History of Tunisia
Tunisia is not only beaches with soft sand and warm sun, it is also a great opportunity to organize a rich excursion program, the number of historical attractions in the country is huge. To its archaeological riches, Tunisia owes a rich and interesting history, which we will briefly recount on this page.
The purpose of this article is to tell the history of Tunisia briefly, but the concept of "briefly" is different for all readers. For someone 5 pages A4 - it's really brief and a little, but someone these 5 pages is too lazy to read.
For this reason, we present two versions. The first is very brief about 3 pages A4, the second one is more complete, where we dwelled in detail on the iconic events and the most interesting places in the history of Tunisia, it takes about 14 pages A4.
History of Tunisia - very short version
The pre-natal period
For the first time people appeared on the territory of Tunisia 200,000 years ago. The first culture was formed about 10 000 years BC. About 5,000 years BC. a culture of Berbers - indigenous people of Tunisia. Berbers engaged in farming and cattle breeding, primitive ceramics and the beginnings of religion.
Punic period (814 - 146 years of the day)
About 1200-1000 years BC. the Greeks and Phoenicians reached a high level of cultural development and began to create colonies throughout the Mediterranean coast. In Tunisia, the first were the Phoenicians. Of the colonies founded by them, Carthage achieves the greatest development.
Carthage expands its sphere of influence and inevitably encounters with Rome. Conflict of interest leads to the famous Punic Wars.
The First Punic War (264-241 years) broke out over the islands of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica. The military fleet of Carthage at the beginning of the war was stronger, but the Romans built their fleet and won a major naval battle. Following the war, Carthage lost all possessions on the islands.
The Second Punic War (218-201 years of the day). At the beginning of the war, the famous general Hannibal Barka crossed with the army of the Alps, invaded Italy, defeated several Roman armies, but did not dare to storm Rome. Meanwhile, the Romans sent an army to Tunisia, threatening the city of Carthage. In the Battle of Zam the Romans were defeated, all the achievements of Hannibal were lost, and Carthage was forced to sign a humiliating peace treaty. Carthage lost all the far territories, was obliged to pay reparations and coordinate all political and military decisions with the Senate in Rome.
The Third Punic War (149-146 years). Rome used the non-compliance of the Carthaginians with the treaty - their conflict with Numidia. The Roman army landed in Tunisia and besieged Carthage. Three years the Romans besieged the city and in 146 they took it by storm. Carthage was completely destroyed.
The Roman period (146 days - 439 ne)
The Romans passed all over Tunisia, some cities were looted, some left untouched. In all these cities, the Romans and Greeks settle. Cities are rebuilt according to Roman principles. The province of Africa (the so-called at that time the territory of Tunisia) is getting richer in income from the trade and sale of olive oil.
The Emperor Augustus orders to build in place of Carthage a new Roman city - the new capital of the province of Africa.
In 238, the local population and the elite support the Gordian, a pretender to the throne of the Roman Empire. In retaliation, another challenger Maximinus destroys several large cities.
Conquest and the Kingdom of Vandals (439-534)
The Vandals conquered Tunisia without much difficulty, the province of Africa was never belligerent. The Vandals gained power, but did not change anything. They simply used the country as a springboard and a supply base in their raids on the coastal cities of other countries.
Byzantine period (534 - 670 years)
Byzantines as easily conquered the coastal part of the country, but the internal areas were occupied by Berbers, the Byzantines did not obey. This period of history is a time of chaos and hundreds of small skirmishes between Byzantines and Berbers.
The Arab conquest of Tunisia (647 - 705)
The seizure of Tunisia by the Arabs lasted 58 years and passed in three stages. On the first march in 647, the Arab army defeated the Byzantine forces, but decided not to try to gain a foothold in the country and left, having received a large ransom.
In the second campaign in 670, the Arabs conquered much of the country, founded several cities, including Kairouan, but the army of the Arabs moved farther west, not completing the capture to the end. The uprising broke out, the Arabs lost their positions. In the third campaign in 698, the conquest was over.
In the country there was a real humanitarian catastrophe. Millions of people died, were stolen into slavery or fled to rural areas or to other countries. The population before the expansion of the Arabs was Roman and Greek, and after it became Arabic and Berber.
The Arab period (670 - 1574 years)
The Arab period is characterized by a spasmodic growth of the economy and culture. There were periods of prosperity and high incomes from the sale of olive oil and transit trade. There were moments of civil wars, dynasty changes and ruin. The life of people in this period almost did not change.
Until 800, Tunisia was part of the Arab Caliphate. In 800, Ibrahim ibn al-Aglab conquered power, he gained recognition of the autonomy of Tunisia as part of the Arab Caliphate. The dynasty of the Aglabids founded by him ruled from 800 to 909.
In 909, a major uprising took place, Abu Abdallah captured power, he declared himself the Messiah (Arab: Mahdi), built a new capital, the city of Mahdia, and founded a new dynasty of the Fatimids. The Fatimid caliphs did not want to linger in Tunisia, they dreamed of conquering the entire Arab world and moved east into Egypt.
