Peru, 2003
Country name: Tunisian Republic
Government type: republic
National holiday: Independence Day, 20 March (1956)
Historical background: The Phoenicians first set up shop in Tunisia at Utica in 1100 BC. They went on to establish a chain of ports along the North African coast, the most important of which was Carthage, arch enemy of Rome, which destroyed it in 146 BC. The Tunisian territory became Roman property after the war. Islam burst onto the scene in the 7th century, when the Arab armies swept out of Arabia, quickly conquering Egypt. The Arabs had taken all of North Africa by the start of the 8th century, and, with Kairouan as its capital.In 1574 and Tunis became an Ottoman territory. Ottoman power lasted through to the 19th century, when France became the new power in the Western Mediterranean. In 1881, the French sent 30,000 troops into Tunisia under the pretext of countering border raids into French-occupied Algeria. They quickly occupied Tunis and forced the ruling bey to sign over his power to the French. The fall of France in WWII opened the door for Tunisian nationalists to step up their independence campaign. Tunisia was formally granted independence on 20 March 1956, with Habib Bourguiba as prime minister. Bourguiba's presidency lasted through 1987 and was replaced by his own minister for the interior, Zine el-Abidine ben Ali..
Geographic coordinates:
34 00 N, 9 00 E
Map: Tunisia
Highest point: Jebel ech Chambi 1,544 m
Border countries: Algeria & Libya
Capital: Tunis
Major cities: Sfax, Bizerte, Djerba, Gabès, Sousse, Kairouan, Gafsa
Population: 9.9 millions (July 2003 est.)
Density: 59.99 hab./km²
Life expectancy: 74.4 years
Ethnic groups: Arab 98%
Languages: Arabic (official and one of the languages of commerce), French (commerce)
Religions: Muslim 98%
Currency: Tunisian dinar
GDP per capita: $6,500 (2002 est.)
Internet country code: .tn

Flag description: red with a white disk in the center bearing a red crescent nearly encircling a red five-pointed star; the crescent and star are traditional symbols of Islam. Flag.
National anthem: listen the anthem illustrated with the Tunisian coat of arms
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