Tunisia[a] (officially the Republic of Tunisia)[b] is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa, covering 165,000 square kilometres (64,000 square miles). Its northernmost point, Cape Angela, is the northernmost point on the African continent. It is bordered by Algeria to the west and southwest, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Tunisia's population was 11.435 million in 2017.[12] Tunisia's name is derived from its capital city, Tunis, which is located on its northeast coast.

Geographically, Tunisia contains the eastern end of the Atlas Mountains, and the northern reaches of the Sahara desert. Much of the rest of the country's land is fertile soil. Its 1,300 kilometres (810 miles) of coastline include the African conjunction of the western and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Basin and, by means of the Sicilian Strait and Sardinian Channel, feature the African mainland's second and third nearest points to Europe after Gibraltar.

Tunisia is a unitary semi-presidential representative democratic republic. It is considered to be the only fully democratic sovereign state in the Arab world.[19][20] It has a high human development index.[15] It has an association agreement with the European Union; is a member of La Francophonie, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the Arab Maghreb Union, the Arab League, the OIC, the Greater Arab Free Trade Area, the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, the African Union, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Group of 77; and has obtained the status of major non-NATO ally of the United States. In addition, Tunisia is also a member state of the United Nations and a state party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Close relations with Europe – in particular with France[21] and with Italy[22][23] – have been forged through economic cooperation, privatisation and industrial modernization.

In ancient times, Tunisia was primarily inhabited by Berbers. Phoenician immigration began in the 12th century BC; these immigrants founded Carthage. A major mercantile power and a military rival of the Roman Republic, Carthage was defeated by the Romans in 146 BC. The Romans, who would occupy Tunisia for most of the next eight hundred years, introduced Christianity and left architectural legacies like the El Djem amphitheater. After several attempts starting in 647, the Muslims conquered the whole of Tunisia by 697, followed by the Ottoman Empire between 1534 and 1574. The Ottomans held sway for over three hundred years. The French colonization of Tunisia occurred in 1881. Tunisia gained independence with Habib Bourguiba and declared the Tunisian Republic in 1957. In 2011, the Tunisian Revolution resulted in the overthrow of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, followed by parliamentary elections. The country voted for parliament again on 26 October 2014,[24] and for President on 23 November 2014.[25]

Republic of Tunisia

الجمهورية التونسية (Arabic)
al-Jumhūrīyah at-Tūnisīyah
République Tunisienne  (French)
Motto: حرية، كرامة، عدالة، نظام
"Ḥurrīyah, Karāma, 'Adālah, Niẓām"
"freedom, dignity, justice, and order"[1]
Anthem: حماة الحمى
Humat al-Hima
Defenders of the Homeland
Location of  Tunisia  (dark blue) in Africa  (light blue)
Location of  Tunisia  (dark blue)

in Africa  (light blue)

Location of Tunisia
and largest city
36°49′N 10°11′E / 36.817°N 10.183°E
Official languagesArabic[2]
Spoken languages
Ethnic groups
Arab-Berber 98%, European 1%, Jewish and other 1%[8]
Islam (state religion, 99% Sunni), 1% Jews, Christians and others [9]
GovernmentUnitary semi-presidential republic[10][11]
• President
Beji Caid Essebsi
Youssef Chahed
LegislatureAssembly of the Representatives of the People
814 BC
666–670 AD
• Husainid Dynasty inaugurated
15 July 1705
• Independence from France
20 March 1956
25 July 1957
14 January 2011
• Total
163,610 km2 (63,170 sq mi) (91st)
• Water (%)
• 2017 estimate
11,434,994[12] (79th)
• Density
63/km2 (163.2/sq mi) (133rd)
GDP (PPP)2018 estimate
• Total
$144.222 billion[13]
• Per capita
GDP (nominal)2018 estimate
• Total
$41.662 billion[13]
• Per capita
Gini (2017)35.8[14]
HDI (2017)Increase 0.735[15]
high · 95th
CurrencyTunisian dinar (TND)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
Driving sideright
Calling code+216
ISO 3166 codeTN
Internet TLD


The word Tunisia is derived from Tunis; a central urban hub and the capital of modern-day Tunisia. The present form of the name, with its Latinate suffix -ia, evolved from French Tunisie.,[26] in turn generally associated with the Berber root ⵜⵏⵙ, transcribed tns, which means "to lay down" or "encampment".[27] It is sometimes also associated with the Punic goddess Tanith (aka Tunit),[26][28] ancient city of Tynes.[29][30]

The French derivative Tunisie 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 Туни́с (Tunís) and Spanish Túnez. In this case, the same name is used for both country and city, as with the Arabic تونس‎, and only by context can one tell the difference.[26]

Before Tunisia, the territory's name was Ifriqiya or Africa, which gave the present-day name of the continent Africa.



Farming methods reached the Nile Valley from the Fertile Crescent region about 5000 BC, and spread to the Maghreb by about 4000 BC. Agricultural communities in the humid coastal plains of central Tunisia then were ancestors of today's Berber tribes.

It was believed in ancient times that Africa was originally populated by Gaetulians and Libyans, both nomadic peoples. According to the Roman historian Sallust, 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 intermarried with the Gaetulians and became the Numidians. The Medes settled and were known as Mauri, later Moors.[31]

Carthage Holdings
Carthaginian-held territory before the first First Punic War

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.[32][33][34][35][36]

At the beginning of recorded history, Tunisia was inhabited by Berber tribes. Its coast was settled by Phoenicians starting as early as the 12th century BC (Bizerte, Utica). The city of Carthage was founded in the 9th century BC by Phoenicians. Legend says that Dido from Tyre, now in modern-day Lebanon, founded the city in 814 BC, as retold by the Greek writer Timaeus of Tauromenium. The settlers of Carthage brought their culture and religion from Phoenicia, now present-day Lebanon and adjacent areas.[37]

After the series of wars with Greek city-states of Sicily in the 5th century BC, Carthage rose to power and eventually became the dominant civilization in the Western Mediterranean. The people of Carthage worshipped a pantheon of Middle Eastern gods including Baal and Tanit. Tanit's symbol, a simple female figure with extended arms and long dress, is a popular icon found in ancient sites. The founders of Carthage also established a Tophet, which was altered in Roman times.

A Carthaginian invasion of Italy led by Hannibal during the Second Punic War, one of a series of wars with Rome, 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.[38]

Following the Battle of Carthage which began in 149 BC during the Third Punic War, Carthage was conquered by Rome in 146 BC.[39] Following its conquest, the Romans renamed Carthage to Africa, incorporating it as a province.

Archaeological Site of Carthage-130238
Ruins of Carthage

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, according to one estimate, produced one million tons of cereals each year, one-quarter of which was exported to the Empire. Additional crops included beans, figs, grapes, and other fruits.

By the 2nd century, olive oil rivaled cereals as an export item. In addition to the cultivations and the capture and transporting of exotic wild animals from the western mountains, the principal production and exports included the textiles, marble, wine, timber, livestock, pottery such as African Red Slip, and wool.

Amphitheatre El Jem(js)1
The Roman amphitheater in El Djem, built during the first half of the 3rd century AD

There was even a huge production of mosaics and ceramics, exported mainly to Italy, in the central area of El Djem (where there was the second biggest amphitheater in the Roman Empire).

Berber bishop Donatus Magnus was the founder of a Christian group known as the Donatists.[40] During the 5th and 6th centuries (from 430 to 533 AD), the Germanic Vandals invaded and ruled over a kingdom in Northwest Africa that included present-day Tripoli. The region was easily reconquered in 533–534 AD, during the rule of Emperor Justinian I, by the Eastern Romans led by General Belisarius.[41]

Middle Ages

Great Mosque of Kairouan, flat roof and domes
Domes of the Great Mosque of Kairouan. Founded in 670, it dates in its present form largely from the Aghlabid period (9th century). It is the oldest mosque in the Maghreb.

