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Tunisia Facts





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What is the capital of Tunisia?
The capital of Tunisia is the bustling city of Tunis, from which the name of the country is taken. The city’s population is nearly three-quarters of a million people, with more than two million living in the greater metropolitan area. Tunis is built on the venerable city of Carthage, which is still an important tourist draw.

What is Carthage?
Carthage is currently a suburb of Tunis, but it was once one of the most important and prosperous cities of the ancient world.

Founded by Phoenician settlers about 3,000 years ago, Carthage was famous for its rivalry with Rome, and is a center of polytheistic religious practices. There is currently a significant debate among scholars as to whether children were frequently used as sacrifices in ancient Carthage, although this could have been a rumor spread by the city’s competitors. In any case, the site is of great historical importance and is still visited by many archaeologists and tourists wanting to check out the city’s ruins.

What is the total population of Tunisia?
Tunisia is estimated to have between 10 and 11 million citizens, many of whom are concentrated in urban areas near the coastal parts of the country (as opposed to the arid desert in the south).

What languages are spoken in Tunisia?
Tunisia’s official language is Arabic, and all Tunisians speak it in their everyday lives. Because of the French occupation of the country in the late nineteenth century, most people can speak French as well, and use it often in commerce. Tunisia has a long and complicated history with Italy, so Italian is a common language there as well.

What is the national religion in Tunisia?
Tunisia’s national religion is Islam and the vast majority of its population is Muslim, but the country allows freedom
of religion and does not have much of a history of religious repression. It is said to be one of the few Arab countries that is more or less accepting of its non-Muslim citizens, and it strictly enforces secularism in most areas of its government.

What countries border Tunisia?
Tunisia is bordered by Algeria in the west and Libya in the east. Parts of Tunisia and Italy are less than 200 miles from one another across the Mediterranean Sea, and the nations have had countless friendly and hostile interactions since ancient times.

How big is Tunisia?
Tunisia’s area is about 163,610 square kilometers, or about 63,170 square miles. It has a large amount of coastline for its size, with its Mediterranean Sea border making up nearly half of its total perimeter.

What is the form of government in Tunisia?
Tunisia (official name: the Tunisian Republic) was a protectorate of France for the early part of its modern history, even serving as an important staging ground for a series of battles in World War II known as the Tunisia Campaign. Once Tunisia obtained independence from France in 1956, it was ruled by a single political party up until 2011, when it was upended by the Tunisian Revolution. The party, known by many names but most recently called the Constitutional Democratic Rally, was repressive of dissenting views and often criticized for being entirely corrupt. This party has been ousted, and its leader, former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who served from 1987 until the 2011 uprising, was forced out of office. Following a series of acting presidents, doctor and activist Moncef Marzouki was chosen as the interim president of Tunisia on December 12, 2011. Tunisia remains a constitutional republic for now, but after five decades of dictatorship, while the country continues to define government roles, its future is uncertain.

What was the Tunisia Campaign?
The Tunisia Campaign was a series of battles fought by foreign powers that took place in occupied Tunisia during World War II. It proved to be one of the major turning points of the war, with Allied forces using Tunisia’s unique terrain to their advantage and rebuffing an initial Axis victory. Troops from Britain, the United States, France, Poland, Greece, Australia, and New Zealand aided one another in Tunisia’s mountains, hills and deserts to become a unified front for the first time. It was not until after the war that Tunisia would become independent of European interference.

What is the Tunisian Revolution?
The Tunisian Revolution was an ongoing civil protest that first started in December of 2010. It resulted in the resignation of the Tunisian President and the possible dissolution of the Constitutional Democratic Rally, an authoritarian party that had ruled for more than fifty years. The events in Tunisia are usually considered the spark that set off similar protests and revolutions throughout the Arab world, a movement that is often called the Arab Spring. The situation in Tunisia, however, is still unstable. Attempts by the ruling government to restore order, ranging from cajoling to brutal in their tactics, attempted to quell Tunisia’s civil unrest. Elections for the Constituent Assembly were held on October 23, 2011, resulting in the rise of the Islamist party, Ennahda, and the election of Moncef Marzouki as interim president. Marzouki continues to work toward a stable Tunisian government in the face of a struggling economy.