This is an article posted by the BBC.com, it is a fairly brief overview of the history of country. Mostly from a political stand point. This article is helpful from that standpoint, as it gives the reader more ideas of what to look into, an example of this is as you read through the article, you notice that there seems to be a varied history of settlers in the area. This can lead to further research and looking into who settled there and how it impacts the culture in current day economics, politics, and religion. It should also be noted that this piece was published in 2015, the world had been watching uprisings all over the middle east for several years at this point and most of non Arab countries did not fully understand the histories of these nations or what was going on. By publishing this quick over view the BBC is obviously trying to rapidly bring the worlds populace up to date on a complicated manner.
Some of the highlights of the article are they point out the founding of Tunisia is by the Phoenicians around 1100 B.C., and they founded the city of Carthage. Then by the 1600’s Carthage has become part of the expanding Ottoman Empire, although it is mostly an autonomous nation in this empire. Around 1881, France comes to occupy Tunisia, and it becomes a protectorate of France by 1883. It won’t be until 1956 that Tunisia is declared independent. The difference for Tunisia vs other protectorates or territories, this is done through nonviolent means. Through the modern history of the country, it has had some issues with terrorism and a conflicted relationship with Israel it has mostly remained a peaceful nation. It wouldn’t be until the Arab Spring came about in other parts of the Middle East that Tunisia would have their own “Jasmine Spring,” trying to bring about political reform in their own country. There has been some ongoing conflict since then, with one major attack reported around the world in Tunis March 2015, where 21 people were killed, there was another major attack in June 2015 that killed 38 people. Since then the country has been trying to repair its image world wide and bring back tourists and tourist money to the country.
This article is a more in depth encyclopedic look at the history of Tunisia, published by Britannica. While they do speak of the political aspects of the country, this article goes more into the history of the country, it’s geography, and how it’s varied past places it apart from the rest of the Middle East. It is a mostly agrarian society, with 2/3 of the country can be farmed and that 1/5 of it’s people are in some sort of agricultural profession. This article also speaks to the fact that while the country is farm-able, it is not sufficient enough to support it’s people. This leads to trade deals, mostly with the EU and in particular with France (which speaks to the two countries deep historic ties to one another). Due to their climate some of the major exports of the country are figs, olives, grapes, tomatoes, etc. They have few natural resources that can bring in a lot of money to the economy. Tunisia does have petroleum, but not in the quantity to mirror some of the other neighboring countries or other Arab nations. In their society manufacturing and other industrial industries are starting to become more advanced and diverse in order to propel the country forward. An interesting note of the country of Tunisia is its advancement of women. Women are not forced to be veiled, they do receive an education, and while men have a higher rate of literacy than women, that gap is shrinking. The country does mandate education for men and women from 6-16 years of age. There is also opportunity for university after 16 years of age. In terms of health care, the government takes care of its people, and due to this Tunisia has a higher quality of life and longevity of life vs neighboring African nations, and some Middle Eastern nations.
I will admit I was completely ignorant of Tunisia before the Jasmine Spring. Even after I learned of the existence of the country, I wrongly assumed it was much the same as a lot of the more restrictive Arab Nations and some African nations, especially in its treatment of women. It is obvious to me that the country has taken lessons from it’s own history of having different occupiers to incorporate a way to treat all of its citizens in a manner of respect that is different from some of the other countries it is often lumped in with. The more reading I do, the more progressive this nation seems to be. It is still a developing nation with a lot of room for growth, but it is trying to modernize while still respecting its own history, traditions, and people.