Sometime between the second half of the 7th century and the early part of the 8th century, Arab Muslim conquest occurred in the region. They founded the first Islamic city in Northwest Africa, Kairouan. It was there in 670 AD that the Mosque of Uqba, or the Great Mosque of Kairouan, was constructed.[42] This mosque is the oldest and most prestigious sanctuary in the Muslim West with the oldest standing minaret in the world;[43] it is also considered a masterpiece of Islamic art and architecture.[44]

Tunis was taken in 695, re-taken by the Byzantine Eastern Romans in 697, but lost finally in 698. The transition from a Latin-speaking Christian Berber society to a Muslim and mostly Arabic-speaking society took over 400 years (the equivalent process in Egypt and the Fertile Crescent took 600 years) and resulted in the final disappearance of Christianity and Latin in the 12th or 13th centuries. The majority of the population were not Muslim until quite late in the 9th century; a vast majority were during the 10th. Also, some Tunisian Christians emigrated; some richer members of society did so after the conquest in 698 and others were welcomed by Norman rulers to Sicily or Italy in the 11th and 12th centuries – the logical destination because of the 1200 year close connection between the two regions.[45]

The Arab governors of Tunis founded the Aghlabid Dynasty, which ruled Tunisia, Tripolitania and eastern Algeria from 800 to 909.[46] Tunisia flourished under Arab rule when extensive systems were constructed to supply towns with water for household use and irrigation that promoted agriculture (especially olive production).[46][47] This prosperity permitted luxurious court life and was marked by the construction of new palace cities such as al-Abassiya (809) and Raqadda (877).[46]

After conquering Cairo, the Fatimids abandoned Tunisia and parts of Eastern Algeria to the local Zirids (972–1148).[48] Zirid Tunisia flourished in many areas: agriculture, industry, trade, and religious and secular learning.[49] Management by the later Zirid emirs was neglectful though, and political instability was connected to the decline of Tunisian trade and agriculture.[46][50][51]

The depredation of the Tunisian campaigns by the Banu Hilal, a warlike Arab Bedouin tribe encouraged by the Fatimids of Egypt to seize Northwest Africa, sent the region's rural and urban economic life into further decline.[48] Consequently, the region underwent rapid urbanisation as famines depopulated the countryside and industry shifted from agriculture to manufactures.[52] The Arab historian Ibn Khaldun wrote that the lands ravaged by Banu Hilal invaders had become completely arid desert.[50][53]

The main Tunisian cities were conquered by the Normans of Sicily under the Kingdom of Africa in the 12th century, but following the conquest of Tunisia in 1159–1160 by the Almohads the Normans were evacuated to Sicily. Communities of Tunisian Christians would still exist in Tunisia up to the 14th century. The Almohads initially ruled over Tunisia through a governor, usually a near relative of the Caliph. Despite the prestige of the new masters, the country was still unruly, with continuous rioting and fighting between the townsfolk and wandering Arabs and Turks, the latter being subjects of the Muslim Armenian adventurer Karakush. Also, Tunisia was occupied by Ayyubids between 1182 and 1183 and again between 1184 and 1187.[54]

The greatest threat to Almohad rule in Tunisia was the Banu Ghaniya, relatives of the Almoravids, who from their base in Mallorca tried to restore Almoravid rule over the Maghreb. Around 1200 they succeeded in extending their rule over the whole of Tunisia until they were crushed by Almohad troops in 1207. After this success, the Almohads installed Walid Abu Hafs as the governor of Tunisia. Tunisia remained part of the Almohad state, until 1230 when the son of Abu Hafs declared himself independent. During the reign of the Hafsid dynasty, fruitful commercial relationships were established with several Christian Mediterranean states.[55] In the late 16th century the coast became a pirate stronghold (see: Barbary States).

Ottoman Tunisia

In the last years of the Hafsid dynasty, Spain seized many of the coastal cities, but these were recovered by the Ottoman Empire.

Siège de Tunis 1535
Conquest of Tunis by Charles V and liberation of Christian galley slaves in 1535

The first Ottoman conquest of Tunis took place in 1534 under the command of Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha, the younger brother of Oruç Reis, who was the Kapudan Pasha of the Ottoman Fleet during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. However, it wasn't until the final Ottoman reconquest of Tunis from Spain in 1574 under Kapudan Pasha Uluç Ali Reis that the Ottomans permanently acquired the former Hafsid Tunisia, retaining it until the French conquest of Tunisia in 1881.

Initially under Turkish rule from Algiers, soon the Ottoman Porte appointed directly for Tunis a governor called the Pasha supported by janissary forces. Before long, however, Tunisia became in effect an autonomous province, under the local Bey. Under its Turkish governors, the Beys, Tunisia attained virtual independence. The Hussein dynasty of Beys, established in 1705, lasted until 1957.[56] This evolution of status was from time to time challenged without success by Algiers. During this era the governing councils controlling Tunisia remained largely composed of a foreign elite who continued to conduct state business in the Turkish language.

Attacks on European shipping were made by corsairs, primarily from Algiers, but also from Tunis and Tripoli, yet after a long period of declining raids the growing power of the European states finally forced its termination. Under the Ottoman Empire, the boundaries of Tunisia contracted; it lost territory to the west (Constantine) and to the east (Tripoli).

Great epidemics ravaged Tunisia in 1784–1785, 1796–1797 and 1818–1820.[57]

In the 19th century, the rulers of Tunisia became aware of the ongoing efforts at political and social reform in the Ottoman capital. The Bey of Tunis then, by his own lights but informed by the Turkish example, attempted to effect a modernizing reform of institutions and the economy.[58] Tunisian international debt grew unmanageable. This was the reason or pretext for French forces to establish a protectorate in 1881.

French Tunisia (1881–1956)

A Churchill tank and other vehicles parade through Tunis, 8 May 1943. NA2880
British tank moves through Tunis during the liberation, 8 May 1943

In 1869, Tunisia declared itself bankrupt and an international financial commission took control over its economy. In 1881, using the pretext of a Tunisian incursion into Algeria, the French invaded with an army of about 36,000 and forced the Bey to agree to the terms of the 1881 Treaty of Bardo (Al Qasr as Sa'id).[59] With this treaty, Tunisia was officially made a French protectorate, over the objections of Italy. Under French colonization, European settlements in the country were actively encouraged; the number of French colonists grew from 34,000 in 1906 to 144,000 in 1945. In 1910 there were 105,000 Italians in Tunisia.[60]

During World War II, French Tunisia was ruled by the collaborationist Vichy government located in Metropolitan France. The antisemitic Statute on Jews enacted by the Vichy was also implemented in Vichy Northwest Africa and overseas French territories. Thus, the persecution, and murder of the Jews from 1940 to 1943 was part of the Shoah in France.

From November 1942 until May 1943, Vichy Tunisia was occupied by Nazi Germany. SS Commander Walter Rauff continued to implement the Final Solution there. From 1942–1943, Tunisia was the scene of the Tunisia Campaign, a series of battles between the Axis and Allied forces. The battle opened with initial success by the German and Italian forces, but the massive supply and numerical superiority of the Allies led to the Axis surrender on 13 May 1943.[61][62]

Post-independence (1956–2011)

Tunisia achieved independence from France on March 20, 1956 with Habib Bourguiba as Prime Minister. March 20 is celebrated annually as Tunisian Independence Day.[63] A year later, Tunisia was declared a republic, with Bourguiba as the first President.[64] From independence in 1956 until the 2011 revolution, the government and the Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD), formerly Neo Destour and the Socialist Destourian Party, were effectively one. Following a report by Amnesty International, The Guardian called Tunisia "one of the most modern but repressive countries in the Arab world".[65]

In November 1987, doctors[66] declared Bourguiba unfit to rule and, in a bloodless coup d'état, Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali assumed the presidency[64] in accordance with Article 57 of the Tunisian constitution.[67] The anniversary of Ben Ali's succession, 7 November, was celebrated as a national holiday. He was consistently re-elected with enormous majorities every five years (well over 80 percent of the vote), the last being 25 October 2009,[68] until he fled the country amid popular unrest in January 2011.

Ben Ali and his family were accused of corruption[69] and plundering the country's money. Economic liberalisation provided further opportunities for financial mismanagement,[70] while corrupt members of the Trabelsi family, most notably in the cases of Imed Trabelsi and Belhassen Trabelsi, controlled much of the business sector in the country.[71] The First Lady Leila Ben Ali was described as an "unabashed shopaholic" who used the state airplane to make frequent unofficial trips to Europe's fashion capitals.[72] Tunisia refused a French request for the extradition of two of the President's nephews, from Leila's side, who were accused by the French State prosecutor of having stolen two mega-yachts from a French marina.[73] Ben Ali's son-in-law Sakher El Materi was rumoured as being primed to eventually take over the country.[74]

Independent human rights groups, such as Amnesty International, Freedom House, and Protection International, documented that basic human and political rights were not respected.[75][76] The regime obstructed in any way possible the work of local human rights organizations.[77] In 2008, in terms of Press freedom, Tunisia was ranked 143rd out of 173.[78]

Post-revolution (since 2011)

Tunisia Unrest - VOA - Tunis 14 Jan 2011 (2)
Tunis on 14 January 2011 during the Tunisian Revolution.