Abu Abdallah himself could not conquer Egypt, but it succeeded to his descendants. Fatimids conquered Egypt and founded the city of Cairo. The power in Tunisia was transferred to the governor Bulbulin ibn Ziri. He and his descendants ruled independently as the Zirid dynasty, but nominally in the Fatimid caliphate until 1048, when the ruler Sharaf al-Dawl al-Muiz declared independence from the Fatimids. The next 100 years of political instability resulted in the conquest of Tunis by Caliph Abd al-Mumin in 1160, the country became part of his Almohad caliphate.
In 1229, Abu Zakariya seized power, he founded the Hafsid dynasty, which ruled until 1574. It was a long period of political stability and economic growth.
The Ottoman period (1574 - 1881)
In the 16th century, two powers collapsed in the Mediterranean - Spain and the Ottoman Empire. Tunisia became the arena of their struggle, the Turks defeated. Tunisia was part of the Ottoman Empire. At first the Turks ruled the country through their governors, but in 1591 the Janissaries raised a riot and in the country there were two rulers - their dey and the Turkish governor.
Al-Husayn I bin Ali received the title of Bey (ruler) in 1705. He and his descendants ruled Tunisia until 1957, this is the dynasty of the Husseinids.
The country during this period lived peacefully and calmly. Bey did not attempt to implement reforms until Ahmad Bey did not dare to do so in 1837. In 1846 slavery was completely abolished. There were attempts to reform the army, but without much success. In 1861, the first in the Arab world Tunisia adopted the constitution. However, the economic crisis could not be stopped, in 1869 the country was bankrupt and became dependent on France and other European countries.
The French protectorate (1881 - 1956)
The French conquered Tunisia easily in 1881. The country began to rule the French administration. This period of history is considered progressive, the French developed agriculture, built railways, modernized ports.
In the Second World War, Tunisia was subjected to the occupation of Italy, then the African Corps of Germans landed under the command of Rommel. Attempts by the Germans to conquer Egypt and gain control of the Suez Canal failed, the British drove the Germans and Italians back to Tunisia. Here, most of the armies capitulated on the peninsula of Cap Bon.
The Tunisian Republic (1957 - present moment)
After the Second World War, the independence movement in Tunisia became more active. One of its leaders is Habib Bourguiba. In 1952, protests and strikes begin, the country is paralyzed, people demand independence from France.
In 1954, the French agree to autonomy, unable to contain the excitement of the people. In 1956, an agreement was signed, according to which Tunisia became independent. In 1957, the creation of the Tunisian Republic was announced, and Habib Bourguiba became president.
Habib Bourguiba managed Tunisia for 30 years - from 1957 to 1987. He has extensive reforms in education and health, agriculture and transport. Some reforms have been successful, some have not. But the people remembered him exclusively as a hero of the nation.
In 1987, already sick Habib Bourguibu displaces Ben Ali, he runs the country until 2011. The economy in his reign was growing, but corruption was growing, people were dissatisfied with the low standard of living and lack of freedom. In December 2010, unrest begins, and in January 2011, President Ben Ali is overthrown.
From 2011 to the present, Tunisia lives in a state of political instability. However, the political struggle is carried out exclusively by democratic methods, this is not reflected in tourists. More information about the current state of Tunisia read in the article " Modern Tunisia - information and facts ".
The history of Tunisia is brief, but with interesting details
The pre-natal period
On the peninsula of Cap Bon near the town of Kelibia, stone tools dating from 200,000 BC were found. It is believed that it was at this moment that the first people appeared on the territory of modern Tunisia.
The first culture here was formed around 10 000 BC (the Mesolithic Age). This culture was named by historians Capzian in honor of the city of Gafs, near which stone blades, tools and figures were found.
In Tunisia, works of "painting on the Sahara stone" are found - these rock paintings, such are found throughout the Sahara desert. The pictures depict hunting scenes, hunters with weapons and masks, their prey - buffaloes, elephants, donkeys, wild horses, sheep and other animals. It is not known whether these drawings belong to the proto-Berbers or to the black African peoples who migrated to Tunisia from the south.
About 5000 years before our era, an early Berber culture developed. In the photo on the right is the legendary queen of Berbers named Tin-Hinan. It is considered the ancestor of the Tuareg tribe, it is named after their name SUV company Volkswagen. She also became famous for killing all those wooing her. The Berbers are a stern people.
Local Berbers have already been engaged in farming, growing wheat, barley, peas and other legumes. They tamed animals, bred sheep, goats and cattle.
The first pottery appears - plates, large dishes, cups and bowls. In those days the Berbers still did not use the potter's wheel, which was later brought to Tunisia by the Phoenicians. Berber ceramics were primitive, but this was the beginning of the formation of the pottery art of Tunisia .
Berbers have already formed a complex culture of burial and rudiments of religion. It is from the burials of the ancient Berbers that archeologists obtain evidence of their cultural development - ceramics, treated stone arrowheads, scraps of tissue.
The religion of the ancient Berbers is not documented in any way, we can only guess about it, relying on finds from burials. Berbers worshiped the forces of nature, idolized water bodies, rocks, rocks. Cult symbols of strength and masculinity were animals - a lion, a bull, a ram.
