A country in North Africa; population 11,300,000 (estimated 2015); official language, Arabic; capital, Tunis.
Tunisia has a Mediterranean coastline and extends south into the Sahara Desert. Phoenician coastal settlements developed into the commercial empire of Carthage (near modern Tunis). The area was conquered by the Arabs in the 7th century and became part of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century; a French protectorate was established in 1886. The rise of nationalism led to independence and the establishment of a republic in 1956–7, with Habib ibn Ali Bourguiba becoming the country's first President. In 2010–11 a series of popular demonstrations led to President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who had succeeded Bourguiba in 1987, leaving office