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TUNISIA (Regency of Tunis)

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Originally appearing in Volume V27, Page 399 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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TUNISIA (Regency of Tunis), a country of North Africa, under the protection of France, bounded N. by the Mediterranean, W. by Algeria, E. by Tripoli and S. by the Sahara. Tunisia reaches farther north than any other part of Africa, Ras-al-Abiadh (Cape Blanc)]. being in 37° 20' N. On the south the boundary of the Tunisian Sahara is undetermined, but it may be roughly placed at 31° N. This would give, therefore, a greatest length of something like 44o m. The country lies between 11' 4o' E. and 7° 35' E. The average length is about 300 m., an i1 the average breadth 15o m.; consequently the area may be estimated at 50,000 sq. m. (For map, see ALGERIA.) Physical Features.—Geographically speaking, Tunisia is merely the eastern prolongation of the Mauretanian projection of northern Africa, of that strip of mountainous, fertile and fairly well-watered. country north of the Sahara desert, which in its flora and its fauna, and to some extent in its human race, belongs rather to Europe than to Africa. Tunisia is divided into the following four fairly distinct regions: I. On the north and north-west the Aures mountains of Algeria are prolonged into Tunisia, and constitute the mountainous region of the north, which lies between the Majerda river and the sea, and also includes the vicinity of the city of Tunis and the peninsula of the Dakhelat el Mawin, which terminates in Ras Addar (Cape Bon). This first division is called by the French " the Majerda Mountains." It includes within its limits the once famous district of the "Kroumirs,"2 a tribe whose occasional thefts of cattle across the frontier gave the French an excuse to invade Tunisia in 1881. The highest point which the mountains attain in this division of Tunisia is about 4125 ft., near Ain Draham in Kroumiria. The country, however, about Bizerta is very mountainous, though the summits do not attain a greater altitude than about 3000 ft. The district between Bizerta and the Gulf of Tunis is a most attractive country, resembling greatly the mountainous regions of South Wales. It is well watered by streams more or less perennial. The principal river, the Majerda, is formed by the junction of the Wad Malleg and the Wad Kkallad. It and its 1 It is possible that Ras-ben-Sekka, a little to the west of Cape Blanc, may be actually the most northerly point. 2 The French seem systematically unable to master certain sounds foreign to their own language, or sounds which they suppose to be foreign. Thus the " w," though constantly represented in French by " nu," is continually changed by them into " v " when they transcribe foreign languages, just as the Greek x and the German and Scottish " ch " is almost invariably rendered by the French in Algeria and Tunis as " kr." Add to this the insertion of vowel sounds where they are lacking in the Arabic and you derive from the real word Khmir the modern French term of Kroumir. In like manner sebkha, a salt lake, is constantly written by the French as sebkra. `ributaries rise in the Majerda and Aures mountains. Flowing their volume that in several places they form actual ever-flowing north-east the Majerda forms an extensive plain in its lower course, rivers. Only for the intervention of man these rivers would at all reaching the sea near the ruins of Utica. Vegetation is abundant, times find their way into the adjoining depressions, which they and recalls that of the more fertile districts of southern Spain and would maintain as lakes of water. But for a long period past the of Italy. On the higher mountains the flora has a very English freshwater streams (which predominate) have been used for character, though the actual species of plants may not be the irrigation to such a degree that very little of the precious water is same. allowed to run to waste into the lake basins; so that these latter 2. The central plateau region, stretching between the Majerda receive only a few salt streams, which deposit on their surface the valley and the mountains of Gafsa. The average elevation of this salt they contain and then evaporate. This abundant supply of country is about 2000 ft. The climate, therefore, in parts is ex- fresh' warm water maintains oases of extraordinary luxuriance in ceedingly cold and bleak in winter, and as it is very wind-swept a country where rain falls very rarely. Perennial streams of the and parched in summer by the terrible qibli or " sirocco " it is description referred to are found between the Algerian frontier much less attractive in appearance than the favoured region on the and Gabes on the coast. The town at Gabes itself is on the fringe northern littoral. Although it is almost always covered with some of a splendid oasis, which is maintained by the water of an ever-kind of vegetation, trees are relatively rare. A few of the higher running stream emptying itself into the sea at Gabes after a course mountains have the Aleppo pine and the juniper; elsewhere only of not more than 20 M. an infrequent wild terebinth is to be seen. In these two regions All this region round the shats has been called the Jerid " the date palm is never met with growing naturally wild. Its pre- from the time of the Arab occupation. " Jerid " means in Arabic sence is always due to its having been planted by man at some time a " palm frond " and inferentially "a palm grove." The Jerid. or another, and therefore it is never seen far from human habitations. The fame of this Belad-el-Jerid, or " Country of the These central uplands of Tunisia in an uncultivated state are covered Date Palms," was so exaggerated during the 17th and 18th centuries with alfa or esparto grass; but they also grow considerable amounts that the European geographers extended the designation from this of cereals—wheat in the north, barley in the south. The range of small area in the south of Tunisia to cover much of inner Africa. the Saharan Atlas of Algeria divides (roughly speaking) into two With this country of Jerid may be included the island of Jerba, at the Tunisian frontier. One branch extends