The Tunisian Revolution[79][80] was an intensive campaign of civil resistance that was precipitated by high unemployment, food inflation, corruption,[81] a lack of freedom of speech and other political freedoms[82] and poor living conditions. Labour unions were said to be an integral part of the protests.[83] The protests inspired the Arab Spring, a wave of similar actions throughout the Arab world.

The catalyst for mass demonstrations was the death of Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old Tunisian street vendor, who set himself afire on 17 December 2010 in protest at the confiscation of his wares and the humiliation inflicted on him by a municipal official named Faida Hamdy. Anger and violence intensified following Bouazizi's death on 4 January 2011, ultimately leading longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to resign and flee the country on 14 January 2011, after 23 years in power.[84]

Protests continued for banning of the ruling party and the eviction of all its members from the transitional government formed by Mohammed Ghannouchi. Eventually the new government gave in to the demands. A Tunis court banned the ex-ruling party RCD and confiscated all its resources. A decree by the minister of the interior banned the "political police", special forces which were used to intimidate and persecute political activists.[85]

On 3 March 2011, the president announced that elections to a Constituent Assembly would be held on 23 October 2011. International and internal observers declared the vote 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.[86] On 12 December 2011, former dissident and veteran human rights activist Moncef Marzouki was elected president.[87]

In March 2012, Ennahda declared it will not support making sharia the main source of legislation in the new constitution, maintaining the secular nature of the state. Ennahda's stance on the issue was criticized by hardline Islamists, who wanted strict sharia, but was welcomed by secular parties.[88] On 6 February 2013, Chokri Belaid, the leader of the leftist opposition and prominent critic of Ennahda, was assassinated.[89]

In 2014, President Moncef Marzouki established Tunisia's Truth and Dignity Commission, as a key part of creating a national reconciliation.[90]

Tunisia was hit by two terror attacks on foreign tourists in 2015, first killing 22 people at the Bardo National Museum, and later killing 38 people at the Sousse beachfront. Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi renewed the state of emergency in October for three more months.[91]

The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet won the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize for its work in building a peaceful, pluralistic political order in Tunisia.[92]


Tunisia map of Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification in Tunisia. The climate is Mediterranean towards the coast in the north, while most of the country is desert.
View of the central Tunisian plateau at Téboursouk

Tunisia is situated on the Mediterranean coast of Northwest Africa, midway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Nile Delta. It is bordered by Algeria on the west and southwest and Libya on the south east. It lies between latitudes 30° and 38°N, and longitudes and 12°E. An abrupt southward turn of the Mediterranean coast in northern Tunisia gives the country two distinctive Mediterranean coasts, west-east in the north, and north-south in the east.

Though it is relatively small in size, Tunisia has great environmental diversity due to its north-south extent. Its east-west extent is limited. Differences in Tunisia, like the rest of the Maghreb, are largely north-south environmental differences defined by sharply decreasing rainfall southward from any point. The Dorsal, the eastern extension of the Atlas Mountains, runs across Tunisia in a northeasterly direction from the Algerian border in the west to the Cape Bon peninsula in the east. North of the Dorsal is the Tell, a region characterized by low, rolling hills and plains, again an extension of mountains to the west in Algeria. In the Khroumerie, the northwestern corner of the Tunisian Tell, elevations reach 1,050 metres (3,440 ft) and snow occurs in winter.

The Sahel, a broadening coastal plain along Tunisia's eastern Mediterranean coast, is among the world's premier areas of olive cultivation. Inland from the Sahel, between the Dorsal and a range of hills south of Gafsa, are the Steppes. Much of the southern region is semi-arid and desert.

Tunisia has a coastline 1,148 kilometres (713 mi) long. In maritime terms, the country claims a contiguous zone of 24 nautical miles (44.4 km; 27.6 mi), and a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles (22.2 km; 13.8 mi).[93]


Tunisia's climate is Mediterranean in the north, with mild rainy winters and hot, dry summers.[94] The south of the country is desert. The terrain in the north is mountainous, which, moving south, gives way to a hot, dry central plain. The south is semiarid, and merges into the Sahara. A series of salt lakes, known as chotts or shatts, lie in an east-west line at the northern edge of the Sahara, extending from the Gulf of Gabes into Algeria. The lowest point is Chott el Djerid at 17 metres (56 ft) below sea level and the highest is Jebel ech Chambi at 1,544 metres (5,066 ft).[95]


Béji Caïd Essebsi 2015-05-20 PM Youssef Chahed
Beji Caid Essebsi
President since 2014
Youssef Chahed
Prime Minister since 2016

Tunisia is a representative democracy and a republic with a president serving as head of state, prime minister as head of government, a unicameral parliament, and a civil law court system. The Constitution of Tunisia, adopted 26 January 2014, guarantees rights for women and states that the President's religion "shall be Islam". In October 2014 Tunisia held its first elections under the new constitution following the Arab Spring.[97]

The number of legalized political parties in Tunisia has grown considerably since the revolution. There are now over 100 legal parties, including several that existed under the former regime. During the rule of Ben Ali, only three functioned as independent opposition parties: the PDP, FDTL, and Tajdid. While some older parties are well-established and can draw on previous party structures, many of the 100-plus parties extant as of February 2012 are small.[98]

Rare for the Arab world, women held more than 20% of seats in the country's pre-revolution bicameral parliament.[99] In the 2011 constituent assembly, women held between 24% and 31% of all seats.[100][101]

Tunisia is included in the European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which aims at bringing the EU and its neighbours closer. On 23 November 2014 Tunisia held its first Presidential Election following the Arab Spring in 2011.[102]

The Tunisian legal system is heavily influenced by French civil law, while the Law of Personal Status is based on Islamic law.[103] Sharia courts were abolished in 1956.[103]

A Code of Personal Status was adopted shortly after independence in 1956, which, among other things, gave women full legal status (allowing them to run and own businesses, have bank accounts, and seek passports under their own authority). The code outlawed the practices of polygamy and repudiation and a husband's right to unilaterally divorce his wife.[104] Further reforms in 1993 included a provision to allow Tunisian women to transmit citizenship even if they are married to a foreigner and living abroad.[105] The Law of Personal Status is applied to all Tunisians regardless of their religion.[103] The Code of Personal Status remains one of the most progressive civil codes in North Africa and the Muslim world.[106]

Human rights

After the revolution, a number of Salafist groups emerged and in some occasions have violently repressed artistic expression that is viewed to be hostile to Islam.[107]

Since the revolution, some non-governmental organizations have reconstituted themselves and hundreds of new ones have emerged. For instance, the Tunisian Human Rights League, the first human rights organization in Africa and the Arab world, operated under restrictions and state intrusion for over half of its existence, but is now free to operate. Some independent organizations, such as the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women, the Association of Tunisian Women for Research and Development, and the Bar Association also remain active.[98]

Homosexuality is illegal in Tunisia and can be punished by up to three years in prison.[108] On 7 December 2016, two Tunisian men were arrested on suspicion of homosexual activity in Sousse.[109] According to 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, 94% of Tunisians believe that homosexuality should not be accepted by society.[110]

The Tunisian regime has been criticised for its policy on recreational drug use, for instance automatic 1-year prison sentences for consuming cannabis. Prisons are crowded and drug offenders represent nearly a third of the prison population.[111]

In 2017, Tunisia became the first Arab country to outlaw domestic violence against women, which was previously not a crime.[112] Also, the law allowing rapists to escape punishment by marrying the victim was abolished.[112] According to Human Rights Watch, 47% of Tunisian women have been subject to domestic violence.[113][114]


Defense.gov News Photo 060403-F-4883S-096
Tunisian Armed Forces

As of 2008, Tunisia had an army of 27,000 personnel equipped with 84 main battle tanks and 48 light tanks. The navy had 4,800 personnel operating 25 patrol boats and 6 other craft. The Tunisian Air Force has 154 aircraft and 4 UAVs. Paramilitary forces consisted of a 12,000-member national guard.[115] Tunisia's military spending was 1.6% of GDP as of 2006. The army is responsible for national defence and also internal security. Tunisia has participated in peacekeeping efforts in the DROC and Ethiopia/Eritrea.[116] United Nations peacekeeping deployments for the Tunisian armed forces have been in Cambodia (UNTAC), Namibia (UNTAG), Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Western Sahara (MINURSO) and the 1960s mission in the Congo, ONUC.

