Tunisia is located at the northern end of the African continent, sharing its western border with Algeria and its southeastern border with Libya. Following independence from France in 1956, President Habib BOURGUIBA 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 recent years, Tunisia has taken a moderate, non-aligned stance in its foreign relations. Domestically, it has sought to defuse rising pressure for a more open political society.

Type of government: republic

Capital: Tunis

Administrative divisions: 23 governorates; Beja, Ben Arous, Bizerte, Gabes, Gafsa, Jendouba, Kairouan, Kasserine, Kebili, L'Ariana, Le Kef, Mahdia, Medenine, Monastir, Nabeul, Sfax, Sidi Bou Zid, Siliana, Sousse, Tataouine, Tozeur, Tunis, Zaghouan

Independence: 20 March 1956 (from France)

National holiday: National Day, 20 March (1956)

Constitution: 1 June 1959; amended 12 July 1988

Population: 9,924,742

Land Area: 155,360 sq km

Currency: Tunisian dinar

Languages: Arabic(official), French

Religions: 1% Christian, 98% Muslim, Jewish, 1% other

Climate: temperate in north with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers; desert in south

Natural Resources: petroleum, phosphates, iron ore, lead, zinc, salt

Terrain: mountains in north; hot, dry central plain; semiarid south merges into the Sahara

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