History o Tunis

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The history o Tunis, the lairgest ceety o Tunisie, began even afore that o Carthage. The existence o the locality is attestit frae the early fowert century BC. Acause o its geostrategic poseetion, it attracts the envy o aw the Mediterranean ceevilizations an subsequently came unner the domination o the Berbers, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Spaniards, Turks, etc..

Tunis is locatit in north-eastren maist tip o Africae, borderin the Gulf o Tunis, close tae Carthage. It became the caipital o Tunisie wi the advent o the dynasty in 1229 Hafsids. Confirmed in its status efter unthirldom, it an aa became the caipital o the govrenorate o the same name syne its inception in 1956.

Carthage[eedit | eedit soorce]


The historical study o Carthage is problematic. Acause its cultur an records wur destroyed bi the Romans at the end o the Third Punic War, vera few Carthaginian primary historical soorces survive. While thare are a few auncient translations o Punic texts intae Greek an Laitin, as well as inscriptions on monuments an biggins discovered in North Africae,[1] the main soorces are Greek an Roman historians, includin Livy, Polybius, Appian, Cornelius Nepos, Silius Italicus, Plutarch, Dio Cassius, an Herodotus. Thir writers belanged tae fowks in competeetion, an aften in conflict, wi Carthage.[2] Greek ceeties contendit wi Carthage ower Sicily,[3] an the Romans focht three wars against Carthage.[4] No surprisingly, thair accoonts o Carthage are extremely hostile; while thare are a few Greek authors who teuk a favourable view, thir wirks hae been lost.[5]

Recent excavation haes brocht muckle mair primary material tae licht. Some o thir fynds contradict aspects o the traditional picture o Carthage, an muckle o the material is still ambiguous.

Early history[eedit | eedit soorce]

Airtifacts frae the siege o 149-146 BC
Punic pillars unearthed in Carthage.

The existence o the toun is attestit bi soorces datin frae the 4t century BC.[6] In the 2nt millennium BC a toun, oreeginally named Tunes, wis foondit bi Berbers an an' a' ower time occupied bi Numidians. In 146 BC, the Romans destroyed Tunis (alang wi Carthage). Housomeivver, the ceety wis subsequently rebuilt unner the rule o Augustus an became an important toun unner Roman control an the centre o a buimin agricultural industry. Situatit on a hill, Tunis served as an excellent pynt frae which the comins an goins o naval an caravan traffeck tae an frae Carthage coud be observed. Tunis wis ane o the first touns in the region tae faw unner Carthaginian control, an in the centuries that follaed Tunis wis mentioned in the military histories associatit wi Carthage. Sicweys, durin Agathocles’ expedeetion, which landit at Cape Bon in 310 BC, Tunis chynged haunds on various occasions.

When Agathocles dee'd in 288 BC, a lairge company o Italian mercenaries who haed previously been held in his service foond themsels suddent athoot employment. Rather than leave Sicily, thay seized the ceety o Messana. Namin themsels Mamertines (or "sons o Mars"), thay became a law untae themsels, terrorizin the surroondin kintraside.

The Mamertines became a growin threat tae Carthage an Syracuse alike. In 265 BC, Hiero II, umwhile general o Pyrrhus an the new tyrant o Syracuse, teuk action against them. Faced wi a vastly superior force, the Mamertines dividit intae twa factions, ane advocatin surrender tae Carthage, the ither preferrin tae seek aid frae Rome. As a result, embassies wur sent tae baith ceeties.

While the Roman Senate debatit the best course o action, the Carthaginians eagerly agreed tae send a garrison tae Messana. A Carthaginian garrison wis admittit tae the ceety, an a Carthaginian fleet sailed intae the Messanan harbor. Housomeivver, suin efterwards thay began negotiatin wi Hiero. Alairmed, the Mamertines sent anither embassy tae Rome askin them tae expel the Carthaginians.

Hiero's intervention haed placed Carthage's military forces directly athort the nairae channel o water that separatit Sicily frae Italy. Mairower, the presence o the Carthaginian fleet gae them effective control ower this channel, the Strait o Messina, an demonstratit a clear an present danger tae nearbi Rome an her interests. The Roman senate wis unable tae decide on a course o action an referred the matter tae the fowk, who votit tae intervene.