The military has historically played a professional, apolitical role in defending the country from external threats. Since January 2011 and at the direction of the executive branch, the military has taken on increasing responsibility for domestic security and humanitarian crisis response.[98]

Administrative divisions

Medium map tunisia

Tunisia is subdivided into 24 governorates (Wilaya), which are further divided into 264 "delegations" or "districts" (mutamadiyat), and further subdivided into municipalities (baladiyats)[117] and sectors (imadats).[118]


Tunisia Export Treemap
A proportional representation of Tunisia's exports.

Tunisia is an export-oriented country in the process of liberalizing and privatizing an economy that, while averaging 5% GDP growth since the early 1990s, has suffered from corruption benefiting politically connected elites.[119] Tunisia's Penal Code criminalises several forms of corruption, including active and passive bribery, abuse of office, extortion and conflicts of interest, but the anti-corruption framework is not effectively enforced.[120] However, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index published annually by Transparency International, Tunisia was ranked the least corrupt North-African-country in 2016, with a score of 41. Tunisia has a diverse economy, ranging from agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and petroleum products, to tourism. In 2008 it had a GDP of US$41 billion (official exchange rates), or $82 billion (purchasing power parity).[8]

The agricultural sector accounts for 11.6% of the GDP, industry 25.7%, and services 62.8%. The industrial sector is mainly made up of clothing and footwear manufacturing, production of car parts, and electric machinery. Although Tunisia managed an average 5% growth over the last decade it continues to suffer from a high unemployment especially among youth.

Tunisia was in 2009 ranked the most competitive economy in Africa and the 40th in the world by the World Economic Forum.[121] Tunisia has managed to attract many international companies such as Airbus[122] and Hewlett-Packard.[123]

Tourism accounted for 7% of GDP and 370,000 jobs in 2009.[124]

The European Union remains Tunisia's first trading partner, currently accounting for 72.5% of Tunisian imports and 75% of Tunisian exports. Tunisia is one of the European Union's most established trading partners in the Mediterranean region and ranks as the EU's 30th largest trading partner. Tunisia was the first Mediterranean country to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union, in July 1995, although even before the date of entry came into force, Tunisia started dismantling tariffs on bilateral EU trade. Tunisia finalised the tariffs dismantling for industrial products in 2008 and therefore was the first non-EU Mediterranean country to enter in a free trade area with EU.[125]

Tunis Sports City is 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.[126] The Tunis Financial harbour will deliver North Africa's first offshore financial centre at Tunis Bay in a project with an end development value of US$3 billion.[127] The Tunis Telecom City is a US$3 billion project to create an IT hub in Tunis.[128]

Tunisia Economic City is a city being constructed near Tunis in Enfidha. The city will consist of residential, medical, financial, industrial, entertainment and touristic buildings as well as a port zone for a total cost of US$80 Billion. The project is financed by Tunisian and foreign enterprises.[129]

On 29 and 30 November 2016, Tunisia held an investment conference Tunisia2020 to attract $30 billion in investment projects.[130]


Sidi Bou Said 09
Sidi Bou Said: a major tourist destination
Dougga Thugga-130243
The front of the capitol at ruins of Dougga, another tourist destination, qualified as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.

Among Tunisia's tourist attractions are its cosmopolitan capital city of Tunis, the ancient ruins of Carthage, the Muslim and Jewish quarters of Jerba, and coastal resorts outside of Monastir. According to The New York Times, Tunisia is "known for its golden beaches, sunny weather and affordable luxuries". [131]


Sources of electricity production in Tunisia[132]

  Thermal steam (44%)
  Combined Cycle (43%)
  Gas turbine (11%)
  Wind, Hydroelectric, Solar (2%)

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.[133]

Oil production of Tunisia is about 97,600 barrels per day (15,520 m3/d). The main field is El Bourma.[134]

Oil production began in 1966 in Tunisia. Currently there are 12 oil fields.[135]

Tunisia had 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.[136][137] As of 2015, Tunisia has abandoned these plans. Instead, Tunisia is considering other options to diversify its energy mix, such as renewable energies, coal, shale gas, liquified natural gas and constructing a submarine power interconnection with Italy.[138]

According to the Tunisian Solar Plan (which is Tunisia's Renewable Energy Strategy not limited to solar, contrary to what its title may suggest, proposed by the National Agency for Energy Conservation), Tunisia's objective is to reach a share of 30% of renewable energies in the electricity mix by 2030, most of which should be accounted for by wind power and photovoltaics.[139] As of 2015, Tunisia had a total renewable capacity of 312 MW (245 MW wind, 62 MW hydropower, 15 MW photovoltaics.)[140][141]


The country maintains 19,232 kilometres (11,950 mi) of roads,[8] with three highways: the A1 from Tunis to Sfax (works ongoing for Sfax-Libya), A3 Tunis-Beja (works ongoing Beja – Boussalem, studies ongoing Boussalem – Algeria) and A4 Tunis – Bizerte. There are 29 airports in Tunisia, with Tunis Carthage International Airport and Djerba–Zarzis International Airport being the most important ones. A new airport, Enfidha – Hammamet International Airport opened in 2011. The airport is located north of Sousse at Enfidha and is to mainly serve the resorts of Hamammet and Port El Kantaoui, together with inland cities such as Kairouan. Five airlines are headquartered in Tunisia: Tunisair, Syphax airlines, Karthago Airlines, Nouvelair, and Tunisair Express. The railway network is operated by SNCFT and amounts to 2,135 kilometres (1,327 mi) in total.[8] The Tunis area is served by a Light rail network named Metro Leger which is managed by Transtu.

Water supply and sanitation

Tunisia has achieved the highest access rates to water supply and sanitation services in the Middle East and North Africa. As of 2011, access to safe drinking water became close to universal approaching 100% in urban areas and 90% in rural areas.[142] Tunisia provides good quality drinking water throughout the year.[143]

Responsibility for the water supply systems in urban areas and large rural centres is assigned to the Sociéte Nationale d'Exploitation et de Distribution des Eaux (SONEDE), a national water supply authority that is an autonomous public entity under the Ministry of Agriculture. Planning, design and supervision of small and medium water supplies in the remaining rural areas are the responsibility of the Direction Générale du Génie Rurale (DGGR).

In 1974, ONAS was established to manage the sanitation sector. Since 1993, ONAS has had the status of a main operator for protection of water environment and combating pollution.

The rate of non-revenue water is the lowest in the region at 21% in 2012.[144]


Bevölkerungspyramide Tunesien 2016
Population pyramid
Arabs leaving mosque, Tunis, Tunisia-LCCN2001699400
Arabs leaving mosque in Tunis c. 1899
World Book Day in Tunisia 2012
Tunisian students

According to the CIA, as of 2017, Tunisia has a population of 11,403,800 inhabitants.[8] The government has supported a successful family planning program that has reduced the population growth rate to just over 1% per annum, contributing to Tunisia's economic and social stability.[98]

Ethnic groups

According to CIA The World Factbook, ethnic groups in Tunisia are: Arab 98%, European 1%, Jewish and other 1%.[8]

According to the 1956 Tunisian census, Tunisia had a population at the time of 3,783,000 residents, of which mainly Berbers and Arabs. The proportion of speakers of Berber dialects was at 2% of the population.[145] According to another source the population of Arabs is estimated to be <40%[146] to 98%,[8][147][148] and that of Berbers at 1%[149] to over 60%.[146]

Amazighs are concentrated in the Dahar mountains and on the island of Djerba in the south-east and in the Khroumire mountainous region in the north-west. That said, an important number of genetic and other historical studies point out to the predominance of the Amazighs in Tunisia. [150]

An Ottoman influence has been particularly significant in forming the Turco-Tunisian community. Other peoples have also migrated to Tunisia during different periods of time, including West Africans, Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians (Punics), Jews, and French settlers.[151] By 1870 the distinction between the Arabic-speaking mass and the Turkish elite had blurred.[152]

From the late 19th century to after World War II, Tunisia was home to large populations of French and Italians (255,000 Europeans in 1956),[153] although nearly all of them, along with the Jewish population, left after Tunisia became independent. The history of the Jews in Tunisia goes back some 2,000 years. In 1948 the Jewish population was an estimated 105,000, but by 2013 only about 900 remained.[154]

The first people known to history in what is now Tunisia were the Berbers. Numerous civilizations and peoples have invaded, migrated to, or have been assimilated into the population over the millennia, with influences of population from Phoenicians/Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, Spaniards, Ottoman Turks and Janissaries, and French. There was a continuing inflow of nomadic Arab tribes from Arabia.[48]

