On March 20, 1957, Tunisia became independent from French rule. This placed nationalist leader Habib Bourguiba in the role of the North African nation’s first Prime Minister. As a unitary semi-presidential representative democratic republic, Tunisia is widely seen as the only democratic republic of the Arab world.
Apart from having a remarkably high human development index, Tunisia also enjoys strong international ties and global recognition. It holds the status of major non-NATO ally of the United States and has an Association Agreement with the EU. Additionally, Tunisia is a member of La Francophonie, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, 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, and the Group of 77. It is also a state party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and a member state of the United Nation.
Tunisia was under the Ottoman Empire for three hundred years, starting in the mid-16th century. In 1869, the nation had to declare bankruptcy. Following the announcement an international body took over the country’s economy. In 1881, the French invaded the region with an army of over thirty thousand soldiers. The Treaty of Bardo turned Tunisia into a French protectorate, encouraging mass settlement of Europeans across the nation. By 1910, there were more than 100,000 Italian residents in Tunisia. During the Second World War, Tunisia became home to Nazi Germany. It witnessed the Tunisian campaign that comprised a series of armed conflicts between the Allied and Axis forces.
The country’s independence in March 1956, brought with it the Tunisian Revolution that lasted until 2011. Driven by the labour force, the revolution comprised civil resistance against food inflation, corruption, unemployment, and lack of political freedom. Many believe that the Tunisian revolution inspired the Arab Spring. On March 3, 2011, the incumbent President of Tunisia announced the scheduling of a free and fair election in October. On December 12, 2011, Moncef Marzouki, revolutionary leader and veteran human rights activist, assumed the role of President. In 2015, Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet won the Nobel Peace Prize. The body is a group of four organisations, responsible for establishing a pluralistic and peaceful democracy in the country.
Each year on March 20, the Republic of Tunisia celebrates its Independence Day. This year marks sixty-three years of independence for the African nation.