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The French colonization of Tunisia Name Institutional affiliation Tutor Date The French colonization of Tunisia Tunisia is located in the North coast of Africa, neighboring Algeria and Libya, and surrounded by the Atlas Mountains, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Sahara Desert…
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The French Colonization of Tunisia
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Download file to see previous pages This paper will focus on the rationale behind the French colonization of Tunisia in the 19th century. The major question is: why did the French colonize Tunisia and what the French hoping to achieve? Before embarking on the French colonization of Tunisia, it is of essence to highlight the activities and effects of other powerful nations on Tunisia prior to the French. Ancient Tunisia was inhabited by Berbers, who led a nomadic way of life and lived in caves. However, in the 9th century BC, the Phoenicians arrived in Africa through the Mediterranean Sea and colonized Tunisia. The Phoenicians established the city of Carthage in Tunisia and influenced its religion, economy, culture, and politics. Consequently, Carthage became one of the most prosperous cities in the Mediterranean region. This prosperity, nevertheless, did not last long, as Carthage was involved in supremacy battles with Rome. Unfortunately for Carthage, it lost the battles to Rome, thus Tunisia was placed under the Roman rule. Many roman businessmen settled in Tunisia and exploited its fertile soils, natural minerals, and consumer goods2. Within no time, Tunisia became famous for supplying agricultural products all over Europe. The Romans also established Christianity in Tunisia. The Romans were succeeded by the vandals who enhanced the agricultural and commercial life in Tunisia. However, the vandals did not recognize the native Berbers of Tunisia in their rule and this led to Tunisia being taken over by the Byzantine Empire. Constant battles between the Byzantine Empire and other nations wanting to control Tunisia led to the decline of the Byzantine Empire rule. In the 14th century BC, the Ottoman Turks, particularly the Beys invaded and conquered Tunisia. Under the rule of the Beys, Tunisia achieved economic, social, and political prosperity. For example, education was prioritized and nationalism upheld. At this time, European countries offered to help Tunisia in improving its international trade. The Bey went on an extravagant mission to increase taxes and erect major buildings in the country. However, Tunisian economy suffered at the hands of European investors, which forced Tunisia to declare bankruptcy and ask for assistance from European powers. This call for help aroused the interests of Britain, Italy and France in colonizing Tunisia. Therefore, in order for France to gain control of Tunisia, the latter had to fight off the challenge posed by Britain and Italy. Particularly, Italy felt that it was more deserving of Tunisia because; one, it had invested more wealth in Tunisia than Britain and France. Secondly, Italy had more of its citizens settled in Tunisia compared to the number of Britons and French people in Tunisia. Nevertheless, Britain agreed to let France have Tunisia, if the latter left Cyprus to the British. In 1881, some men from Tunisia had crossed over to Algeria, a French protectorate and the French used this as a perfect excuse to invade and subdue the Tunisians3. The Bardo Treaty was signed between Tunisian officials and the French officials that saw French take over the governance of Tunisia. Italy did not wish to fight with France over the control of Tunisia, thus in 1884, Tunisia was formally recognized as a French protectorate. Once France had solidified its control over Tunisia, France paid all of Tunisia’s foreign debt and as a result, Tunisia was completely under French rule. The question, therefore, remains; why did the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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