Home > Archives > 10/11 - 2009 > From the Romans to Bourguiba
from issue no. 10/11 - 2009

Moments in history

From the Romans to Bourguiba

by Gianni Valente

The Roman amphitheater in Carthage [© Dagli Orti/The Art Archive]

The Roman amphitheater in Carthage [© Dagli Orti/The Art Archive]

Roman domination
146 BC – 439 AD The territory of Carthage became the provincia Africa. It was the first Roman colony outside the Mare Nostrum, and Utica was its capital. It was Augustus who reappointed Carthage capital of the province.

Christianity arrived in these lands in the first century, and was strongly opposed. The Church was duly constituted already by the middle of the 3rd century: Carthage became one of the capitals of western (Latin) Christianity.

Invasion and domination of the Vandals
In 439, ten years after crossing the Straits of Gibraltar, the Vandals of Genseric, Arian Christians, occupied Hippo and Carthage without opposition, and with them the entire province.

Byzantine Domination
In September 533 Belisarius, general of the Roman Empire of the East, defeated the Vandals on behalf of the Emperor Justinian, thus beginning a hundred and fifty years of Byzantine rule.

Muslims: Arabs and Ottoman Turks
In mid 7th century the penetration of the Arabs and of Islam began. Between 698 and 702 they wrenched the country from the Byzantines and settled permanently.
With the conversion of the Berbers to Islam (702), the conquest became politically irreversible.
In 1574 Tunisia was annexed by the Ottoman Empire. In 1705 the Husaynide dynasty was founded which was to reign as Bey of Tunis (governor of the provinces and vassal of the Sublime Porte) until 1957.

From 1881 to 1956, Tunisia, although formally ruled by the Bey, became a French protectorate by the Treaty of Bardo.

On 20 March 1956 the Treaty of Bardo was repealed and then Tunisia was declared independent.
On 25 July 1957 the Republic was proclaimed.
On 1 June 1959 the first republican constitution confirming the secular nature of the state was adopted.

Italiano Español Français Deutsch Português