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Country Fast Facts: Tunisia



Rivalry between French and Italian interests in Tunisia culminated in a French invasion in 1881 and the creation of a protectorate.

Agitation for independence in the decades following World War I was finally successful in getting the French to recognize Tunisia as an independent state in 1956.

The country's first president, Habib Bourguiba, established a strict one-party state.

He dominated the country for 31 years, repressing Islamic fundamentalism and establishing rights for women unmatched by any other Arab nation.

Tunisia has long taken a moderate, non-aligned stance in its foreign relations.

Domestically, it has sought to defuse rising pressure for a more open political society.

Source: CIA World Fact Book