The cult symbols of the female were sea shells. In the Berber culture, phallic symbols, supposedly protecting from the evil eye, were common. On early mosaics and drawings of Berbers often there are fish, the meaning of this symbol is not exactly solved.
Punic period (814 - 146 years of the day)
About 1000 years before our era, the Phenicia and Greece regions experienced unprecedented economic growth. The population grew rapidly, which caused a wave of colonization. The Phoenicians and Greeks were skilled navigators and traders, they began to establish colonies throughout the Mediterranean. In Tunisia, the Phoenicians first came, the Greeks were late, their only major colony was the city of Neopolis in the place of the modern city of Nabeul .
The Phoenicians founded colonies and trading posts from 11th to 8th centuries. The colony of Carthage (in the picture on the left) was founded relatively late - in 814 the day, this date is given to us by the ancient Greek historian Timaeus of Taurromania.
Roman historians Guy Sallustius Crisp and Pliny the Elder insist on earlier dates - "for several hundred years to the remaining Phoenician colonies," but their version does not yet have archaeological evidence.
The name "Carthage" from Phoenician translates as "New City". An interesting legend is connected with the city's foundation.
The Legend of the Founding of Carthage
The Phoenician text of this legend is not preserved, we are forced to rely on Roman sources.
Queen Dido of the city of Tire was forced to flee, fleeing from enemies at court and palace intrigues. With the fleet of ships, she sailed west. This story was told in detail by the Roman historian Gnaeus Pompeii Trog. According to other versions, Dido was not Queen of Tire, but a princess, then we will call her that.
Arriving in Tunisia, Princess Dido decided to found the city, but the local Berbers were clearly against. They agreed to sell the land to Dido for the city, but they said they would give up as much land as "fit in one bull".
Dido was cunning, she cut the skin into narrow strips, tied these strips together and girded the hill of Bierce, it was from there that for tourists begins an excursion to Carthage . The Berbers were forced to give the hill to Didon, from this hill began Carthage.
This legend tells us the ancient Roman poet Virgil in his poem Aeneid. In the photo there is a picture "The Death of Dido" by the German painter Heinrich Friedrich Füger.
Carthage and Rome
For several centuries Carthage became the largest colony and completely independent state. Almost all the other Phoenician colonies in North Africa, Spain, the islands of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica entered the state of Carthage. Carthage became the most powerful power in the western Mediterranean.
In the 6th century, the day Carthage encounters with Rome, the first trade agreement is concluded in 509 AD. However, the conflicts of interest between Rome and Carthage only multiplied over the years. In 264 the day the First Punic War began.
The First Punic War (264-241 years) broke out over the island of Sicily. Carthage had a stronger fleet, but in terms of the quality and size of the land army, Rome was stronger. During the war, the Romans captured the Phoenician warship and built their own fleet of the same ships. Rome won in the beginning the main naval battle, and then land battles in Sicily and Sardinia.
Carthage lost, but was not broken. Opponents regained strength, rested, and in 218 the Second Punic War (218-201 years of the day) began. Carthage General Hannibal Barka crossed the Alps from Spain to Italy and inflicted several defeats on the Roman legions. Some cities in Italy have moved to the side of Hannibal, in particular, Pompeii .
It seemed that Rome would now fall, but the Romans had a huge mobilization potential, they put a new one on each defeated legion. Hannibal did not dare to storm Rome, and the Romans took advantage of his indecision and landed an army near Carthage. Hannibal was forced to return from Italy back to Tunisia, he lost all his achievements in Italy.
The final battle of the Second Punic War - the Battle of Zama took place in 202 AD. The Romans, under the command of Scipio of Africa, defeated the army of Carthage. The results of the war were unfavorable for Carthage - the obligation to pay a huge contribution, the loss of all land, except adjacent to the city of Carthage.
The Romans were very worried about the danger of the revival of Carthage, although there was no objective chance of regaining the former greatness of the Carthaginians. Cato the Elder ended his every speech in the Senate with the phrase "and I also think that Carthage must be destroyed."
In 149, the Third Punic War began (149-146 years), although the word "war" is difficult to name the action, the word "extermination" is more appropriate. The Romans landed in Tunisia and took the city of Carthage in siege.
Three years the Romans besieged the city. In the history books write about the heroic defense of Carthage, but this is not entirely true. The Romans long besieged the city because of administrative delays. The army was commanded by one of the consuls of Rome, and the consul was elected for one year. The consul took office, came to the siege, understood the situation, imposed at least some order in the troops and ... .. it was time to return back, as the term ended. In addition, some of the soldiers were peasants, they occasionally had to return back for sowing and harvesting.
In 146, Consul Scipio Emilian arrived in the army, he brought order to the troops and led the army to storm. What was happening in the camp of the Roman troops at the time of his arrival, we will not even describe, the article can be read by children.
Carthage was taken and plundered, its inhabitants killed or taken into slavery. The Romans destroyed all the buildings in Carthage, and the ground was covered with salt, so that nothing grew in this land. By the way, the sprinkling of salt was symbolic; these are rather beautiful words. Salt at the time was insanely expensive.
