Tunisia is the northernmost country in Africa, covering 165,000 square kilometres (64,000 sq mi). Its northernmost point, Ras ben Sakka, is the northernmost point on the African continent. It is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Tunisia’s population was estimated to be just under 10.8 million in 2013. Tunisia’s name is derived from its capital city, Tunis, which is located on Tunisia’s northeast coast.
Geographically, Tunisia contains the eastern end of the Atlas Mountains and the northern reaches of the Sahara desert. Much of the rest of the country’s land is fertile soil. Its 1,300 kilometres (810 mi) of coastline includes the African conjunction of the western and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Basin and, by means of the Sicilian Strait and Sardinian Channel, features the African mainland’s second and third nearest points to Europe after Gibraltar.
Tunisia is the only democracy in the Arab World. It has a high human development index. It has an association agreement with the European Union and is a member of La Francophonie, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Arab Maghreb Union, the Arab League, the OIC, the Greater Arab Free Trade Area, the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, the African Union, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Group of 77 and obtained the status of Major non-NATO ally. In addition, Tunisia is also a state party the principal world’s institutions such as the United Nations or the International Criminal Court. Close relations with Europe – in particular with France and with Italy – have been forged through economic cooperation, privatisation and industrial modernization.
In ancient times, Tunisia was primarily inhabited by Berbers. Phoenician immigration began in the 12th century BC; these immigrants founded Carthage. A rival to Greece that almost destroyed Rome in the Second Punic War, Carthage was eventually defeated by the Romans in the Battle of Carthage of 149 BC. Romans brought Christianity and architecture to Tunisia, including the El Djem amphitheater. Tunisia was conquered by Arabs in the first century of Islam, followed by the Ottomans between 1534 and 1574. The Ottomans held sway for over three hundred years. The French conquest of Tunisia occurred in 1881. Tunisia gained independence with Habib Bourguiba and declared the Tunisian Republic in 1957. In 2011, the Tunisian Revolution resulted in the overthrow of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, followed by parliamentary elections. The country voted for parliament again on 26 October 2014, and for President on 23 November 2014.