The Roman attack on the Carthaginian forces at Messana triggered the first o the Punic Wars. Ower the course o the next century, thir three major conflicts atween Rome an Carthage wad determine the course o Wastren ceevilization. The wars includit a Carthaginian invasion led bi Hannibal, which nearly preventit the rise o the Roman Empire. Eventual veectory bi Rome wis a turnin pynt which meant that the ceevilization o the auncient Mediterranean wad pass tae the modren warld via Soothren Europe insteid o North Africae.

Shortly efter the First Punic War, Carthage faced a major mercenary revolt which chynged the internal poleetical landscape o Carthage (bringin the Barcid faimily tae prominence), an affectit Carthage's internaitional staundin, as Rome uised the events o the war tae base a claim bi which it seized Sardinie an Corsica.

Durin the Mercenary War, it is possible that Tunis served as a centre for the native population o the aurie,[6] an that its population wis mainly componed o peasants, fishermen, an craftsmen. Compared tae the auncient ruins o Carthage, the ruins o auncient Tunis are no as lairge. Accordin tae Strabo, it wis destroyed bi the Romans durin the Third Punic War. Baith Tunis an Carthage wur destroyed; Tunis, housomeivver, wis rebuilt first.[7] The ceety is mentioned in the Tabula Peutingeriana as Thuni.[7] In the seestem o Roman roads for the Roman province o Africae, Tunis haed the title o mutatio (“wey station, restin place”).[7] Tunis, increasingly Romanized, wis an aa eventually Christianized an became the seat o a bishop. Housomeivver, Tunis remained modestly sized compared tae Carthage durin this time.[8] In the 9t century BC, the ceety wis taken ower bi Phoenicians frae Carthage. The Berbers teuk control o Tunis in 395 BC but it wis suin lost when Agathocles invadit Africae an establisht his heidquarters thare. When Agathocles left Africae, the Carthaginians teuk control o the ceety ance again.

Islamic conquest[eedit | eedit soorce]

Follaein the final destruction o Carthage, it wis no till the 7t century that Tunis achieved its awn importance, unner the control o Arab Muslims. The medina o Tunis, the auldest section o the ceety, dates frae this period, durin which the region wis conquered bi Arab troops led bi the Ghassanid general Hassan Ibn Numan. The ceety haed the naitural avantage o coastal access, via the Mediterranean, tae the major ports o soothren Europe. Early on, Tunis played a military role; the Arabs recognised the strategic importance o its proximity tae the Strait o Sicily. Frae the beginnin o the 8t century Tunis wis the chef-lieu o the aurie: it became the Arabs' naval base in the wastren Mediterranean Sea, an teuk on considerable military importance.[8] Unner the Aghlabids, the fowk o Tunis revoltit numerous times,[8] but the ceety profitit frae economic improvements an quickly became the seicont maist important in the kinrick. It wis briefly the naitional caipital, frae the end o the reign o Ibrahim II in 902, till 909[9] when the Shi'ite Berbers teuk ower Ifriqiya an foondit the Fatimid Caliphate.

Local opposition tae the authorities began tae intensify in September 945, when the Kharijite insurgents occupied Tunis, resultin in general pillagin.[8][10] Wi the rise o the Zirid dynasty Tunis gained importance, but the Sunni population toleratit Shi'ite rule less an less, an carried oot massacres against the Shi'ite community.[10] In 1048 the Zirid ruler Al-Muizz ibn Badis rejectit his ceety's obedience tae the Fatimids an re-established Sunni rites throughoot aw o Ifriqiya. This decision infuriatit the Shi'ite caliph Al-Mustansir Billah. Tae punish the Zirids, he unleasht the Banu Hilal Arab tribe on Ifriqaya; a lairge pairt o the kintra wis put tae fire, the Zirid caipital Kairouan wis razed in 1057, an anerlie a few coastal touns, includin Tunis an Mahdia, escaped destruction. Exposed tae violence frae the hostile tribes that settled aroond the ceety, the population o Tunis repudiatit the authority o the Zirids an swore allegiance tae the Hammadid prince El Nacer ibn Alennas, who wis based in Béjaïa, in 1059. The govrenor appointit bi Béjaïa, haein reestablished order in the kintra, didna hesitate tae free hissel frae the Hammadids tae foond the Khourassanid dynasty wi Tunis as its caipital. This sma independent kinrick picked up the threads o trade an commerce wi ither naitions, an brocht the region back tae peace an prosperity.

