean Sea joins Tunisia in the north and east; the coastline of Tunisia on the Mediterranean Sea is about 1,300 km. Tunisia is also bordered by Algeria to the west and Libya to the south-east.

The Sahara Desert covers 40% of Tunisia. The other 60% is a fertile area.

Demographics change

Standard Arabic is the official language by the Tunisian constitution. But Tunisians speak Tunisian Arabic. Tunisian Arabic is a mix of many languages of people that live or lived in Tunisia. It is called Darija or Tunsi.

A small number of people living in Tunisia still speak a Berber dialect, known as Shelha.

Most people now living Tunisia are Maghrebin Arab. However, small groups of Berbers and Jews live in Tunisia.

The constitution says that Islam is the official state religion. It also requires the President to be Muslim.

Governorates change

Governorates of Tunisia

Tunisia is divided into 24 governorates. They are:

  1. Ariana
  2. Béja
  3. Ben Arous
  4. Bizerte
  5. Gabès
  6. Gafsa
  7. Jendouba
  8. Kairouan
  9. Kasserine
  10. Kebili
  11. Kef
  12. Mahdia
  1. Manouba
  2. Medenine
  3. Monastir
  4. Nabeul
  5. Sfax
  6. Sidi Bouzid
  7. Siliana
  8. Sousse
  9. Tataouine
  10. Tozeur
  11. Tunis
  12. Zaghouan

Cities change

Tunis, Capital of Tunisia
Sfax City Centre

The largest cities in Tunisia are:

Nr. City Population Governatorate
983,861 [21]
855,256 [22]
546,209 [23]
544,413 [24]
Ettadhamen [25]
422,246 [26]
Aryanah [25]
El Mourouj [25]
Ben Arous

Economy change

Tunisia's economy has many sectors: agriculture (fruit, vegetable oil and vegetables), tourism (when people come from other countries to visit), mining (extracting goods from under the ground), and petroleum (fuel and gas oil). The government used to control the economy, but now it has sold some public companies. This is called privatization.

Tunisia was also the first Mediterranean country to make an agreement with the European Union. This association agreement was signed on March 1, 1995.

Tunisia has plans for two nuclear power stations, to be working by 2019.

References change

  1. "Tunisia Constitution, Article 4" (PDF). 26 January 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  2. "Tunisian Constitution, Article 1" (PDF). 26 January 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014. Translation by the University of Bern: "Tunisia is a free State, independent and sovereign; its religion is the Islam, its language is Arabic, and its form is the Republic."
  3. Arabic, Tunisian Spoken. Ethnologue (19 February 1999). Retrieved on 5 September 2015.
  4. "Tamazight language". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 4 January 2021. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  5. "Nawaat – Interview avec l' Association Tunisienne de Culture Amazighe". Nawaat.
  6. Gabsi, Z. (2003). An outline of the Shilha (Berber) vernacular of Douiret (Southern Tunisia). PhD Thesis, Western Sydney University.
  7. "Tunisian Amazigh and the Fight for Recognition – Tunisialive". Tunisialive. Archived from the original on 18 October 2011.
  8. Fadhlaoui-Zid, Karima; Martinez-Cruz, Begoña; Khodjet-el-khil, Houssein; Mendizabal, Isabel; Benammar-Elgaaied, Amel; Comas, David (October 2011). "Genetic structure of Tunisian ethnic groups revealed by paternal lineages". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 146 (2): 271–280. doi:10.1002/ajpa.21581. PMID 21915847.
  9. "Tunisia" (PDF). International Religious Freedom Report for 2011, United States Department of State – Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor.
  10. "The Constitution of the Tunisian Republic" (PDF). constitutionnet.org. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  11. Frosini, Justin; Biagi, Francesco (2014). Political and Constitutional Transitions in North Africa: Actors and Factors. Routledge. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-317-59745-2.
  12. Choudhry, Sujit; Stacey, Richard (2014) "Semi-presidential government in Tunisia and Egypt" Archived 2016-02-02 at the Wayback Machine. International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  13. "National Institute of Statistics-Tunisia". National Institute of Statistics-Tunisia. Archived from the original on 28 November 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 "Tunisia". International Monetary Fund.
  15. "GINI index". World Bank. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  16. Human Development Report 2020 The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. 15 December 2020. pp. 343–346. ISBN 978-92-1-126442-5. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  17. "Report on the Delegation of تونس". Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. 2010. Archived from the original on 31 May 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
  18. Wells, John C. (2008), Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.), Longman, ISBN 9781405881180
  19. "Portal of the Presidency of the Government- Tunisia: government, administration, civil service, public services, regulations and legislation". Pm.gov.tn. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  20. Italians in Tunisia & Maghreb
  21. 3,980,500 in the metropolitan area
  22. "Mongabay.com, population of Sfax". Archived from the original on 28 January 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
  23. "Mongabay.com, population of Kairouan". Archived from the original on 28 January 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
  24. "Mongabay.com, population of Sousse". Archived from the original on 3 January 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 Part of Tunis metropolitan area
  26. "FITA, population of At Tadaman". Archived from the original on 26 December 2010. Retrieved 9 October 2009.


  1. Pronunciation: UK: /tjˈnɪziə, -ˈnɪs-/, US: /-ˈnʒə, -ˈnʃə, -ˈnɪʒə, -ˈnɪʃə/;[18] Arabic: تونس  Tūnis; Berber: Tunest, ; French: Tunisie.
  2. Arabic: الجمهورية التونسية  al-Jumhūrīya at-Tūnisīya; French: République tunisienne)

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