Results of the Punic period
Modern Tunisians and now with nostalgia recall the era of Carthage, when their city was the center of the cultural world and owned half of the Mediterranean. The name of the city and its famous generals is now actively used. Let us recall the Carthage Land amusement park in the resort of Yasmine Hammamet . The Queen of Dido is depicted on coins of the Tunisian dinar . A lot of hotels are named after Hannibal, Gastrubal and Hamelkar.
As a result of the victory of Rome, the land of modern Tunisia for a century turned provincial and subordinate to other empires.
The Romans not only destroyed Carthage, but also systematically destroyed the Punic culture. Most Punic cities in the territory of modern Tunisia were looted, occupied by the Romans and subsequently rebuilt. Now we have only one Punic city, which the inhabitants abandoned before the arrival of the Romans, and it was untouched. This is the city of Kerkuan near the resort of Hammamet .
The only whole Punic building archaeologists found in the city of Dugga . Artifacts of the Punic period, even in Tunisian museums, can hardly be found.
The Roman period (146 days - 439 ne)
The Romans walked with fire and sword all over Tunisia, ravaging Punic cities, looting and enslaving the population. However, some cities remained untouched, for example, the city of Hadrim in the place of the modern resort of Sousse , before the siege of Carthage, went over to the side of the Romans.
The Romans began an active colonization of the territory of Tunisia, they had an urgent need for it. Roman soldiers received arable land as a reward for service, and the lands in Italy ended, a new source of land was needed.
Most of the cities in Tunisia were populated by the Romans. At the beginning, the capital of the province was Utica. Then the emperor Octavian Augustus ordered the construction of a new large city in the place of Carthage, and this city became the new capital of the province.
In the years 46-47 there were important battles of the civil war between Caesar and Pompey. Caesar won, and Pompey fled to Egypt, where he was killed.
In the Roman period, the lands of Tunisia prospered. Let us recall at least the fact that the third largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire was located on the site of the city of El Jem , in size and capacity of the spectators, it was inferior only to the Colosseum in Rome and the arena of the city of Capua. The wealth of the inhabitants of the province can now be estimated for luxury in their homes. Archaeologists have found in Tunisia hundreds of large mosaics that can now be viewed in the capital of the country in the Bardo Museum .
Tunisia quickly rebuilt its agriculture from growing cereals to olives. The region became the largest supplier of olive oil throughout the Roman Empire. When the authorities in Rome organized a free distribution of oil, consumption grew to astronomical proportions, and with it grew the wealth of Tunisians.
In addition to oil, the city received huge profits from trade, because Tunisia became a transport hub in trade between Central Africa and the Mediterranean. The island of Djerba and the port on the site of modern Zarzis have become the main transshipment points in the trade of ivory, black slaves, spices and incenses.
In the political struggle in the Roman Empire, Africans rarely took part. You can remember only 238 - the year of six emperors, when the province of Africa nominated its candidate for the throne, but nothing good came of it. Troops loyal to the emperor Maxim Traks suppressed the uprising, many cities were destroyed, including Tizdra and Udnu .
Residents of the province preferred to grow rich and enjoy life, and not to fight and weave intrigues. Such uninvolvedness played them a bad service.
Conquest and the Kingdom of Vandals (439-534)
Peacefulness did not benefit, in 439 AD, the territory of Tunisia is conquered by Germanic vandals under the leadership of the leader Heiserich.
Vandals tried not to interfere in the economy and social sphere, they were more interested in hikes, battles and raids. Tunisia lived his life under Roman law, and vandals used the country as an economic base for military campaigns.
Byzantine period (534 - 670 years)
In 534, the army of the Byzantine Empire under the command of General Belizarius defeated the vandals and annexed the territory of Tunisia to the empire.
Byzantines kept coastal cities, their influence did not extend deep into the country. On the coast ruled the Byzantines, in the depths of the Berbers lived their lives. In fact, for a long time the country was in a state of protracted and sluggish civil war. By the time of the arrival of Arabs in Tunisia in 670, there was simply no one to resist.
The Arab period (670 - 1574 years)
In a sense, this period lasts until the present moment, because most of the population of the country now is the Arabs. The Arab period was counted from 670 (the second Arab march to Tunisia) and ended in 1574, when these lands became part of the Ottoman Empire.
The Arab conquest of Tunisia (647 - 705)
About the campaigns of the Arabs and the conquest of Tunisia in popular articles are written little, but in vain, because the topic is extremely interesting. The conquest lasted more than 50 years and passed in three stages.
It was the bloodiest time in the history of the country. Before the arrival of the Arabs, most of the population of Tunisia was Roman and Greek, and after the conquest of the Greeks and the Romans there was almost no left.
The population of the city of Carthage in the Byzantine period was estimated at about 300,000 people, after the city was taken by the Arabs, the population became 0, that is, the city ceased to exist. The number of dead and taken to slavery is estimated at approximately 2-3 million people. It was one of the largest humanitarian catastrophes of the Middle Ages.
