An age-old civilization between East and West, its geo-strategic location in the Mediterranean has placed Tunisia in the forefront of history. A crossroads for brilliant and diversified civilizations, the country was successively Punic, Roman, Vandal, Byzantine, Arab and Muslim, Ottoman, Husseinite, and a French protectorate, before gaining independence in 1956.
Experienced traders and clever negotiators, the Phoenicians chose Carthage in 814 BC to build a capital for what became the powerful Punic Empire, with prosperity based on commerce. They established an impressive network of trading posts throughout the Mediterranean, strengthening the tradition of world trade. Tunisia naturally evolved into a land of welcome, blessed with many strong points.
During the Roman period, Tunisia developed its exports to the point of becoming the breadbasket of Rome. The manufacture of ceramics and the processing of agricultural products flourished. Oil and wheat production occupied a place of choice. From the Punic period and through six centuries of Roman presence, this land gave birth to illustrious thinkers and historic figures: Hannibal of Carthage, one of the greatest generals of all time; Magon, the greatest agronomist of antiquity; Tertullien, the herald of religious tolerance…
The Arab-Muslim civilization began in the 7th century and brought about a golden age in literature, religion, agriculture, handicrafts, commerce, and naval construction. Kairouan was founded in 670 and soon became the second greatest city in the empire, known for the spiritual influence exerted by its great thinkers: Ibn Khaldoun, the founder of sociology; Ibn Al Jazzar, an illustrious physician; Ibn Rachiq, a peerless poet, and many others. More contemporary figures include Sahnoun; Kheireddine; Tahar Haddad, the defender of women’s rights; Chebbi, the author of canticles to life and man’s triumph in serving others...
More than anywhere else, past and present are intricately linked in this country that has always welcomed visitors, cooperation and friendship. A long line of remarkable people have contributed to making today Tunisia a special place with a unique makeup that works smoothly. Tolerance, determination to get the job done, and an irrepressible joy of living are the dominant traits to be found in Tunisia.
Overview of the history of Tunisia
814 Av.J.C: Foundation of Carthage by Queen Didon
2nd century BC: Establishment of the first Roman colony
7th century Ap.J.C: Foundation of Kairouan by Okba Ibn Nafaa (670) and capture of Carthage by Hassan Ibn Nooman (695)
8th and 9th centuries: Expansion of Islam and establishment of the Aghlabite dynasty (construction of the Tunisian Zitouna Mosque)
10th century: Fatimid Dynasty (910-973) Foundation of its capital Mahdia (921)
10th-11th centuries: Zirid Dynasty (972-1062)
1048: Hilalian Invasion
13th - 16th centuries: Hafsid dynasty (1236-1574)
1574: Tunisia is attached to the Ottoman Empire
1705-1957: Husseinite dynasty (fallen on the 25/7/1957)
1881 (May 12): Establishment of the French protectorate
1938 (April 9): Large popular demonstrations in Tunis during which many Tunisians fall in the field of honor while others are arrested and deported.
1954 (31 July): France recognizes the internal autonomy of Tunisia. Tunisian-French negotiations in Paris
1956 (March 20): Total independence of Tunsia.
1957 (July 25): Proclamation of the Republic. Mr. Habib Bourguiba, first President of the Republic of Tunisia.
1959 (June 1st): First Constitution of the Republic of Tunisia.
1963 (October 15): Evacuation of Bizerte - The last foreign soldier leaves Tunisia.
1964 (May 12): Tunisification of agricultural land.
1987 (November 7): Establishment of the Ben Ali regime
January 14, 2011: Fall of the regime of Ben Ali following the revolution of the people against his dictatorship (first Arab revolution in the 21st century).