Tu­nisia

The Diplomatic Insight - - Tunisia - 6

(men), 77 years Full name: Tu­nisian Repub­lic Pop­u­la­tion: 10.629.186 mil­lion (JULY2011) Cap­i­tal: Tu­nis Area: 163,610 sqkm(63,378 sq miles) Ma­jor lan­guages: Ara­bic (of­fi­cial); French Ma­jor re­li­gion: Is­lam Life ex­pectancy: 73 years (UN) Mon­e­tary unit: 1Tu­nisian dinar (TD) = 1,000 mil­limes Main ex­por ts: Agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, tex­tiles, oil, me­chan­i­cal and elec­tri­cal de­vices, fer­til­iz­ers, ser­vices...

(women) His­tory Tu­nisians have traded and in­ter­acted with other Mediter­ranean cul­tures since 12th cen­tury BC. An­cient Carthage, the great citys­tate founded in 814 BC, so pros­pered in trade and com­merce that it is at­tracted the eyes of an ex­pand­ing Ro­mans Em­pire. The fall of Carthage in the sec­ond cen­tu­ryBCush­ered in nearly 700 years of Ro­man rule. Tu­nisia pros­pered as the gra­nary of the Ro­man Em­pire. Many splen­did ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sites which dot the Tu­nisian land­scape to­day at­test toTu­nisia's prominent po­si­tion in the em­pire. In the sev­enth cen­tu­ryAD, Is­lamic con­quest reached Tu­nisia. The city of Kairouan be­came the cen­ter of re­li­gious life and the site of one of Is­lam'smost an­cient and holi­est­mosques. In the en­su­ing cen­turies, Is­lamic civ­i­liza­tion en­riched Tu­nisia dur­ing five dy­nas­ties both­Arab and Ot­toman. By the 16th cen­tury, Tu­nisia was un­der Ot­toman control, and a dy­nasty of Beys gov­erned the coun­try. In the 19th cen­tury, Tu­nisia was the first Arab coun­try to pro­mul­gate a con­sti­tu­tion and ban slavery, but eco­nomic prob­lems, abuses by the Beys and for­eign in­ter­fer­ence were the source of in­creased in­sta­bil­ity. In 1881, France de­clared Tu­nisia a pro­tec­torate gen­er­at­ing a strong ant colo­nial re­ac­tion in the coun­try. In 1920, the Lib­eral Con­sti­tu­tional Party (the Des­tour) was formed by Tu­nisian na­tion­al­ists. The break­away Neo-Des­tour Party, formed in 1934, even­tu­ally be­came the driv­ing force be­hindTu­nisian in­de­pen­dence. Af­ter a long strug­gle, Tu­nisia fi­nally won its in­de­pen­dence on March 20, 1956. On July 25, 1957, Tun i s i a was pro­claimed a Repub­lic and Habib Bour­guiba be­came the first Pres­i­dent of Tu­nisia. On June 1, 1959, the first con­sti­tu­tion of the Repub­lic was adopted. On Novem­ber 7, 1987, Prime Min­is­ter Zine El Abidine Ben Ali ac­ceded to the pres­i­dency of the Repub­lic, who lead Tu­nisia for 23 years. On 17 De­cem­ber 2011, Mo­ham­mad Bouz­izi, a street ven­dor from Sidi Bouzid a town on mar­gins ofTu­nisia set him­self on fire as an act of de­spair. This tragic in­ci­dent has spawned vast protest move­ments all over the coun­try and took a shape of na­tional re­volt, in­volv­ing all the com­po­nents of so­ci­ety, job­less, grad­u­ates, lawyers, women, trade union….It was a quest for dig­nity, free­dom, and need for em­ploy­ment. Four weeks of con­fronta­tion were enough to push for­mer Pres­i­dent to ad­mit pub­licly his mis­takes and to flee sud­denly the coun­try on Fri­day Jan­uary 14, 2010. On Oc­to­ber 23 2011 a le­gal and trans­par­ent elec­tion of con­stituent assem­bly was or­ga­nized. Cur­rently Tu­nisia is wit­ness­ing a rich ex­pe­ri­ence of coali­tion of three po­lit­i­cal par­ties, En­nahdha amod­er­ate Is­lamist­with left­ist­wings the Congress for theRepub­lic ( CPR ) and theDemo­cratic Fo­rum for La­bor and Lib­er­ties ( Et­taka­tol's) for­mal­ized a power- shar­ing agree­ment to rule the coun­try un­til the new con­sti­tu­tion will be fi­nal­ized. So­ci­ety The Tu­nisian peo­ple be­long to the Arab-Mus­lim world. The over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion is Mus­lim. Small Chris­tian and Jewish com­mu­ni­ties prac­tice their faith freely and con­trib­ute toTu­nisia's rich cul­tural di­ver­sity. Tu­nisia's pop­u­la­tion amounts to 10,216,000 in­hab­i­tants. 65% of the pop­u­la­tion lives in ur­ban ar­eas. Tu­nis, the cap­i­tal, with a pop­u­la­tion of about 1 mil­lion, is one of the prin­ci­pal cos­mopoli­tan ur­ban cen­ters of the Mediter­ranean. Other cities in Tu­nisia in­clude Carthage, Jerba, Ham­mamet, Biz­erte, Sousse, Sfax andKairouan. The of­fi­cial lan­guage is Ara­bic while French is widely used. English is spo­ken by a grow­ing num­ber ofTu­nisians. One-fifth of the pop­u­la­tion makes its liveli­hood by farm­ing. The rest of the well-ed­u­cated and skilled pop­u­la­tion is em­ployed in in­dus­tries, tourism, fishing, min­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing. Var­i­ous in­di­ca­tors show a sub­stan­tial im­prove­ment of the liv­ing stan­dards of all Tu­nisians. Life ex­pectancy has in­creased to 74.2 years in 2007. About 80% of Tu­nisian fam­i­lies own their own homes.

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