The first campaign of the Arabs (647)
The Arab army moved west from Egypt. In 647, the Arabs entered the territory of Tunisia. For them it was more a reconnaissance battle than a full invasion.
The governor of the Byzantine Empire, named Grigory Patriky, took advantage of the situation of the Arab threat, declared himself emperor, moved the capital inland to the city of Sufetula and assembled an army to fight the Arabs. Grigory Patrikian even promised his daughter to be married to the one who will kill the Arab commander in battle.
The battle was won by the Arabs, the daughter of the newly emperor went to the commander of the Arabs - Abdullah ibn Zubayr. Grigory Patricki died in battle, judging by the Arabic chronicles, Abdullah ibn Zubayr struck him in battle personally.
The Arabs besieged the city of Sufetul, seized him and plundered him. A new Byzantine governor and Berbers offered the Arabs a home. The Arabs agreed that a full-fledged conquest was not included in their plans at that time. The size of the purchase and loot was amazing - 3 thousand dinars for equestrian and 1 thousand dinars for the foot soldier of the Arab army.
Arabs returned to Egypt rich.
The second campaign of the Arabs (670)
The Arab conquest of North Africa was interrupted for some time. In 656, Caliph Uthman was killed, civil war broke out between the Arabs. Since 661 the situation begins to stabilize with the advent of the Umayyad dynasty.
In 665, a new campaign began, the Arab army numbered 40,000 soldiers under the command of General Uqba ibn Nafi. By 670, the army had reached the territory of Tunisia.
This time the intentions were serious. The Arabs defeated the Byzantine army and founded the city of Kairouan, created a base for conquering the country. Further, the Arab forces systematically conquered the Greek cities and the Berber tribes of Tunisia.
Probably, this process was not very interesting for Uqba ibn Nafi. Conquering only part of the country, he moved with his army further west to Algeria and Morocco. In the absence of a strong Arab army, rebellions broke out in the country. The rebels were supported from Constantinople - the Byzantines sent an army.
The Arabs were defeated at the Battle of Biscra, General Uqba ibn Nafi was killed. On this second attempt to conquer failed.
The third campaign of the Arabs (698)
Again, in the center of the Arab Caliphate, the struggle for power intensified. In the year 680 the caliph died Muavia, in the next five years four caliphs were replaced. Only by 692 the situation was normal when the troops of Caliph Abdul-Malik took Mecca and killed Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr, the main political opponent of the Umayyad lineage.
Restoring order in the caliphate, the Umayyads decided to continue the conquest of North Africa. In 698, an army of 40,000 people, under the command of Hasan ibn al-Numan, invaded Tunisia. The Arabs quickly took over the internal areas, but the coast had not yet been touched. They approached Carthage.
At that time, European countries have already realized the Arab threat. Carthage was defended with "the whole world", militiamen from refugees from Tripoli, soldiers from Constantinople, Visigothic warriors from Spain gathered here, and the bay was protected by ships from Sicily. The Arabs had to retreat.
But the following year they again approached Carthage. This time the Arabs prepared better and took the city. Next, they plundered the city of Utica. Further, systematically took and plundered all major cities.
And even after the capture of all major cities, the Arab conquest of Tunisia did not end. A few years after the capture of Carthage the uprising was lifted by the Berbers. The Arabs had to sit out in the cities and wait for reinforcements from the caliphate.
The conquest ended only in 705, it lasted from 647 to 705 years - 58 years.
Results of the Arab conquest
The lands of Tunisia have changed beyond recognition. Rich and densely populated coastal cities ceased to exist. The Romans and Greeks either were able to immigrate from the country, or were exterminated, or enslaved. According to Musa bin Nuseir, appointed by the Arab governor, 300,000 people fell into slavery.
New cities were founded by the Arabs. Carthage was completely destroyed, and its buildings served as a source of building materials. At the site of Carthage, the Arabs justified the Tunisian naval base, which later expanded to a large city.
However, some peoples did not affect the conquest. The Berbers continued to live in deserts, the Jewish communities survived.
As part of the Arab caliphate under the Umayyads and Abbasids (705 - 800 years)
Tunisia was building a new Muslim society and state. New cities were founded, now known as popular resorts, this is Sousse and Hammamet, the first version of the medina of Tunisia is under construction.
Around 750 in Morocco, a Berber rebellion broke out, which was suppressed, but destabilized the situation throughout the Maghreb. In fact, by the year 750 the power of the Arab Caliphate from Damascus no longer controlled Tunisia. In 750 the caliphate of the Umayyads ceased to exist.
There was a new dynasty of Abbasids with the capital in Baghdad, but it also could not take control of Tunisia. Officials from Baghdad tried to impose their orders on Tunisians, but only irritated people. The country has already formed a local elite, which did not accept the decrees of the Caliph and its administration.
The dynasty of Aghlabids (800-909)
Ibrahim ibn al-Aglab was a talented manager, politician and military leader. He commanded well-trained troops, restored order to the lands of Tunisia and in 800 sent the Caliph Harun al-Rashid to Baghdad a proposal to appoint him a full-fledged governor of Ifrikia (this term was then meant for Tunisia and the surrounding territories of Libya in the east and Algeria in the west) with the title of emir and the right to inherit the title and position. In fact, he asked for the crown of Tunisia.
