Tunisia: History

Tunisia History

The Berbers are the original Tunisians, but now are found mainly in the south. A wealth of ancient history has helped to make Tunisia one of the top choices for holidays in North Africa.

The ancient Phoenicians first established major civilisation in the north founding Carthage in 814BC, which rose to become a major Mediterranean power and one of the largest cities in ancient history. With its rise came conflict and challenge from other powers, Greece, Syracuse and most of all Rome. Comprehensive defeat by the Romans only came in the Third Punic War, destroying the city and much of its culture.

The idea that the Romans ploughed salt into the land to make it infertile is probably no more than a myth, which at the time kept other challengers away until the Romans eventually built Roman Carthage. Roman Carthage became one of the three most important cities in the Roman Empire. The Roman legacy can be seen throughout Tunisia, a popular element of holidays in Tunisia.

Muslim conquest came in 698AD and later conquerors included the Ottoman Empire and the French until Tunisia’s final independence from French Algeria in 1956 and the emergence of the “father of modern Tunisia” President Habib Bourguiba, a reformer whose name and image is seen throughout the country. From 1987 Tunisia adopted a multi-party democratic system and outlawed the intervention of religious or ethnic manifestos in its political life.