Founded in , it dates in its present form largely from the Aghlabid period 9th century. The Bey of Tunis then, by his own lights but informed by the Turkish example, attempted to effect a modernizing reform of institutions and the economy. Communities of Tunisian Christians would still exist in Tunisia up to the 14th century. The settlers of Carthage brought their culture and religion from the Phoenicians. This was the reason or pretext for French forces to establish a Protectorate in Thus, the persecution, and murder of the Jews from to was part of the Shoah in France. The Almohads initially ruled over Tunisia through a governor, usually a near relative of the Caliph. The catalyst for mass demonstrations was the death of Mohamed Bouazizi , a year-old Tunisian street vendor, who set himself afire on 17 December in protest at the confiscation of his wares and the humiliation inflicted on him by a municipal official named Faida Hamdy.
A year later, Tunisia was declared a republic, with Bourguiba as the first President. The majority of the population were not Muslim until quite late in the 9th century; a vast majority were during the 10th. Ennahda's stance on the issue was criticized by hardline Islamists, who wanted strict sharia, but was welcomed by secular parties. Berber bishop Donatus Magnus was the founder of a Christian group known as the Donatists. Despite the prestige of the new masters, the country was still unruly, with continuous rioting and fighting between the townsfolk and wandering Arabs and Turks, the latter being subjects of the Muslim Armenian adventurer Karakush. A decree by the minister of the interior banned the "political police", special forces which were used to intimidate and persecute political activists. Ruins of Dougga's World Heritage Site. In , using the pretext of a Tunisian incursion into Algeria , the French invaded with an army of about 36, and forced the Bey to agree to the terms of the Treaty of Bardo Al Qasr as Sa'id. The founders of Carthage also established a Tophet , which was altered in Roman times. This was the reason or pretext for French forces to establish a Protectorate in The Almohads initially ruled over Tunisia through a governor, usually a near relative of the Caliph. Persians went to the West and intermarried with the Gaetulians and became the Numidians. During the reign of the Hafsid dynasty , fruitful commercial relationships were established with several Christian Mediterranean states. Tanit's symbol, a simple female figure with extended arms and long dress, is a popular icon found in ancient sites. The Medes settled and were known as Mauri, later Moors. The Roman amphitheater in El Djem , built during the first half of the 3rd century AD There was even a huge production of mosaics and ceramics, exported mainly to Italy, in the central area of El Djem where there was the second biggest amphitheater in the Roman Empire. In there were , Italians in Tunisia. Medina quarter of Tunis Great epidemics ravaged Tunisia in —, — and — Sometime between the second half of the 7th century and the early part of the 8th century, Arab Muslim conquest occurred in the region. Also, some Tunisian Christians emigrated; some richer members of society did so after the conquest in and others were welcomed by Norman rulers to Sicily or Italy in the 11th and 12th centuries — the logical destination because of the year close connection between the two regions. The translated meaning of Numidian is Nomad and indeed the people were semi-nomadic until the reign of Masinissa of the Massyli tribe. Anger and violence intensified following Bouazizi's death on 4 January , ultimately leading longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to resign and flee the country on 14 January , after 23 years in power. Also, Tunisia was occupied by Ayyubids between and and again between and During this era the governing councils controlling Tunisia remained largely composed of a foreign elite who continued to conduct state business in the Turkish language. Economic liberalisation provided further opportunities for financial mismanagement,  while corrupt members of the Trabelsi family, most notably in the cases of Imed Trabelsi and Belhassen Trabelsi , controlled much of the business sector in the country. By the 2nd century, olive oil rivaled cereals as an export item. The economy, mainly during the Empire, boomed:
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