Tunis History, Tunisia
Few people know that modern-day Tunisia was the center of the Carthaginian civilization; Carthage itself was located around 16km north of the present capital, Tunis. The town was originally named Tunes and was founded by the Berbers in the 2nd century BC. It was in the 9th century that the Phoenicians from the city of Carthage conquered Tunis. The destruction of Carthage by the Roman Empire in 146 BC led to the city’s demise. It was rebuilt by the Romans and later on became the center of their agricultural industry.
The final destruction of Carthage in the 7th century gave rise to the Islamic control of the Arab Muslims in Tunis. It was then that it established itself as one of the richest trading cities in the Islamic world. It was also during this time that the medina of Tunis was first constructed.
Tunisia was ruled by a hereditary monarchy until in 1883 when it became a protectorate of France. The city was occupied by the French from 1881 to 1956. During the Second World War, Tunis was held by the Germans and their allies. It was established as their last base in Africa. In more recent time, it was in 1955 that Tunisia was granted internal self-Government. A year later it was given its independence and was recognized as the constitutional monarch of the Bey of Tunis.
In 1957, Tunisia became a republic with Bourguiba as its first president. In the early years of his regime, Bourguiba pursued unsuccessful socialist policies. He later opened the economy to foreign investment and allowed the development of a private sector in the 1970s due to rising public pressure.
The government in more recent years embarked on a cautious reform program. These have been undertaken with a goal of building economic relations with the European Union. It signed a free trade agreement with the European Union and has since then strengthened its economic ties with the international community. Despite its small size, Tunisia has played a crucial diplomatic role in the region. Tunisia is relatively peaceful and has not experienced the levels of political violence in neighboring Islamic countries.
Tunisia lacks the vast natural resources which characterize its larger North African neighbors, but because of careful and successful economic management it has managed to prosper. Agriculture and mining are the foundations of the country’s economy. Tunisia also has a modest oil export industry and large quantities of phosphate ores are mined along with iron, lead, aluminum fluoride and zinc.
Tourism plays a huge factor in the Tunisian economy however, changes in its political climate and international terrorism has led to a decline in this industry.
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