Useful country information
Total area: 59,985 sq mi (155,361 sq km); total area: 63,170 sq mi (163,610 sq km)
Population (20120 est.): 11,818,619 (growth rate: 0.92%); birth rate: 16.9/1000; infant mortality rate: 23.19/1000; life expectancy: 75.68; density per sq mi: 163
Capital and largest city (2013 est.): Tunis, 2,321,227 (metro. area), 651,183 (city proper)
Monetary unit: Tunisian dinar
National name: Al-Jumhuriyah at-Tunisiyah
Languages: Arabic (official, commerce), French (commerce), Berber (Tamazight)
Ethnicity/race: Arab-Berber 98%, European 1%, Jewish and other 1%
Religions: Islam (Sunni) 99.1%, other (includes Christian, Jewish, Shia Muslim, and Baha'i) 1%.
National Holiday: March 20, Tunisia Independence Day.
Literacy rate: 79.1% (2010 est.)
Tunisia, at the northernmost bulge of Africa, thrusts out toward Sicily to mark the division between the eastern and western Mediterranean Sea.
Following independence from France in 1956, President Habib BOURGIUBA 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.
In November 1987, BOURGUIBA was removed from office and replaced by Zine el Abidine BEN ALI in a bloodless coup.
Street protests that began in Tunis in December 2010 over high unemployment, corruption, widespread poverty, and high food prices escalated in January 2011, culminating in rioting that led to hundreds of deaths.
This protests spread in the Arab world to Libya, Egypt, Syria and Yemen. The wave of both violent and non-violent demonstrations, protests, and riots were all meant to remove the corrupt leaders of those countries, and to find more democratic political solutions. This movements were coined the Arab Spring.
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