Tunisia, formally the Tunisian Republic, is Africa’s northernmost country, spanning 165,000 square kilometers (64,000 square miles). Cape Angela, its northernmost point, is the northernmost point on the African continent. It is bounded to the west by Algeria, to the southeast by Libya, and to the north and east by the Mediterranean Sea. In 2014, the population of Tunisia was projected to be little under 11 million people. Tunisia gets its name from its capital city, Tunis, which is located on the country’s northeast coast.
Geographically, Tunisia includes the eastern end of the Atlas Mountains as well as the northernmost parts of the Sahara Desert. The rest of the country’s terrain is mostly fertile. Its 1,300-kilometer (810-mile) coastline contains the African confluence of the western and eastern portions of the Mediterranean Basin, as well as the African mainland’s second and third closest points to Europe after Gibraltar, through the Sicilian Strait and the Sardinian Channel.
Tunisia is a democratic country with a unitary semi-presidential system. It is regarded as the Arab World’s sole true democracy. It has a high index of human development. It has an association agreement with the European Union; it is a member of La Francophonie, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Arab Maghreb Union, the Arab League, the OIC, the Greater Arab Free Trade Area, the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, the African Union, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Group of 77; and it has been designated as a major non-NATO ally by the United States. Tunisia is also a member of the United Nations and a signatory to the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute. Economic collaboration, privatization, and industrial modernisation have established close ties with Europe, particularly with France and Italy.
Tunisia was largely populated by Berbers in ancient times. In the 12th century BC, Phoenician colonists arrived and built Carthage. Carthage, a key commercial and military competitor of the Roman Republic, was conquered by the Romans in 146 BC. The Romans, who occupied Tunisia for the majority of the following eight centuries, brought Christianity and left architectural monuments such as the El Djemamphitheater. Following repeated efforts beginning in 647, the Arabs invaded Tunisia in 697, followed by the Ottomans between 1534 and 1574. For almost three hundred years, the Ottomans ruled the world. Tunisia was conquered by the French in 1881. Tunisia proclaimed independence with Habib Bourguiba in 1957 and established the Tunisian Republic. The Tunisian Revolution of 2011 culminated in the removal of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was thereafter replaced by legislative elections. On October 26, 2014, the country voted for a new parliament, and on November 23, 2014, it voted for a new president.