Historic cairt o Tunis bi Piri Reis

Frae the 12t century tae the 16t century, the auld ceety wis controlled bi the Almohad an the Hafsid Berber dynasties. Durin this period Tunis wis ane o the richest an grandest ceeties in the Islamic warld, wi a population o aboot 100,000.

New caipital o Tunisie[eedit | eedit soorce]

In 1159, the Almohad 'Abd al-Mumin teuk Tunis, owerthrew the last Khourassanid leader an instawed a new govrenment in the kasbah o Tunis.[8] The Almohad conquest merked the beginnin o the dominance o the ceety in Tunisie. Haein previously played a minor role ahint Kairouan an Mahdia, Tunis wis promotit tae the rank o provincial caipital. In 1228, Govrenor Abû Zakariya Yahyâ seized pouer an, a year later, teuk the title o Emir an foondit the Hafsid dynasty. The ceety became the caipital o a Hafsid kinrick stretchin towards Tripoli an Fez. Walls wur biggit tae pertect the emergin principal toun o the kinrick, surroondin the medina, the kasbah an the new suburbs o Tunis. In 1270 the ceety wis taken briefly bi Louis IX o Fraunce, who wis hopin tae convert the Hafsid sovereign tae Christianity. Keeng Louis easily captured Carthage, but his airmy suin fell victim tae an ootbreak o dysentery. Louis hissel dee'd afore the walls o the caipital an the airmy wis forced oot. At the same time, driven bi the reconquest o Spain, the first Andalusian Muslims an Jews arrived in Tunis an wad acome o fundamental importance tae the economic prosperity o the Hafsid caipital an the development o its intellectual life.[8]

Ottoman Empire[eedit | eedit soorce]

The Ottoman Empire teuk nominal control o Tunis in 1534 when Barbarossa Hayreddin captured it frae the Hafsid Sultan Mulai Hassan, who fled tae the court o Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor an Keeng o Spain. Charles, sufferin losses frae the corsairs operatin oot o Djerba, Tunis, an Algiers, agreed tae reinstate Mulai Hassan in exchynge for his acceptance o Spainyie suzerainty. A naval expedeetion led bi Charles hissel wis dispatched in 1535, an the ceety wis quickly recaptured. The veectory against the corsairs is recordit in a tapestry at the Ryal Palace o Madrid. The resultin protectorate lastit till the Ottomans reteuk Tunis in 1574. Efter 1591, the Ottoman govrenors (Beys) wur relatively independent, an baith piracy an trade continued tae flourish.

In Aprile 1655 the Inglish admiral Robert Blake wis sent tae the Mediterranean tae extract compensation frae states that haed been attackin Inglish shippin. Anerlie the Bey o Tunis refused tae comply, wi the result that Blake's fifteen ships attacked the Bey's arsenal at Porto Farina (Ghar el Melh), destroyin nine Algerian ships an twa shore batteries, the first time in naval warfare that shore batteries haed been eliminatit athoot landin men ashore.

Entry o Charles V intae Tunis in 1535

In the 16t century Tunis wis ane o the principal theatres o confrontation atween the Spainyie monarchy an the Ottoman Empire.[8] Ottoman troops, unner the leadership o Hayreddin Barbarossa, appeared afore the Bab El Jazira on 18 August 1534[11] an pillaged the ceety. Charles V, cawed tae the rescue bi European leaders menaced bi the Ottoman advance in the Mediterranean, reteuk the ceety on 6 August 1535, an restored Hafsid sovereignty.

