The small North African nation of Tunisia has a rich history of contact and trade with the Mediterranean region, from ancient times to the present-day. Sitting snugly between Algeria and Libya, Tunisia's position as a strategic trade and military point has attracted the attention of everyone from the Romans to the United States. Because it stretches from the sea to the borders of the Sahara, Tunisia's climate is also greatly varied. The indigenous people are known as the Berbers, and have been exploited since the first traders realized the advantage of a holding like Tunisia. This paper will follow the country's change over the centuries and development through time.
Phoenician merchants were the first to bring commerce to Tunisia around the turn of the first millennium B.C.E.. One stopover point for their trading ships was a province founded by colonists from Tyre in 814 B.C.E.,
Qart Hadasht (Carthage), or "new city". Being near the Gulf of Tunis, Qart Hadasht was an excellent center point for Phoenician trade. Settlers soon realized the commercial possibilities that Carthage enjoyed and created a thriving trading empire of their own after only two-and-a-half centuries of existence. The indigenous Berbers were exposed to an outside culture for the first time in their history, and as a result, a clear distinction between the more cosmopolitan residents of Carthage and the "primitive" Berbers made itself painfully evident in early Tunisian history and continued until independence.
Because of its strategic trade position, many civilizations have attempted to invade and/or control Tunisia's port cities. The Greeks launched one such venture, which ended in Greek victory in the fourth century B.C.E.. They never fully achieved control of Carthage, but did manage to isolate Tunisia from other Mediterranean powers. Next in line was Rome. Just...