Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Libya
Area: 163,610 sq km
Coastline: 1,148 km
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Shatt al Gharsah -17 m
highest point: Jabal ash Shanabi 1,544 m
Official language: Arabic
Age structure : 0-14 years: 30%
15-64 years: 64%
65 years and over: 6%
Currency: Tunisian Dinar
Member: Arab League
Tunisia is situated on the North African coast of the Mediterranean. It is bordered on the west by Algeria, on the east and south by Libya. It has an area of 163,610sq km and a population of 9,000,000. This includes the two islands of Jerba and Qarnaqa.
Tunisia was settled by the Phoenicians in the 12th century BC. In the 6th century BC, Carthage was a great Phoenician city-state that dominated the western Mediterranean. In 146BC, Rome defeated the Phoenician Hannibal, and Carthage was destroyed. In 648 the Arabs conquered North Africa . The Muslim dynasties that ruled Tunisa are the Fatimids, the Aghlabids and the Hafsids. The Ottoman Turks took it in 1574 and made it part of the Ottoman Empire until the French occupied it in 1881. In 1956 Tunisia gained independence.
Tunis is the capital, and the main cities are Sfax, Sousse, Ariana, Benzire. Qairouane is considered a holy city. It is said to be the site of the first mosque in Africa, and is located near the border with Algeria.
Southern Tunisia is semi arid desert, the long coastal plain along the north and east is fertile. In the center is a mix of hills and plains. In the northwest are the eastern Atlas Mountains. The highest peak is at Jebal ash Shanabi, 1544m.
Chott el Jerid is a dry salt lake, 250km long and 20km wide in the Sahara.
Tunis has a temperate climate in the north, winters are rainy and mild. It is dry and hot in the south, and the plain meets the Sahara.
Tunisia has a diversified economy based on tourism, agriculture and industry.
The main agricultural crops are olives, grapes, citrus, cereals, grains, sugar beets, melons, dates, and almonds. It is the only North African country to grow olive trees, and is the second largest exporter of olive oil after Italy.
Petroleum and phosphates, lead and iron ore mining are major industries. The country produces textiles, foodstuffs, footwear, leather, cement, copper as well as electronics and petrochemicals
Since 1994 Tunisia has seen political stability, a drop in inflation, economic growth and liberalization. Tunisia signed an association agreement with the European Union which came into effect in 1998 .This agreement will remove trade barriers with the EU.
Cities: Benzirte, Sousse, Sfaz, Tunis, Qairawan
Nature reserves: Ichkuel National Park, Djebel Bouhedma Biosphere Reserve, Djebel Chambi Biosphere Reserve, Zembra and Zembretta Biosphere Reserve