After the Reconquista and expulsion of non-Christians and Moriscos from Spain, many Spanish Muslims 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."[155]


Arabic is the official language, and Tunisian Arabic, known as Tounsi,[156] is the national, vernacular variety of Arabic and is used by the public.[157] There is also a small minority of speakers of Berber languages known collectively as Jebbali or Shelha.[158][159]

French also plays a major role in Tunisian society, despite having no official status. It is widely used in education (e.g., as the language of instruction in the sciences in secondary school), the press, and business. In 2010, there were 6,639,000 French-speakers in Tunisia, or about 64% of the population.[160] Italian is understood and spoken by a small part of the Tunisian population.[161] Shop signs, menus and road signs in Tunisia are generally written in both Arabic and French.[162]


The majority of Tunisia's population (around 98%) are Muslims while about 2% follow Christianity and Judaism or other religions.[8] The bulk of Tunisians belong to the Maliki School of Sunni Islam and their mosques are easily recognizable by square minarets. However, the Turks brought with them the teaching of the Hanafi School during the Ottoman rule, which still survives among the Turkish descended families today, and their mosques traditionally have octagonal minarets.[165] Sunnis form the majority with non-denominational Muslims being the second largest group of Muslims,[166] followed by Ibadite Amazighs.[167][168]

Tunisia has a sizable Christian community of around over 25,000 adherents, mainly Catholics (22,000) and to a lesser degree Protestants. Berber Christians continued to live in Tunisia up until the early 15th century.[169] International Religious Freedom Report for 2007 estimates thousands of Tunisian Muslims have converted to Christianity.[170][171] Judaism is the country's third largest religion with 900 members. One-third of the Jewish population lives in and around the capital. The remainder lives on the island of Djerba with 39 synagogues where the Jewish community dates back 2,500 years, on Sfax and Hammam-Lif.[172]

Djerba, an island in the Gulf of Gabès, is home to El Ghriba synagogue, which is one of the oldest synagogues in the world and the oldest uninterruptedly used. Many Jews consider it a pilgrimage site, with celebrations taking place there once every year due to its age and the legend that the synagogue was built using stones from Solomon's temple.[173] In fact, Tunisia along with Morocco has been said to be the Arab countries most accepting of their Jewish populations.[174]

The constitution declares Islam as the official state religion and requires the President to be Muslim. Aside from the president, Tunisians enjoy a significant degree of religious freedom, a right enshrined and protected in its constitution, which guarantees the freedom of thoughts, beliefs and to practice one's religion.[172]

The country has a secular culture where religion is separated from not only political, but in public life. During the pre-revolution era there were at some point restrictions in the wearing of Islamic head scarves (hijab) in government offices and on public streets and public gatherings. The government believed 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.[175]

In 2006, the former Tunisian president declared that he would "fight" the hijab, which he refers to as "ethnic clothing".[176] Mosques were restricted from holding communal prayers or classes. After the revolution however, a moderate Islamist government was elected leading to more freedom in the practice of religion. It has also made room for the rise of fundamentalist groups such as the Salafists, who call for a strict interpretation of Sharia law.[177] The fall in favour of the moderate Islamist government of Ennahdha was partly due to that, modern Tunisian governments intelligence objectives are to suppress fundamentalist groups before they can pass to act.

Individual Tunisians are tolerant of religious freedom and generally do not inquire about a person's personal beliefs.[172] Those who violate the rules of work and eating during the Islamic month of Ramadan may be arrested and jailed.[178]

In 2017 a handful of men were arrested for eating in public during Ramadan; they were convicted of committing “a provocative act of public indecency” and sentenced to month-long jail sentences. The state in Tunisia has a role as a "guardian of religion" which was used to justify the arrests.[179]


UIS Literacy Rate Tunisia population plus15 1985 2015
Literacy rate of Tunisia population, plus 15, 1985–2015 by UNESCO Institute of Statistics

The total adult literacy rate in 2008 was 78%[180] and this rate goes up to 97.3% when considering only people from 15 to 24 years old.[181] 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.[182]

While children generally acquire Tunisian Arabic at home, when they enter school at age 6, they are taught to read and write in Standard Arabic. From the age of 7, they are taught French while English is introduced at the age of 8.

The four years of secondary education are open to all holders of Diplôme de Fin d'Etudes de l'Enseignement de Base where the students focus on entering university level or join the workforce after completion. The Enseignement secondaire is divided into two stages: general academic and specialized. The higher education system in Tunisia has experienced a rapid expansion and the number of students has more than tripled over the past 10 years from approximately 102,000 in 1995 to 365,000 in 2005. The gross enrollment rate at the tertiary level in 2007 was 31 percent, with gender parity index of GER of 1.5.[182]


In 2010, spending on healthcare accounted for 3.37% of the country's GDP. In 2009, there were 12.02 physicians and 33.12 nurses per 10,000 inhabitants.[183] The life expectancy at birth was 75.73 years in 2016, or 73.72 years for males and 77.78 years for females.[184] Infant mortality in 2016 was 11.7 per 1,000.[185]


Cité de la culture, Tunis 27 décembre 2014
City of Culture in Tunis

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


Ariana par Catania
Tunisian painting

The birth of Tunisian contemporary painting is strongly linked to the School of Tunis, established by a group of artists from Tunisia united by the desire to incorporate native themes and rejecting the influence of Orientalist colonial painting. It was founded in 1949 and brings together French and Tunisian Muslims, Christians and Jews. Pierre Boucherle was its main instigator, along with Yahia Turki, Abdelaziz Gorgi, Moses Levy, Ammar Farhat, and Jules Lellouche. Given its doctrine, some members have therefore turned to the sources of aesthetic Arab-Muslim art: such as miniature Islamic architecture, etc. Expressionist paintings by Amara Debbache, Jellal Ben Abdallah, and Ali Ben Salem are recognized while abstract art captures the imagination of painters like Edgar Naccache, Nello Levy, and Hedi Turki.[186]

After independence in 1956, the art movement in Tunisia was propelled by the dynamics of nation building and by artists serving the state. A Ministry of Culture was established, under the leadership of ministers such as Habib Boularès who oversaw art and education and power.[186] Artists gained international recognition such as Hatem El Mekki or Zoubeir Turki and influenced a generation of new young painters. Sadok Gmech draws his inspiration from national wealth while Moncef Ben Amor turns to fantasy. In another development, Youssef Rekik reused the technique of painting on glass and founded Nja Mahdaoui calligraphy with its mystical dimension.[186]

There are currently fifty art galleries housing exhibitions of Tunisian and international artists.[187] These galleries include Gallery Yahia in Tunis and Carthage Essaadi gallery.[187]

A new exposition opened in an old monarchal palace in Bardo dubbed the "awakening of a nation". The exposition boasts documents and artifacts from the Tunisian reformist monarchal rule in mid 19th century.[188]


Tunisian literature exists in two forms: Arabic and French. Arabic literature dates back to the 7th century with the arrival of Arab civilization in the region. It is more important in both volume and value than French literature, introduced during the French protectorate from 1881.[189]

Among the literary figures include Ali Douagi, who has produced more than 150 radio stories, over 500 poems and folk songs and nearly 15 plays,[190] Khraief Bashir, an Arabic novelist who published many notable books in the 1930s and which caused a scandal because the dialogues were written in Tunisian dialect,[190] and others such as Moncef Ghachem, Mohamed Salah Ben Mrad, or Mahmoud Messadi.

As for poetry, Tunisian poetry typically opts for nonconformity and innovation with poets such as Aboul-Qacem Echebbi.

As for literature in French, it is characterized by its critical approach. Contrary to the pessimism of Albert Memmi, who predicted that Tunisian literature was sentenced to die young,[191] a high number of Tunisian writers are abroad including Abdelwahab Meddeb, Bakri Tahar, Mustapha Tlili, Hele Beji, or Mellah Fawzi. The themes of wandering, exile and heartbreak are the focus of their creative writing.

The national bibliography lists 1249 non-school books published in 2002 in Tunisia, with 885 titles in Arabic.[192] In 2006 this figure had increased to 1,500 and 1,700 in 2007.[193] Nearly a third of the books are published for children.[194]

In 2014 Tunisian American creative nonfiction scribe and translator Med-Ali Mekki who wrote many books, not for publication but just for his own private reading translated the new Constitution of the Tunisian Republic from Arabic to English for the first time in Tunisian bibliographical history, the book was published worldwide the following year and it was the Internet's most viewed and downloaded Tunisian book.


