Ben Ali took office in 1987 when he deposed Habib Bourguiba, who had been President since Tunisia's independence from France in 1956.
The French progressively assumed the most responsible administrative positions, and by 1884 they supervised all Tunisian government bureaus dealing with finance, post, education, telegraph, public works and agriculture.
Under the agreement Tunisia will gradually remove barriers to trade with the EU over the next decade along with 9 other Mediterranean countries.
Ending the old quasi-monarchical institution of the dey, Bourguiba envisioned a Tunisian republic which was secular, populist, and imbued with a kind of French rationalist vision of the state that was Napoleonic in spirit.
Tunisia has a diverse economy, with important agricultural, mining, energy, tourism, and manufacturing sectors.
Tunisian culture is a synthesis of various civilizations, heavily influenced in ancient times by Carthage and Rome.
In 1964, however, Tunisia entered a short lived socialist era.
Basic materials of Tunisian handicrafts are copper, wool, ceramics, jewelry, and leather.
Berber, Arab, African, and European influences have shaped the Tunisian cultural identity.
near Thapsus (modern Ras Dimas, Tunisia), much of Numidia was annexed by the Romans.
Tunisia is one of the worlds largest producers of Phosphates.
The Ottomans made Tunisia a province of their empire in 1574, and garrisoned Tunis with 4,000 Janissaries recruited from Anatolia, reinforced by Christian converts to Islam from Italy, Spain, and Provence.
Tunisia played a prominent role in ancient times, first with the famous Phoenician city of Carthage, and later, as the Africa Province, a part of the Roman Empire.
Modern Tunisians are the descendants of indigenous Berbers and of people from numerous civilizations that have invaded, migrated to, and been assimilated into the population over the millennia.
Funds from the World Bank Group in the 1960s were provided to the Education Project for Tunisia in order to begin the construction of middle and secondary schools.
The fighting ended in early 1943, and Tunisia became a base for operations for the invasion of Sicily later that year.
The Sahil is a plain along Tunisia's eastern Mediterranean coast famous for its olive monoculture.
Tunisia hosted the African Nations Cup in 1964, 1994, and 2004, and became African Nations Champion in 2004.
Until the ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, Tunisia had a strong presidential system dominated by a single political party.
The Tunisian Republic (???????? ????????), or Tunisia, with a population of over 10 million, is a predominately Muslim Arab nation situated on the North African Mediterranean Sea coast.
The Tunisian state was rebuilt by the imposition of Ottoman Empire rule in the late sixteenth century.
Tunisia is ranked most competitive economy of Africa in the 2007 edition of the Global Competitiveness Report that is released by the World Economic Forum.
At the beginning of recorded history, Tunisia was inhabited by Berber tribes who were the descendants of the pre-Arab inhabitants of North African tribes.
An abrupt southern turn of its shoreline gives Tunisia two faces on the Mediterranean and marks the division between the eastern and western sections of the Sea.
Tunisia has signed, but not ratified the Marine Life Conservation agreement.
Independence from France was achieved on March 20, 1956, as a constitutional monarchy with the Bey of Tunis, Muhammad VIII al-Amin Bey, taking reign as the king of Tunisia.
During World War II, the French authorities in Tunisia supported the Vichy government which ruled France after its capitulation to Germany in 1940.
The Ottoman Empire was comprised mostly of Turks with governors or Beys, under whom Tunisia attained virtual independence.
When the Zirids angered the Fatimids in Cairo (1050), the latter sent in the Banu Hilal, Arabs from Arabia, to ravage Tunisia.
Prior to 1958, education in Tunisia was only available to a privileged minority, about 14 percent of the population.
Today Tunisia has a sizable Christian community of around over 25,000 adherents, mainly Catholics and to a lesser degree Protestants.
Berber Christians continued to live in Tunisia up until the early fifteenth century.
On May 12, 1830, Tunisia, was made a French protectorate and in 1956 gained its independence.
In 2008, Tunisia will be a completely associated member of the E.U.
Tunisia was known as the bread basket of the Roman Empire.
The predominant lineage is Berber, with Tunisians regarding themselves as Arabs.
Julius Caesar landed in Tunisia in pursuit of Pompey and Cato the Younger, who had gained the support of the Numidian king Juma I.
Over the centuries many peoples, including Romans, Vandals, and Arabs have occupied Tunisia, though the predominant lineage prevailing is Berber.
The Almohad Dynasty was succeeded by the Hafsids Dynasty (c.1230–1574), under whom Tunisia prospered.
In 1159, Tunisia was conquered by the Almohads, caliphs of Morocco (1130–1269), who sought to purify Islamic doctrines.
Nearly all Tunisians (98 percent of the population) are Muslim while the remaining 2 percent follow Christianity and Judaism or other religions.
North of the Dorsal is the Tell, a region characterized by low, rolling hills and plains, although in the northwestern corner of Tunisia, the land reaches elevations of 1,050 meters.
The Constitution of Tunisia, adopted on January 26, 2014, guarantees rights for women and states that the President's religion "shall be Islam."
Arabic is Tunisia's main language, but French is used predominantly in the media, commercial enterprise, and government departments.
Tunisia sits on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, midway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Nile Valley.
Tunisia became a center of Arab culture and learning and was assimilated into the Turkish Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century.
Various types of high pile carpets are produced, including the Berber gatifa carpet, the mergoum widely used in central and southern Tunisia and the alloucha traditionally manufactured in Kairouan.
Unique styles of architecture are found throughout Tunisia.
In 1861, Tunisia enacted the first constitution in the Arab world, but a move toward a republic was hampered by the poor economy and political unrest.
Tunisia's association agreement with the European Union (EU) entered into force on March 1, 1998, the first such accord between the EU and Mediterranean countries to be activated.
Tunisia is a constitutional republic, with a president serving as head of state, prime minister as head of government, a unicameral parliament and a civil law court system.
Tunisian carpets are known to be of high quality craftsmanship.
The Muradid Beys eventually triumphed, and ruled until 1705, when Hussein ibn Ali of Tunisia came to power.
Despite its relatively small size, Tunisia has great geographical and climactic diversity.
On May 12 of that year, Tunisia was officially made a French protectorate.
Carthage was eventually destroyed during the Third Punic War, and Tunisia was made part of the Roman Empire.
A synthesis of various civilizations, having been settled by various peoples, Tunisia is a center of rich cultural activity.
Tunisia possesses petroleum, phosphates, iron ore, lead, zinc, salt, and arable land.