Caliph reluctantly agreed, he had no choice, because Tunisia had long since emerged from the control of the Arab Caliphate. From 800 to 909, Ibrahim and his descendants ruled the country, they went down in history as the dynasty of the Aglabids.
It was an era of prosperity, the city was growing rapidly, trade flourished. The city of Kairouan became the political and cultural center of the whole Maghreb, its Great Mosque in the photo on the left. New cities were built, which are now well known to tourists - Nabeul, Sfax , Monastir . In the city of Tunisia, the Zaytun Mosque and the University of Eze-Zitouna have been built, and the "Three Doors Mosque" is being built in Kairouan.
There were also serious military successes. In 831 the army of the Arabs conquered Sicily, having founded a Muslim state on the island. In 846, another Arab attack was made against Rome, plundering the city.
However, not all loved the Aghlabids inside the country. The senior leadership of the army considered the power of the dynasty illegitimate. In 824-826, an uprising broke out in the army, which was suppressed only with the help of Berbers and black slave soldiers. The aforementioned campaign against Sicily was intended to calm the military opposition, and not to seize new lands.
The clergy were displeased with the Aghlabids. The Emirs were presented with claims in a way that was too loose, not conforming to the norms of Islam. For example, their passion for wine was criticized. The clergy were dissatisfied with the close ties of the rulers with the Berbers.
In the year 903, the 11th and final emir of Ziadat Allah III ordered the execution of his brothers and uncles, as he was afraid for his life, because his father was killed at the hands of the hired killer. In fact, the dynasty self-destructed. Ziadat Allah III himself lost the respect of the people, the military and the clergy. His defeat was only a matter of time.
The dynasty of the Fatimids (909 - 1171 years)
Dissatisfaction with the Aghlabids gave rich soil for uprisings and the arrival of a new power in the country. Abu Abdallah led an uprising of the discontented Ismailis (adherents of the Shiite branch of Islam called "Ismailism"). In 909, the rebels took Kairouan, and Abu Abdallah proclaimed himself caliph and took the name of El-Mahdi. He proclaimed that his family originated from Fatima Zahra - the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed, hence the name of the dynasty.
El-Mahdi is building a new city where the capital passes. This is a well-known resort and the city of Mahdia . In the photo to the right, the main gate of Mahdia, called Skifa Kahla, has long been one of the symbols of the Maghreb architecture and the country of Tunisia.
Tunisia was not the goal for El-Mahdi, he dreamed of conquering all the territories of the Arab Caliphate. Tunisia, he used as a base for the invasion of Egypt. In 914 and 919 his army took Alexandria, but the troops of the Abbasids both times defeated him. Only in 969 the 4th caliph Al-Muiz Lidinillah was able to conquer Egypt, he founded the city of Cairo. Caliph Al-Muiz moved to Egypt, moved the capital there.
Tunisia no longer worried the Fatimid dynasty. They delegated authority in the country to the Berber Bullugin Ibn Ziri.
The board of the Zirid family (972 - 1160)
This is a very difficult period in the history of Tunisia. It began with prosperity and military successes at Bullugin Ibn Ziri, continued with the economic decline with its descendants and ended with the country's withdrawal from the Fatimid caliphate.
Bullugin ibn Ziri firmly held power, several of his campaigns to the west ended in success. With his descendants, Tunisia prospered, but the economic crisis began. The demand for goods from Africa dropped sharply. Tunisia received a lot from the transit trade in African goods: ivory, incense, dyes, slaves. But in Europe, consumption of these goods was declining, in addition other countries of the Maghreb developed transit trade through their ports. Traders from Genoa, Pisa and other Italian cities began to encroach on the sea of Tunisian merchants.
In 1048, the ruler Sharaf al-Dawl al-Muizz ibn Badis declared independence from the Shiite Caliphate of the Fatimids and loyalty to the Sunni caliphate of the Abbasids in Baghdad. It was not only political, but also religious transition with very serious consequences, thousands of Shiites were executed.
The Fatimids in response sanctioned the migration to Tunis of the Arab tribes of Banu Hilal, who in the decisive battle in 1057 defeated the Zirid forces and plundered Kairouan. If before the arrival of the tribes of Banu Hilal, the population of Tunisia was for the most part Berber, then it became Arab. The period of the resettlement of the Arabs Banu Hilal in the country completed not only Islamization, but also Arabization of Tunisia.
For the next 100 years Tunisia lived in political instability until the country fell under Almohad power.
The Almohad Dynasty (1160 - 1229)
The Almohad movement was born in the south of Morocco, the founder is the theologian Muhammad ibn Tumart. Movement Almohad conquered Morocco, part of Spain, Algeria. Caliph Abd al-Mumin arrived in Tunisia, where the situation was depressing. To political instability another problem was added, the Normans from Sicily captured most of the coastal cities of the country - Mahdia, Sfax, Gabes and the entire island of Djerba.