Zied Gharsa et la Rachidia
Rachidia orchestra playing traditional music in Tunis Theater
Ya laimi àazzine by Saliha (1914–1958)

At the beginning of the 20th century, musical activity was dominated by the liturgical repertoire associated with different religious brotherhoods and secular repertoire which consisted of instrumental pieces and songs in different Andalusian forms and styles of origins, essentially borrowing characteristics of musical language. In 1930 "The Rachidia" was founded well known thanks to artists from the Jewish community. The founding in 1934 of a musical school helped revive Arab Andalusian music largely to a social and cultural revival led by the elite of the time who became aware of the risks of loss of the musical heritage and which they believed threatened the foundations of Tunisian national identity. The institution did not take long to assemble a group of musicians, poets, scholars. The creation of Radio Tunis in 1938 allowed musicians a greater opportunity to disseminate their works.

Notable Tunisian musicians include Saber Rebaï, Dhafer Youssef, Belgacem Bouguenna, Sonia M'barek and Latifa, Salah El Mahdi, Anouar Brahem, and Lotfi Bouchnak.


The TV media has long remained under the domination of the Establishment of the Broadcasting Authority Tunisia (ERTT) and its predecessor, the Tunisian Radio and Television, founded in 1957. On 7 November 2006, President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali announced the demerger of the business, which became effective on 31 August 2007. Until then, ERTT managed all public television stations (Télévision Tunisienne 1 as well as Télévision Tunisienne 2 which had replaced the defunct RTT 2) and four national radio stations (Radio Tunis, Tunisia Radio Culture, Youth and Radio RTCI) and five regional Sfax, Monastir, Gafsa, Le Kef and Tataouine. Most programs are in Arabic but some are in French. Growth in private sector radio and television broadcasting has seen the creation of numerous operations including Radio Mosaique FM, Jawhara FM, Zaytuna FM, Hannibal TV, Ettounsiya TV, and Nessma TV.[195][196]

In 2007, some 245 newspapers and magazines (compared to only 91 in 1987) are 90% owned by private groups and independents.[197] The Tunisian political parties have the right to publish their own newspapers, but those of the opposition parties have very limited editions (like Al Mawkif or Mouwatinoun). Before the recent democratic transition, although freedom of the press was formally guaranteed by the constitution, almost all newspapers have in practice followed the government line report. Critical approach to the activities of the president, government and the Constitutional Democratic Rally Party (then in power) were suppressed. In essence, the media was dominated by state authorities through the Agence Tunis Afrique Presse. This has changed since, as the media censorship by the authorities have been largely abolished, and self-censorship has significantly decreased.[198] Nonetheless, the current regulatory framework and social and political culture mean that the future of press and media freedom is still unclear.[198]


CA - Radès
Olympique Radès Stadium

Football is the most popular sport in Tunisia. The Tunisia national football team, also known as "The Eagles of Carthage," won the 2004 African Cup of Nations (ACN), which was held in Tunisia.[199][200] They also represented Africa in the 2005 FIFA Cup of Confederations, which was held in Germany, but they could not go beyond the first round.

The premier football league is the "Tunisian Ligue Professionnelle 1". The main clubs are Espérance Sportive de Tunis, Étoile Sportive du Sahel, Club Africain, Club Sportif Sfaxien and EGS Gafsa.

The Tunisia national handball team has participated in several handball world championships. In 2005, Tunisia came fourth. The national league consists of about 12 teams, with ES. Sahel and Esperance S.Tunis dominating. The most famous Tunisian handball player is Wissem Hmam. In the 2005 Handball Championship in Tunis, Wissem Hmam was ranked as the top scorer of the tournament. The Tunisian national handball team won the African Cup ten times, being the team dominating this competition. The Tunisians won the 2018 African Cup in Gabon by defeating Egypt.[201]

In recent years, Tunisia's national basketball team has emerged as a top side in Africa. The team won the 2011 Afrobasket and hosted Africa's top basketball event in 1965, 1987 and 2015.

In boxing, Victor Perez ("Young") was world champion in the flyweight weight class in 1931 and 1932.[202]

In the 2008 Summer Olympics, Tunisian Oussama Mellouli won a gold medal in 1,500 metres (4,900 feet) freestyle.[203] In the 2012 Summer Olympics, he won a bronze medal in the 1,500 metres (4,900 feet) freestyle and a gold medal in the 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) marathon.

In 2012, Tunisia participated for the seventh time in her history in the Summer Paralympic Games. She finished the competition with 19 medals; 9 golds, 5 silvers and 5 bronzes. Tunisia was classified 14th on the Paralympics medal table and 5th in Athletics.

Tunisia was suspended from Davis Cup play for the year 2014, because the Tunisian Tennis Federation was found to have ordered Malek Jaziri not to compete against an Israeli tennis player, Amir Weintraub.[204] ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti said: "There is no room for prejudice of any kind in sport or in society. The ITF Board decided to send a strong message to the Tunisian Tennis Federation that this kind of action will not be tolerated."[204]

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External links

Coordinates: 34°N 9°E / 34°N 9°E

2015 Sousse attacks

On 26 June 2015, a mass shooting occurred at the tourist resort at Port El Kantaoui, about 10 kilometres north of the city of Sousse, Tunisia.Thirty-eight people, 30 of whom were British, were killed when a gunman, Seifeddine Rezgui, attacked a hotel. It was the deadliest non-state attack in the history of modern Tunisia, with more fatalities than the 22 killed in the Bardo National Museum attack three months before.

The attack received widespread condemnation around the world. The Tunisian government later "acknowledged fault" for slow police response to the attack.

Arab Spring

The Arab Spring (Arabic: الربيع العربي) was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across the Middle East in late 2010. It began in response to oppressive regimes and a low standard of living, beginning with protests in Tunisia (Noueihed, 2011; Maleki, 2011). In the news, social media has been heralded as the driving force behind the swift spread of revolution throughout the world, as new protests appear in response to success stories shared from those taking place in other countries (see Howard, 2011). In many countries, the governments have also recognized the importance of social media for organizing and have shut down certain sites or blocked Internet service entirely, especially in the times preceding a major rally (see The Telegraph, 2011). Governments have also scrutinized or suppressed discussion in those forums through accusing content creators of unrelated crimes or shutting down communication on specific sites or groups, such as through Facebook (Solomon, 2011; Seyid, 2011).The effects of the Tunisian Revolution spread strongly to five other countries: Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain, where either the regime was toppled or major uprisings and social violence occurred, including riots, civil wars or insurgencies. Sustained street demonstrations took place in Morocco, Iraq, Algeria, Iranian Khuzestan, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Sudan. Minor protests occurred in Djibouti, Mauritania, the Palestinian National Authority, Saudi Arabia, and the Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara. A major slogan of the demonstrators in the Arab world is ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ an-niẓām ("the people want to bring down the regime").The wave of initial revolutions and protests faded by mid-2012, as many Arab Spring demonstrations were met with violent responses from authorities, as well as from pro-government militias, counter-demonstrators and militaries. These attacks were answered with violence from protestors in some cases.

Large-scale conflicts resulted: the Syrian Civil War; the Iraqi insurgency and the following civil war; the Egyptian Crisis, coup, and subsequent unrest and insurgency; the Libyan Civil War; and the Yemeni Crisis and following civil war.A power struggle continued after the immediate response to the Arab Spring. While leadership changed and regimes were held accountable, power vacuums opened across the Arab world. Ultimately it resulted in a contentious battle between a consolidation of power by religious elites and the growing support for democracy in many Muslim-majority states. The early hopes that these popular movements would end corruption, increase political participation, and bring about greater economic equity quickly collapsed in the wake of the counter-revolutionary moves by foreign state actors in Yemen and of the Saudi-UAE-linked military deep state in Egypt, the regional and international military interventions in Bahrain and Yemen, and the destructive civil wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.Some have referred to the succeeding and still ongoing conflicts as the Arab Winter. As of May 2018, only the uprising in Tunisia has resulted in a transition to constitutional democratic governance.


Bizerte or Bizerta (Arabic: بنزرت‎ Benzart), the classical Hippo, is a town of Bizerte Governorate in Tunisia. It is the northernmost city in Africa, located 65 km (40mil) north of the capital Tunis. It is one of the oldest known settlements in Tunisia, having been founded by settlers from the Phoenician port of Sidon around 1100 BC. It is also known as the last town to remain under French control after the rest of the country won its independence from France. The city had 142,966 inhabitants in 2014.


