Tunisia: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, size, population, and government of the country Tunisia.



Location--Northernmost tip of Africa. Bounded by the Mediterranean on the east and north, Libya on the southeast, Algeria on the west.

How Created--The site of ancient Carthage. In 1574 the Ottoman Turks conquered Tunisia and went on to establish its present-day boundaries. Following the establishment of a French protectorate in 1881, a Tunisian independence movement gradually arose. On June 3, 1955, French and Tunisian negotiators agreed on independence for the nation. A treaty was signed with France and independence was declared on March 20,1956.

Size--63,378 sq. mi. (164,150 sq. km.).

Population--6,300,000: Arab, 94%; Berber, 1.5%; French, 1.5%; Jewish, 1.3%; Italian, 0.8%; other, 0.9%. Almost 100% Muslim.

Who Rules--In theory, Tunisia is a constitutional democracy. There is an elected National Assembly and President.

Who REALLY Rules--As the head of state, the Government, the country's only party, and its armed forces, Habib Bourguiba's power goes beyond his role as President. He has been Tunisia's only head since it became a republic and the only Arab President outside Lebanon without a military background. His despotism, however, could be termed benevolent; it has enhanced independent personal freedom and the status of women. President Bourguiba is not in good health and a successor is not in sight. In the event of his death, a power struggle could destroy Tunisian stability.

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