Confrontin the difficulties previously encoontered, the Ottoman Uluç Ali Reis, at the heid o an airmy o janissaries an Kabyles, reteuk Tunis in 1569. Housomeivver, follaein the Battle o Lepanto in 1571, the Spainyie succeedit in retakin the ceety an re-establishin the Hafsid sovereign. Follaein thir conflicts, the ceety finally fell intae Ottoman haunds in August 1574. Haein acome an Ottoman province govrened bi a Pasha who wis appointit bi the Sultan based in Constantinople, the kintra wis no slow tae attain a certaint autonomy (1591). Unner the rule o deys an Moorish beys, the caipital sprang intae new life. Its population grew bi additions frae various ethnicities, amang which wur Moorish refugees frae Spain, an economic activities diversified. Tae traditional industry an trade wi distant lands wis addit the activity o the Barbary pirates, then in thair gowden age. Profits obtained frae the trade in Christian slaves alloued the rulers tae big sumptuous structures that revived the airchitectural heritage o the Middle Ages.[8]

Mustapha Khaznadar, Prime Meenister o Tunis frae 1837 tae 1873.[12] an ane o the maist influential bodys in modren Tunisian history.[13]

At the beginnin o the 18t century, Tunisie entered intae a new period in its history wi the advent o the Husainid dynasty. Successive Husainid rulers made great progress in developin the ceety an its biggins. Durin this period, the ceety prospered as a centre o commerce. Takin avantage o diveesions athin the rulin hoose, Algerians captured Tunis in 1756 an put the kintra unner superveesion. At the beginnin o the 19t century, Hammouda Bey faced bombardment bi the Venetian fleet, an the ceety experienced a rebellion in 1811.[14] Unner the reign o Hussein Bey II, naval defeats bi the Inglis (1826) an French (1827) saw the French acome increasingly active in the ceety an in the economy.[15]

Various soorces estimate the 19t-century population tae hae ranged frae 90,000 tae 110,000 indwallers.[16] Durin the later 19t century, Tunis became increasingly populatit bi Europeans, parteecularly the French, an immigration dramatically increased the size o the ceety. This resultit in the first demolition o the auld ceety walls, frae 1860, tae accommodate growthe in the suburbs. The ceety spilled ootside the aurie o the earlier toun an the banks o the lake, an the new destricts wur modrenised wi runnin water (1860), lichtin gas (1872), roads, waste collection (1873), an communication wi adjacent suburbs an the ceety centre.[17] The crafts an traditional trades declined somewha, as the newcomers increased trade wi Europe, introducin the first modren industries an new forms o urban life.

Development unner the Protectorate[eedit | eedit soorce]

View o Tunis c. 1890-1900. Zaytuna Mosque is slichtly richt o center.
Urban evolution atween 1890 an 1914

The French occupied the ceety frae 1881 tae 1956, haein established a protectorate seestem o admeenistration that recognised the nominal authority o local govrenment. In those years thare wur huge European colonies (lik the Tunisian Italians) in Tunis. Europeans formed hauf the population.[18] The ceety expandit an creatit new boulevards an neighborhuids.

The creation o the French protectorate in 1881 wis a turnin pynt in Tunis's history, causin rapid redevelopment o the ceety in the span o twa tae three decades. The ceety rapidly spread oot o its fortifications: it dividit intae a traditional Arab-populatit auld ceety, an a new ceety populatit bi immigrants, wi a different structur frae that o the traditional medina. Tunis an aa benefittit frae French construction o a water supply, naitural gas an electricity netwirks, public transport services an ither public infrastructure.

Tunis wis quiet durin the First Warld War. Efter the war, the ceety faced new transformations as the modren portion grew in importance an extendit its netwirk o boulevards an streets in aw directions. In addition, a series o satellite ceeties emerged on the urban rim an encroached on the municipality o Tunis proper. In the economic sphere, commercial activities expandit an diversified as modren industries continued tae grow, while traditional industry continued tae decline.