By 1160, the Almohads had completely supplanted the Christians from Tunisia, the country had become part of the Almohad caliphate.
These years in the history of the country are characterized by relative prosperity. In the 1180s, ganids from the Balearic Islands conquered part of the country.
The Hafsid dynasty (1129-1574)
Muhammad ibn Tumat had ten closest followers, with whom he jointly made decisions. One of the ten was Abu Hafs Umar Anti, he was a brave warrior, was wounded in the Battle of Marrakech in 1130. His children and grandchildren held high positions in the Almohad caliphate.
Grandson of Abu Zakaria was appointed governor of Gabes, and then in 1226 became governor of the city of Tunisia. In 1229, during another rebellion, he declared independence. He quickly subjugated the entire territory of Tunisia and part of neighboring Algeria and Libya. The dynasty changed, but in the country little has changed. The Hafsids retained the power structure adopted under the Almohads.
The rule of the Hafsids is an era of prosperity of the country, wars were rare. In 1270, the crusaders of the 8th Crusade, led by King Louis IX of France, landed near the city of Tunis. But there were no major battles, an epidemic broke out in the camp of the Crusaders, on which the 8th Crusade ended.
At the beginning of the reign of the Hafsid dynasty from the west, Tunisia was threatened by the rulers of Morocco from the Marinid dynasty. Twice Moroccans took the city of Tunisia in 1347 and 1357, and twice Tunisians beat the city back.
Tunisia thrived on revenues from transit trade between Europe and "black" Africa. The Caliphs of Hafsidi established the work of customs and port services. From each passing through ports of cargo the tax from 5 to 10% from cost was levied. These goods were organized stored in state warehouses in sealed form, until they were loaded onto the ship.
The design, accounting and control involved a large bureaucratic apparatus. According to eyewitnesses, the full registration of cargo in the Tunisian ports at that time took only two days. Even by today's standards, this is very fast. In customs, only sharifs (people of noble origin) served.
In the Hafsid period, there is a massive immigration of Muslims from Spain. Christians oppressed Muslims, this great war went down in history under the name of Reconquista. The war ended only in 1492 with the fall of Granada. Muslims of the mass went to the Maghreb countries.
Along with the Muslims, Jews fled, the Christians of Europe were very intolerant of all religions. Many immigrants preferred Tunisia to other countries of the Maghreb, enriching Tunisian styles of architecture, ceramics and music .
By the way, the Jewish diasporas live in Tunisia for a very long time, the first Jews came to the island of Djerba in the 6th century BC. They built the synagogue of El-Grib , which now claims the title of the oldest surviving synagogue in the world.
In one of the families of such immigrants a boy was born - a future great philosopher, historian and sociologist, the pride of Tunisia and Tunisians, which for them is about the same as for us Mendeleev. His name is Ibn Khaldun, his statue tourists look in the city of Tunisia on the Avenue of Habib Bourguiba .
The struggle for the Mediterranean - Spain and the Ottoman Empire
In 1453, the Turks stormed Constantinople, having won all of Asia Minor from Christians. The formation of their great power, the Ottoman Empire, began. The battle-hardened and warlike Turks begin their expansion into the Mediterranean from the east. In the same century in 1492, the Spaniards attacked Cordova, having completely conquered their Iberian peninsula from the Muslims. Begins the formation of Great Spain and the expansion of the Spaniards in the Mediterranean from the west. Two great powers clashed in Tunisia.
The first initiative was taken by the Turks, by 1569 they captured most of the country. However, the initiative is intercepted by the Spaniards, they win the sea battle at Lepanto in 1571, and by 1573 captured coastal cities. In 1574 the Ottoman Admiral Uluzh Ali returns to Tunisia with a large army, he quickly supersedes the Spaniards, now it is final.
Tunisia is becoming part of the Ottoman Empire.
The Ottoman period (1574 - 1881)
Until 1591, the Turkish governor ruled in Tunisia, and his power was held on the jaties of the Janissaries. In the city of Tunisia there were 4000 janissaries, in small coastal cities garrisons from 50 to 500 janissaries were kept, depending on the size of the city. For example, only 60 janissaries served in the Kasbah of Hammamet . This was clearly not enough to resist invasions, the garrison carried more police functions.
This small period of Tunisia was under the direct power of the Turks. But new Janissaries from Turkey did not send, garrisons began to replenish from local residents. In 1591, it ended in an uprising of the Janissaries, who forced the Pasha (Turkish viceroy) to recognize his ruler, one of the officers, who was called the Day.
For a long time, the Turkish pasha and the military ruler of the day coexisted in Tunisia. Often their rivalry was of a power character.
In 1705, Al-Husayn I bin Ali became the first Bey - the main ruler of the country. He founded the Husseinid dynasty, which nominally ruled Tunisia until July 25, 1957.
Nominally, the Bee Husaynids recognized the authority of Istanbul. The Friday prayer was held in honor of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, wrote the name of the Sultan on money and every year the Tunisian ambassador went to Istanbul with gifts. In fact, Tunisia returned to the Arabic language, and the Turkish traditions were forgotten.
