Countries General Knowledge

10 Facts about Tunisia

Tunisia is an African country which borders Mediterranean sea and Sahara desert. The capital of Tunisia is Tunis. The currency of Tunisia is Tunisian dinar and it borders Algeria and Libya on the west and east respectively. It has a population of 11.7m as of 2020. The article attempts to create awareness about Tunisia and after its complete reading, the learner would come to know 10 interesting facts about Tunisia.

1. Tunisia was once ruled by France

France as well as Italy, due to the close proximity, were more than interested in occupying Tunisia. A century earlier, Europe was pretty busy in expanding its borders in search of greater prosperity and economy. The French interest in Tunisia explains the same phenomenon. Tunisia became a protectorate of France in 1881.

The rule of France was established decades after they had successfully taken control of the Algeria. Algeria as well as Tunisia before the annexation was under the rule of Ottoman Empire.

2. In 1956, Tunisia obtained Freedom

The history of twentieth century is full of nations seeking their independence, and eventually a number of countries emerged on the world map; as colonisation ended. In the same manner, Tunisia also obtained its freedom in 1956 from the France. Before the rule of French, Muslims from Arab (7th Century AD) had taken control of the territory. In the past, Phoenicians (9th Century BC) and Romans (2nd Century BC) had a control on the territory.

3. Arab Spring – A political movement for Justice, started in Tunisia

Street protests in Tunisia began in the year 2010, over the pretext of political activism. The growing agitation in public demanded a new regime in the country. Protests were carried out around the country because of un-employment, corruption, poverty and inflation.

The Tunisian revolution is called as Jasmine Revolution and it was a 28-day intensive campaign of the civil resistance. The result of the protests were the ouster of the ruling president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011.

4. Tunisian Crochet is a Different kind of Crochet

Tunisian Crochet is pretty famous. It’s a different kind of crochet and the person who makes it, applies the usage an elongated hook for its knitting. The elongated hook is often called as an Afghan Hook. It would be correct to say that this particular crochet utilises some techniques from knitting as some from crochet making. In addition to it, the maker works with more loops on the elongated hook, at a time. A greater number of loops allows the maker to form different types of stitches as compared to the common crochet.

5. Arab form the major ethnic group in Tunisia

Arabic is the official language in Tunisia. Arab-Berbers form the major ethnic group in the country. In addition to it, minorities such as European and Jewish constitution 1% each, also reside in Tunisia. One thing is interesting to note, that Arabic is accepted as the official language; however, Two-Third of the population speaks French.

6. Islam is the Major Religion in Tunisia

Around 99.1% of Tunisians, adhere to Islam. Their religious views belong to the Sunni sect. Islam after its spread in 7th century had a major influence on the world. Tunisia residents fought off the Romans; however, the city of Carthage eventually was conquered. Later in 7th century, Muslim Arabs conquered Tunisia and the native Berbers accepted Islam as their religion. Islam left a major influence on the Northern Africa, as Fatimid Caliphate ruled successfully on the region.

7. Tunisia Exports Textile Products and Electrical Equipments

The economy of Tunisia, after the independence in 1956, was pretty weak. Therefore, the later decade it struggled to keep up with Foreign Direct Investment and Exports for sake of bolstering the economy. The major exports (as of 2017 data) shows that Electrical Equipments and Textile Products form a majority of remittance for Tunisia. The total exports in the year 2017 stood at $16.1bn, electrical equipments made 32% of the exports while Textile products accounted for 22%.

Despite an initial good growth rate of decades, amounting to around 5-4%; the cronyism and corruption lead towards Arab Spring in the year 2010. The economy took a hit, currently it is reeling from the effects of the revolution.

8. Archaeological site of Carthage is in Tunisia

Carthage, an ancient city, which shows how humans started to form civilisation in the past for the first time. The city was founded in 814 BC. The city was setup by the Phoenicians who were master traders of their time.

Phoenicia, the strip of land, lies near Palestine in the Mediterranean sea. In those ancient times, it paid tributes to Egyptians and Assyrians. In North Africa, the city of Carthage was an important city for sake of trade. Later, Alexander occupied Phoenicians territories and colonies in 333 BC.

In 1979, UNESCO added the site into World Heritage List in 1979.

9. There are 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Tunisia

There are 8 World Heritage Sites in Tunisia as declared by the UNESCO. The list along with their declaration date as heritage site, includes Amphitheatre of El Jem (1979), Archaeological Site of Carthage (1979), Dougga / Thugga (1997), Kairouan (1988), Medina of Sousse (1988), Medina of Tunis (1979), Punic Town of Kerkuane and its Necropolis (1985,1986)

The Amphitheatre of El Jem shows the 3rd century AD Roman empire interests in entertainment. Kairouan shows the rich heritage of the muslim rule in the region. Similarly, Medina of Tunis, which was once the richest cities in the Islamic world, also shows the grand history of the city.

10. Kairouan is an important city in the history of Islam

The city was established by the Umayyads dynasty in around 670 AD. In 661 AD, The Rashidun Caliphate ended and Umayyads took the reign of the Islamic world in their control. It became an important centre for learning Islam; therefore, became a major attraction of the time. The Mosque of Uqba is a major tourist destination as well as an important site for many muslims around the globe. It was established by the Arab general Uqba ibn Nafi.

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