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The medina part of the city is the most fascinating and much of the city’s suburbs are modern and built during the last century during which Tunis has grown in size and importance.Originally a roman outpost Tozeur is a stopping off point before heading into the dessert and if you are heading into the dessert or to the other natural features nearby such as the salt lakes you may decide to base yourselves from Tozeur but you will find there is a lot to see and do in the ancient city itself.The Axis armies in Tunisia surrendered in May 1943 and the Tunisians now looked to declare full independence from France as the war came to a close, it was 1957 though that Tunisia would officially become a independent republic.Bourguiba, still a national hero had been the main force behind independence for Tunisia and was the new republic’s first president: he was succeeded in 1987 by Ben Ali following a coup d’etat.
In law though the equality of women is guaranteed and though traditionally marriages may be arranged, often by the groom’s mother, consent of both parties is essential to make a wedding valid and breaking of agreements is common though these arrangements are becoming more rare in the first place. Tunisia has several major oil fields, these give a significant contribution to the economy, though the country certainly isn’t reliant on it.Later Justinian sent his Byzantine armies to recapture Tunisia from the Vandals in 553 AD and took the cities of the area back with few problems and finding the cities far from vandalised by the Vandals in fact maintained and kept in much the way the Roman Empire had left them.Arabian armies spreading the Islamic faith eventually pushed out the Christian Byzantines and spread their religion, though Arabs and Berbers fought for control for much of the next thousand years, the result was that the area became split between different tribes though Islam slowly became dominant.Tunisia is now a true Republic and elections that were judged free and fair took place in October 2011 and a new constitution has been drafted.The majority of Tunisians are of Arab and Berber origin though it is inevitable that there will still be Roman, Vandal, Turk and Phoenician blood mixed in for many natives.
Ben Ali’s rule was generally considered to be that of a dictator using sham elections to give himself legitimacy and using violence and intimidation to keep down protests.