Turkish officials were present in the country, but rather as observers. In the 17th century, they noticed a small town near the city of Tunis, where they began to build their villas. Now this town has become one of the most popular attractions - it's Sidi Bou Said .
Bey pursued his own policy. They actively supported the pirates, which irritated the European powers, only in 1819 the Tunisian beys refused to support the corsairs in the Mediterranean.
Tunisia lived its life, despite the obvious backwardness of the economy, the army and the system of power. Reforms began to be carried out only by Ahmad Bey (1837-1855). In 1841 he banned the slave trade, and in 1846 abolished slavery. He began to reform the army, introduced universal military service. The corps of 4000 Tunisian soldiers even participated in the fighting in the Crimean War.
In 1861, Tunisia adopted the constitution first in the Arab world. But all these reforms could not catch up with centuries of backwardness. In 1869 the country becomes bankrupt. Management of the economy is assumed by France, Italy and the United Kingdom. The European powers have already begun to look at Tunisia with a different view - colonial.
The French protectorate (1881 - 1956)
The French used the Tunisian invasion of Algeria as an excuse for war. In 1881, 36,000 French soldiers invaded Tunisia and quickly captured the country. The "Bardo Treaty" was signed, which made the power of bees nominal, and the country a colony of France.
The main author of the plan to conquer Tunisia was Prime Minister Jules Ferry, his photo is on the right.
The French built a lot in Tunisia. The number of olive trees planted by French colonists can not be counted. The French build the first railways in the country, develop phosphate deposits in Gafsa, modernize the ports of Sfax and Tunisia.
In public life, the French develop education, which ultimately led modern Tunisia to the status of the most educated country in the Arab world. Medicine in the country goes to the European level.
During this period, Tunisia becomes a tourist country. Rich Frenchmen begin to build houses for winter holidays in Hammamet. The most famous such house is the House of Sebastian . The French planted vineyards and taught Tunisians to make excellent wine. Now Tunisia is famous as an Arab country with the highest quality alcohol , which is a big plus for tourists.
Despite all the positive aspects, Tunisians want independence. The political party New Dustur and its leader Habib Bourguiba enters the arena.
The Tunisian Republic (1957 - present moment)
January 18, 1952 began a major uprising in Tunisia, to resolve the situation France mobilized 70,000 soldiers, but this did not help. The people could calm down only in 1954, when the French recognized the country's autonomy.
On March 20, 1956, a treaty was signed giving Tunisia independence. And an amazing fact - Tunisia again becomes a monarchy led by Bey Muhammad al-Amin. Only on July 25, 1957 the people's assembly proclaimed the republic, Habib Bourguiba became the president.
Habib Bourguiba ruled Tunisia for 30 years, and it was "rules". On his account, many progressive reforms. He tried to reduce the influence of religion on public life. In March 1964, right on the air of the national television, he drank a glass of orange juice. Now many readers will be surprised: what is special about this action? Habib Bourguiba did this in the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims are forbidden to drink and eat before sunset.
On the account of Habib Bourby, a large-scale reform of education. He abolished the dual system of education when young people received parallel religious and secular education. The teaching system was switched to teaching in two languages - Arabic and French.
He also carried out clearly socialist reforms, which were not crowned with great success. On the account of President Bourguiba, several revolutionary projects in the tourism industry, on his initiative, began the construction of two special resort areas - Yasmine Hammamet and Port El Kantaoui .
In 1987, the health of Habib Bourguiba was already very weak. Prime Minister Ben Ali said that Habib Bourguiba can no longer lead the country and took power into his own hands. In fact, it was a bloodless coup and the selection of power. The inauguration of the new president took place on November 7, 1987. Habib Bourguiba left politics and lived until 2000 in his hometown of Monastir.
In the reign of President Ben Ali (pictured right) economic growth was observed. He is credited with the fact that per capita GDP has increased threefold between 1987 and 2008. This is a really good indicator, for example, GDP per capita in the US for this period grew only 2.5 times. Poverty in Tunisia fell by half.
The administration of Ben Ali actively worked to attract foreign investment in the country, favorable conditions were created for the development of certain industries and regions. There were no large-scale reforms, it was reasonable and balanced management of the economy.
From the "high-profile" projects of Ben Ali, one can recall the large-scale reconstruction of the center of Tunis, when Tunisian Big Ben was set up here and the main streets were renovated.
However, economic growth did not compensate for social and political problems. Ben Ali's rule was authoritarian, opposition was suppressed, there was no freedom of speech. In such a situation, corruption "blossomed and smelled," and if to say more precisely, "blossomed and stank."
In December 2010, mass protests began. Sign of the event was the self-immolation of the trader Mohamed Boisizi, he did so in protest against the police humiliation and confiscation of goods.
On January 14, 2011, President Ben Ali is removed from office. A long period of political instability is beginning, which continues to this day. More information about the current state of Tunisia read in the article " Modern Tunisia - information and facts ".
Have a good rest in Tunisia, and read our other interesting articles about this amazing country ( list of links below ).
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