Carthage (; Punic: 𐤒𐤓𐤕•𐤇𐤃𐤔𐤕, Qart-ḥadašt, "New City"; Latin: Carthāgō; Arabic: قرطاج‎, Qarṭāj) was the center or capital city of the ancient Carthaginian civilization, on the eastern side of the Lake of Tunis in what is now the Tunis Governorate in Tunisia.

The city developed from a Phoenician colony into the capital of a Punic empire dominating the Mediterranean during the first millennium BC. The legendary Queen Dido is regarded as the founder of the city, though her historicity has been questioned. According to accounts by Timaeus of Tauromenium, she purchased from a local tribe the amount of land that could be covered by an oxhide. Cutting the skin into strips, she laid out her claim and founded an empire that would become, through the Punic Wars, the only existential threat to Rome until the coming of the Vandals several centuries later.The ancient city was destroyed by the Roman Republic in the Third Punic War in 146 BC and then re-developed as Roman Carthage, which became the major city of the Roman Empire in the province of Africa. The city was sacked and destroyed in the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb in 698. The site remained uninhabited, the regional power shifting to the Medina of Tunis in the medieval period, until the early 20th century, when it began to develop into a coastal suburb of Tunis, incorporated as Carthage municipality in 1919.

The archaeological site was first surveyed in 1830, by Danish consul Christian Tuxen Falbe. Excavations were performed in the second half of the 19th century by

Charles Ernest Beulé and by Alfred Louis Delattre. The Carthage National Museum was founded in 1875 by Cardinal Charles Lavigerie.

Excavations performed by French archaeologists in the 1920s first attracted an extraordinary amount of attention because of the evidence they produced for child sacrifice. There has been considerable disagreement among scholars concerning whether or not child sacrifice was practiced by ancient Carthage,. The open-air Carthage Paleo-Christian Museum has exhibits excavated under the auspices of UNESCO from 1975 to 1984.

Espérance Sportive de Tunis

Espérance Sportive de Tunis (Arabic: الترجي الرياضي التونسي‎), also known as EST, ES Tunis, Espérance ST, Espérance de Tunis or Espérance, is a sports club based in Tunis, Tunisia. It fields several sport teams, including football, handball, and volleyball. Espérance is the most popular club in Tunisia. The Stade Olympique de Rades is the club's home stadium.

French protectorate of Tunisia

The French protectorate of Tunisia (French: Protectorat français de Tunisie; Arabic: الحماية الفرنسية في تونس‎ al-Ḥimāya al-Fransīya fī Tūnis) was established in 1881, during the French colonial Empire era, and lasted until Tunisian independence in 1956.

Tunisia formed a province of the decaying Ottoman Empire but enjoyed a large measure of autonomy under the bey Muhammad III as-Sadiq. In 1877, Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire. Russian victory foreshadowed the dismemberment of the empire, including independence for several Balkan possessions and international discussions about the future of the North African provinces. The Berlin Congress of 1878 convened to resolve the Ottoman question. Britain, although opposed to total dismantling of the Ottoman Empire, offered France control of Tunisia, in return for Cyprus. Germany, seeing the French claim as a way to divert French attention from vengeful action in Europe, after the Franco-Prussian War, and little concerned about the southern Mediterranean, agreed to allow France overlordship in Tunisia. Italy, which had economic interests in Tunisia, strongly opposed the plan but was unable to impose its will.

The French presence in Tunisia came five decades after their occupation of neighboring Algeria, the time when the French were still inexperienced about and lacked the knowledge of how to develop a colony. Both of these countries had been possessions of the Ottoman Empire for three centuries, yet each had long ago attained political autonomy from the Sultan in Constantinople. Before the French arrived, Tunisia had begun a process of modern reforms, but financial difficulties mounted until the installation of a commission of European creditors. After their occupation the French government assumed Tunisia's international obligations. Major developments and improvements were undertaken by the French in several areas, including transport and infrastructure, industry, the financial system, public health, and administration. Yet French business and its citizens were favored, not to the liking of Tunisians. Their preexisting national sense was early expressed in speech and in print; political organization followed. The independence movement was already active before World War I, and continued to gain strength against mixed French opposition. Its ultimate aim was achieved in 1956.


The Maghreb (; Arabic: المغرب‎, translit. al-Maɣréb, lit. 'The West'), also known as Northwest Africa or Northern Africa, Greater Arab Maghreb (Arabic: المغرب العربي الكبير‎, translit. al-Maghrib al-ʿArabi al-Kabir), Arab Maghreb (Arabic: المغرب العربي‎, translit. al-Maghrib al-ʿArabi) or Greater Maghreb (Arabic: المغرب الكبير‎, translit. al-Maghrib al-Kabīr), or by some sources the Berber world, Barbary and Berbery, is a major region of North Africa that consists primarily of the countries Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania. It additionally includes the disputed territories of Western Sahara (mostly controlled by Morocco) and the cities of Melilla and Ceuta (both controlled by Spain and claimed by Morocco). As of 2018, the region has a population of over 100 million people.

In historical English and European literature, the region was known as the Barbary Coast or the Barbary States, derived from the native Berbers. Sometimes it was referred to as the Land of the Atlas, derived from the Atlas Mountains. In current Berber language media and literature, the region is part of what is known as Tamazgha.

The region is usually defined as much or most of northern Africa, including a large portion of Africa's Sahara Desert, and excluding Egypt, which is part of Mashriq. The traditional definition of the region that restricted it to the Atlas Mountains and the coastal plains of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya was expanded by the inclusion of Mauritania and of the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

During the era of Al-Andalus in the Iberian Peninsula (711–1492), the Maghreb's inhabitants, the Muslim Berbers or Maghrebis, were known by Europeans as "Moors", or as "Afariqah" (Roman Africans). Morocco transliterates into Arabic as "al-Maghreb" (The Maghreb).

Before the establishment of modern nation states in the region during the 20th century, Maghreb most commonly referred to a smaller area, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlas Mountains in the south. It often also included the territory of eastern Libya, but not modern Mauritania. As recently as the late 19th century, Maghreb was used to refer to the Western Mediterranean region of coastal North Africa in general, and to Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, in particular.The region was somewhat unified as an independent political entity during the rule of the Berber kingdom of Numidia, which was followed by the Roman Empire's rule or influence. That was followed by the brief invasion of the Germanic Vandals, the equally brief re-establishment of a weak Roman rule by the Byzantine Empire, the rule of the Islamic Caliphates under the Umayyad Caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate and the Fatimid Caliphate. The most enduring rule was that of the local Berber empires of the Almoravid dynasty, Almohad Caliphate, Hammadid dynasty, Zirid dynasty, Marinid dynasty, Zayyanid dynasty, and Wattasid dynasty - from the 8th to 13th centuries. The Ottoman Empire for a period also controlled parts of the region.

Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya established the Arab Maghreb Union in 1989 to promote cooperation and economic integration in a common market. It was envisioned initially by Muammar Gaddafi as a superstate. The union included Western Sahara implicitly under Morocco's membership, putting Morocco's long cold war with Algeria to a rest. However, this progress was short-lived, and the union is now dormant. Tensions between Algeria and Morocco over Western Sahara re-emerged, reinforced by the unsolved border dispute between the two countries. These two main conflicts have hindered progress on the union's joint goals and practically made it inactive as a whole. However, the instability in the region and growing cross-border security threats revived the calls for regional cooperation, with foreign ministers of the Arab Maghreb Union declaring a need for coordinated security policy in May 2015 at the 33rd session of the follow-up committee meeting, which revived hope of some form of cooperation.


Mahdia (Arabic: المهدية‎ al-Mahdīya) is a Tunisian coastal city with 62,189 inhabitants, south of Monastir and southeast of Sousse.

Mahdia is a provincial centre north of Sfax. It is important for the associated fish-processing industry, as well as weaving. It is the capital of Mahdia Governorate.

Monastir, Tunisia

Monastir, also called Mistīr (Arabic: منستير‎ Monastīr / Mistīr, from the Greek μοναστήριον "hermit's cell, monastery"), is a city on the central coast of Tunisia, in the Sahel area, It is 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of Sousse and 162 kilometres (101 miles) south of Tunis. Traditionally a fishing port, Monastir is now a major tourist resort. Its population is about 93,306. It is the capital of Monastir Governorate.

Operation Torch

Operation Torch (8–16 November 1942) was an Anglo–American invasion of French North Africa during the Second World War. It was aimed at reducing pressure on Allied forces in Egypt, and enabling an invasion of Southern Europe. It also provided the ‘second front’ which the Soviet Union had been requesting since it was invaded by the Germans in 1941. The region was dominated by the Vichy French, officially Nazi-controlled, but with mixed loyalties, and reports indicated that they might support the Allied initiative. The American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, commanding the operation, planned a 3-pronged attack, aimed at Casablanca (Western), Oran (Center) and Algiers (Eastern), in advance of a rapid move on Tunis.

