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perjantai 10. heinäkuuta 2015

Tunisia, Cool Facts #45

<= 44. Syria                                                                                                                        46. Chad =>

1.  Ancient Carthage 

Tunisia lies in the area of the ancient Carthage.

In the 800s BC, Phoenician merchants established Carthage which along the centuries became a thriving maritime Empire controlling the Western Mediterranean.

In 216 BC during the second Punic War against Rome  the Carthaginian general Hannibal, one of the greatest military commanders in history, did something really legendary . He marched across Iberia and over the Alps with an army including elephants into Italy defeating the Roman army. Hannibal occupied parts of Italy for 15 years before the Romans pushed him back to Carthage.

Finally in 146 BC the Romans destroyed Carthage after three Punic Wars 

Hannibals troops: 

Infantry: 20,000-40,000
Cavalry: 6,000-12,000
Elephants: 40

Hannibal's army

2. Former Africa current Tunisia 

The whole African continent got its name from Tunisia because Tunisia was called Africa during the Roman rule and afterwards Ifriqiya during the Arab rule.

After the year 146 BC when the Romans destroyed Carthage, they established the first Roman colony in Africa, it was called Africa. For 600 years Romans ruled in Tunisia before the Vandals attacked there. The colosseum of El Djem is a monument of the Roman rule.

So when people sometimes mistakenly think that Africa is a country, it's not totally wrong while the whole continent got its name from one single country, which in this case is Tunisia.

Africa province in Roman Empire

3. Holy City of Kairouan 

Kairouan is said to be the fourth holiest city of Islam after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. During the Arab Muslim conquest, Kairouan was the first Islamic city in North Africa. In 670 the Great Mosque of Kairouan was constructed. This mosque is the oldest and most prestigious sanctuary in the Muslim West and it has the oldest standing minaret in the entire world.

Great Mosque of Kairouan

4. Arab World Mediator

Tunisia is known to be a mediator and peacemaker among the Arab countries. The headquarters of the Arab League were 10 years in Tunis when it was removed there from Cairo as Egypt had recognized the state of Israel which cause a lot of stir among the Arab countries. Also the Palestine Liberation Organization placed their headquarters in Tunis in 1982.

Arab League Members

5. Arab Spring

In December 17, 2010, the 26-year old Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself afire as a protest at the confiscation of his stuff that he sold and the humiliation inflicted on him by a municipal official.

This was the catalyst for mass demonstrations in Tunisia which caused a wave of similar actions throughout the Arab world. The reasons behind the protests were high unemployment, food inflation, corruption, lack of freedom of speech, poor living conditions just to mention some.

In Tunisia the protests led to the resignation of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after being 23 years in power. Eventually the ruling party Neo Destour was banned and all of its members were evicted from the transitional government.

Mohamed Bouazizi


800 Phoenician merchants found Carthage, from where the traffic and trades were supervised
216 BC Carthaginian general Hannbial crosses the Alps with elephants and defeats the Roman army
146 BC After three Punic Wars the Romans destroyed Carthage
533-534 The Byzantium conquered North Africa in Vandalic Wars
600s The Arabs spread Islam and Arabic language
1229 Hafsid Kingdom separates from the Almohad Empire
1500s The Hafsid kingdom asks the protection of the Turkish Sultan when the Spanish catholics pressure them
1574 Hafsid Kingdom is attached to the Ottoman Empire, the Tunisians keep autonomy under the Ottoman rule
1600-1700 Piracy flourishes in the Mediterranean and makes Tunisia wealthy
1881 Tunisia becomes a French protectorate
1938 Independence movement Neo-Destour arranges a general strike
1942-1943 Nazi Germany occupies Tunisia during the World War II
1956 France lets Tunisia become independent a few weeks after Morocco
1957 The last Bey monarch of Tunisia is deposed and the leader of Neo-Destour, Habib Bourguiba becomes the president
1974 Bourguiba signed an agreement with Gaddafi to merge Libya and Tunisia, which didn't happen
1987 Bourguiba was overthrown by prime minister Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali
2011 Arab Spring starts from Tunisia and as a result the president was changed and Neo Destour party was banned, which had led the country since 1956. 

Maailman liput maat ja historia

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