Durin Warld War II, Tunis wis held bi Axis forces frae November 1942 tae Mey 1943. It wis thair last base in Africae, as thay escaped tae Italy efter bein surroondit bi Allied forces frae Algerie in the wast an frae Libie in the east.[19] On 7 Mey 1943, at 15:30 in the efternuin, Tunis fell tae the Allies, who haed defeatit maist o the German Fift Panzer Airmy left guardin the ceety. At twal-oors on 20 Mey 1943, the Allies held a veectory parade on Avenue Maréchal Galliéni an Avenue Jules Ferry tae signal the end o fechtin in North Africae.[20] Haein succeedit in drivin the Axis pouers oot o Tunisie, the Allies uised Tunis as a base o operations tae stage assaults against the island o Pantellerie, then Sicily, an finally Italy.[21]

Follaein the Seicont Warld War, suburbs grew up quickly aroond Tunis tae facilitate rapid industrialization.

Growth syne unthirldom[eedit | eedit soorce]

Extension o the ceety in the 1950s wi the destrict o El Menzah

Efter unthirldom in 1956, Tunis haes consolidatit its role as the caipital, first wi the establishment o a constitution statin that the Chamber o Deputies an the Presidency o the Republic must hae thair heidquarters in Tunis an its suburbs. In a vera short time, a rapid transformin o the colonial ceety proceedit. As the ceety haes grown an native Tunisians gradually began tae replace the extensive European population, conflict atween the Arab ceety an the European ceety haes gradually decreased wi the arabization o the population.

Acause o population pressure an the rate o migration tae the caipital, the ceety continued tae grow, even wi the creation o new destricts in the suburbs. Auld biggins hae gradually been renovatit an upgradit an new biggis hae come tae influence the urban landscape. At the same time, an active policy o industrialization is developin the municipal economy.

The Arab League wis heidquartered in Tunis frae 1979 tae 1990. The Arab League, which represents 22 Arab naitions, transferred its heidquarters tae Tunis in 1979 acause o Egyp's peace wi Israel but haes been heidquartered back in Egyp syne 1990.

References[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. Jongeling, K. (2005). "The Neo-Punic Inscriptions and Coin Legends". University of Leiden. Archived frae the original on 29 Juin 2006. Retrieved 14 Apryle 2006.
  2. "Carthage by B. H. Warmington p11". Archived frae the original on 21 October 2011. Retrieved 24 Januar 2011.
  3. Herodotus, V2. 165–7
  4. Polybius, World History: 1.7–1.60
  5. Warmington, B. H. Carthage, p.11.
  6. a b Paul Sebag, op. cit., p. 60
  7. a b c Paul Sebag, op. cit., p. 70
  8. a b c d e f g h http://www.saisonstunisiennes.com/articles/tunishistoire/
  9. Paul Sebag, op. cit., p. 87
  10. a b Paul Sebag, op. cit., p. 88
  11. Mohamed Sadek Messikh, Tunis. La mémoire, éd. Du Layeur, 2000, p. 25
  12. Morsy, Magali (1984). North Africa, 1800–1900: a survey from the Nile Valley to the Atlantic. Longman. p. 185. ISBN 0582783771. Mustafa Khaznadar became Prime Minister in 1837, a position he maintained under three successive beys, more or less continuously until 1873.
  13. Ziadeh, Nicola A. (1969). Origins of nationalism in Tunisia. Librarie du Liban. p. 11. OCLC 3062278. Mustafa Khaznadar was of Greek origin (b. 1817), and proved to be one of the most influential persons Tunisia saw in her modern history. He took the interest of his master and the country to heart and did all he could to prevail on Ahmad Bey to see that Tunisia acquired as much as she could
  14. Mohamed Sadek Messikh, op. cit., p. 32
  15. Mohamed Sadek Messikh, op. cit., p. 34
  16. Paul Sebag, op. cit., p. 280
  17. Paul Sebag, op. cit., p. 261
  18. Albert Habib Hourani, Malise Ruthven (2002). "A history of the Arab peoples". Harvard University Press. p.323. ISBN 0674010175
  19. Rolf, David, The Bloody Road to Tunis: Destruction of the Axis Forces in North Africa, November 1942 – May 1943. London: Greenhill Books, ISBN 9781853674457
  20. Atkinson, Rick (2002), An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942–1943. New York: Henry Holt, ISBN 9780805062885
  21. Atkinson, Rick (2007), The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943–1944. New York: Henry Holt, ISBN 9780805062892