The Western Task Force encountered unexpected resistance, as well as bad weather, but Casablanca, the principal French Atlantic naval base, was captured after a short siege. The Center Task Force suffered some damage to its fleet, trying to land in shallow water, but the enemy ships were sunk or driven off, and Oran surrendered after heavy fire from British battleships. The Eastern Task Force met less opposition because the French Resistance had staged a coup in Algiers, and the Allies were able to push inland and compel surrender on the first day.

The success of Torch caused the commander of French forces in the region, Admiral Darlan, to order full co-operation with the Allies, in return for being retained as High Commissioner, with many Vichy officials keeping their jobs. But Darlan was assassinated soon after, and De Gaulle’s Free French gradually came to dominate the government.

Operation Torch was the first mass involvement of US troops in the European–North African Theatre, and saw the first major airborne assault carried out anywhere by the United States.


Radès (Arabic: رادس‎) is a harbour city in Ben Arous Governorate, Tunisia. Situated 9 kilometers south-east of the capital Tunis, some consider it a Tunis suburb, and parts of the harbor installations of Tunis are located in Radès.

Rades is divided into sub cities: Radès Medina, Radès Méliane, Rades Forêt, Chouchet Radès, El Malleha, Noubou and The Olympic city, Rades Montjil, Rades echat.Way to Zahra district and el OULIJA


Sousse or Soussa (Arabic: سوسة‎, Sūsa; Berber: Susa) is a city in Tunisia, capital of the Sousse Governorate. Located 140 km (87 mi) south of the capital Tunis, the city has 271,428 inhabitants (2014). Sousse is in the central-east of the country, on the Gulf of Hammamet, which is a part of the Mediterranean Sea. Its economy is based on transport equipment, processed food, olive oil, textiles, and tourism. It is home to the Université de Sousse.


Tunis (Arabic: تونس‎ Tūnis) is the capital and the largest city of Tunisia. The greater metropolitan area of Tunis, often referred to as Grand Tunis, has some 2,700,000 inhabitants.

Situated on a large Mediterranean Sea gulf (the Gulf of Tunis), behind the Lake of Tunis and the port of La Goulette (Ḥalq il-Wād), the city extends along the coastal plain and the hills that surround it. At its core lies its ancient medina, a World Heritage Site. East of the medina through the Sea Gate (also known as the Bab el Bhar and the Porte de France) begins the modern city, or Ville Nouvelle, traversed by the grand Avenue Habib Bourguiba (often referred to by popular press and travel guides as "the Tunisian Champs-Élysées"), where the colonial-era buildings provide a clear contrast to smaller, older structures. Further east by the sea lie the suburbs of Carthage, La Marsa, and Sidi Bou Said. As the capital city of the country, Tunis is the focus of Tunisian political and administrative life; it is also the centre of the country's commercial and cultural activities. It has two cultural centres, as well as a municipal theatre that is used by international theatre groups and a summer festival, the International Festival of Carthage, which is held in July.

Tunisia national football team

The Tunisia national football team (Arabic: منتخب تونس لكرة القدم‎, French: Équipe de Tunisie de football), is the national team representing Tunisia in association football since their maiden match in 1957. The squad is under the global jurisdiction of FIFA and is governed in Africa by CAF. It is governed by the Tunisian Football Federation , founded in 1957 after the Tunisian independence in 1956. Tunisia are colloquially known as Les Aigles de Carthage (The Eagles of Carthage). The team's colours are red and white, and the Bald eagle its symbol. Periods of regular Tunisian representation at the highest international level, from 1962 to 1978, from 1994 to 2008 and again from 2014 onwards. Most of Tunisia's home matches are played at the Stade Olympique de Radès in Radès since 2001.

Tunisia's national team have participated in three quadrennial major football competitions. It appeared in the end stages of five FIFA World Cups and eighteen Africa Cup of Nations, and featured at four Olympic football tournaments. Nevertheless, they created history in that 1978 tournament in Argentina by becoming the first African side to win a World Cup match, beating Mexico 3–1. They also held defending champions West Germany to a goalless draw before bowing out. They have since qualified for three tournaments in succession, in 1998, 2002 and 2006 before returning in the last edition held in Russia in 2018.

Tunisia has long-standing football rivalries with North African teams: Egypt, Morocco and Algeria. In fact, the Tunisian team has always met with them, whether through friendly matches or World Cup qualifiers and the African Cup of Nations .

Tunisia is one of the most successful African national teams in competitions, having won one African Cup of Nations, as tournament hosts in 2004. They have also been runners-up twice in 1965 as hosts and 1996 held in South Africa.

Tunisian Campaign

The Tunisian Campaign (also known as the Battle of Tunisia) was a series of battles that took place in Tunisia during the North African Campaign of the Second World War, between Axis and Allied forces. The Allies consisted of British Imperial Forces, including Polish and Greek contingents, with American and French corps. The battle opened with initial success by the German and Italian forces but the massive supply interdiction efforts led to the decisive defeat of the Axis. Over 230,000 German and Italian troops were taken as prisoners of war, including most of the Afrika Korps.

Tunisian Football Federation

The Tunisian Football Federation (Arabic: الجامعة التونسية لكرة القدم‎, French: Fédération Tunisienne de Football, FTF) is the governing body of football in Tunisia. It was established in 1957. It became a member in the FIFA in 1960, and in the same year it also became a member in the CAF association. It organises the football league, the Tunisian Ligue Professionnelle 1, the Tunisia national football team and the Tunisia women's national football team. It is based in Tunis.

Tunisian Revolution

The Tunisian Revolution was an intensive campaign of civil resistance. It included a series of street demonstrations which took place in Tunisia, and led to the ousting of longtime president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011. It eventually led to a thorough democratization of the country and to free and democratic elections.

The demonstrations were caused by high unemployment, food inflation, corruption, a lack of political freedoms like freedom of speech and poor living conditions. The protests constituted the most dramatic wave of social and political unrest in Tunisia in three decades and resulted in scores of deaths and injuries, most of which were the result of action by police and security forces.

The protests were sparked by the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi on 17 December 2010 and led to the ousting of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali 28 days later on 14 January 2011, when he officially resigned after fleeing to Saudi Arabia, ending his 23 years in power. Labour unions were an integral part of the protests. The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet was awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize for "its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Tunisian Revolution of 2011". The protests inspired similar actions throughout the Arab world, in a chain reaction which became known as the Arab Spring movement.

West Africa Time

West Africa Time, or WAT, is a time zone used in west-central Africa; with countries west of Benin instead using Greenwich Mean Time (GMT; equivalent to UTC with no offset). West Africa Time is one hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+01), which makes it the same as Central European Time (CET) during winter, or Western European Summer Time (WEST) and British Summer Time (BST) during the summer.

As most of this time zone is in the tropical region, there is little change in day length throughout the year, so daylight saving time is not observed.

West Africa Time is used by the following countries:

Algeria (as Central European Time)





Central African Republic

Democratic Republic of the Congo (western side only)

Equatorial Guinea


Morocco (as Greenwich Mean Time + 1 hour)



Republic of the Congo

Tunisia (as Central European Time)

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (Arabic: زين العابدين بن علي‎, Zayn al-'Ābidīn bin 'Alī; born 3 September 1936), commonly known as Ben Ali, is a Tunisian former politician who served as President of Tunisia from 1987 until his ousting in 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 declared incompetent. Ben Ali was subsequently reelected with enormous majorities, each time exceeding 90% of the vote; the final re-election was on 25 October 2009.On 14 January 2011, following a month of protests against his rule, he was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia along with his wife Leïla Ben Ali and their three children. The interim Tunisian government asked Interpol to issue an international arrest warrant, charging him for money laundering and drugs trafficking. A Tunisian court sentenced Ben Ali and his wife in absentia to 35 years in prison on 20 June 2011 on charges of theft and unlawful possession of cash and jewellery. In June 2012, a Tunisian court sentenced him in absentia to life imprisonment for inciting violence and murder and another life sentence by a military court on April 2013 for violent repression of protests in Sfax.

Climate data for Tunisia in general
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 14.7
Average low °C (°F) 6.4
Average rainfall mm (inches) 50.5
Source: Weatherbase[96]
Tunisia articles

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