northwards up which lies close to the coast of Tunisia in the Gulf of Gabes. The this frontier and north-eastwards across the central Tunisian present writer believes that the date palm was really indigenous table-land, and the other continues south-eastwards between Gafsa to this district of the Jerid, as it is to countries of similar descripand the salt lakes of the Jerid. The greatest altitudes of the whole of tion in southern Morocco, southern Algeria, parts of the Tripoli-Tunisia are attained on this central table-land, where Mt Sidi taine, Egypt, Mesopotamia, southern Persia and north-western Ali bu Musin ascends to about 5700 ft. About 30 M. south of the India; but that north of the latitude of the Jerid the date did not city of Tunis is the picturesque mountain of Zaghwan, approxi- grow naturally in Mauretania, just as it was foreign to all parts of mately 4000 ft. in altitude, and from whose perennial springs Europe, in which, as in true North Africa, its presence is due to comes the water-supply of Tunis to-day as it did in the time of the the hand of man. To some extent it may be said that true North Carthaginians and Romans. North-east of Zaghwan, and nearer Africa lies to the north of the Jerid country, which, besides its Tunis, is the Jebel Resas, or Mountain of Lead, the height of which Saharan, Arabian and Persian affinities, has a touch about it of is just under 4000 ft. real Africa, some such touch as may be observed in the valley of 3. The'Sahel. This well-known Arab term for coast-belt (which the Jordan. In the oases of the Jerid are found several species of in the plural form reappears as the familiar " Swahili " of Zanzibar) tropical African mammals and two or three of Senegalese birds, is applied to a third division of Tunisia, viz. the littoral region and the vegetation seems to have as much affinity with tropical stretching from the Gulf of Hammamet to the south of Sfax. It Africa as with Europe. In fact, the country between the Matmata is a region varying from 30 to 6o m. in breadth, fairly well watered highlands and the strait separating Jerba from the mainland is and fertile. In a less marked way this fertile coast region is con- singularly African in the character and aspect of its flora. To the tinued southwards in an ever-narrowing belt to the Tripolitan south of the Jerid the country is mainly desert—vast unexplored frontier. This region is relatively flat, in some districts slightly tracts of shifting sand, with rare oases. Nevertheless,: all this marshy, but the water oozing from the soil is often brackish, and southern district of Tunisia bears evidence of once having been. in places large shallow salt lakes are formed. Quite close to the subject to a heavy rainfall, which scooped out deep valleys in the sea, all along the coast from Hammamet to Sfax, there are great original table-land, and has justified the present existence of imfertility and much cultivation; but a little distance inland the country mense watercourses—watercourses which are still, near their origin, has a rather wild and desolate aspect, though it is nowhere a desert favoured with a little water. until the latitude of Sfax has been passed. Hot and mineral springs may be almost said to constitute one of 4. The Tunisian Sahara. This occupies the whole of the southern the specialities of Tunisia. They offered a singular attraction to division of Tunisia, but although desert predominates, it is by no the Romans, and their presence in remote parts of the M/neral means all desert. At the south-eastern extremity of Tunisia there country no doubt was often the principal causeof Roman Springs. is a clump of mountainous country, the wind-and-water-worn settlement. Even at the present day their value is fragments of an ancient plateau, which for convenience may be much appreciated by the natives, who continue to bathe in the ruined styled the Matmata table-land. Here altitudes of over 3000 ft. are I Roman baths. The principal mineral springs of medicinal value reached in places, and in all the upper parts of this table-land there are those of Korbus and Hammam Lif (of remarkable efficacy in is fairly abundant vegetation, grass and herbage with low junipers, rheumatic and syphilitic affections and certain skin diseases), but with no pine trees. Fairly high mountains (in places verging of the Jerid and Gafsa, of El Hamma, near Gabes, and of various on 4000 ft.) are found between Gafsa and the salt lakes of the I sites in the Kroumir country. Jerid. I Climate.—The rainfall in the first geographical division is pretty These salt lakes are a very curious feature. They stretch with I constant, and may reach a yearly avera e of about 22 in. Over only two short breaks in a line from the Mediterranean at the Gulf of Gabes to the Algerian frontier, which they penetrate for a considerable distance. They are called by the French (with their usual inaccuracy of pronunciation and spelling) " chotts "; the word should really be the Arabic shat, an Arab term for a broad canal, an estuary or lake. These shats however are, strictly speaking, not lakes at all at the present day. They are smooth de-pressed areas (in the case of the largest, the Shat el Jerid, lying a few feet below the level of the Mediterranean), which for more than half the year are expanses of dried mud covered with a thick incrustation of white or grey salt. This salt covering gives them meshes. at a distance the appearance of big sheets of water. During the winter. however, when the effect of the rare winter rains is felt, there may actually be 3 or 4 ft. of water in these chats, which by liquefying the mud makes them perfectly impassable. Otherwise, for about seven months of the year they can be crossed on foot or on horseback. It would seem probable that at one time these shats (at any rate the Shat el Jerid) were an inlet of the Mediterranean, which by the elevation of a narrow strip of land on the Gulf of Gabes has been cut off from them. It is, however, a region of past volcanic activity, and these salt depressions may be due to that cause. Man is probably the principal agent at the present day in causing these shats to be without water. All round these salt lakes there are numerous springs, gushing from the sandy hillocks. Almost all these springs are at a very hot temperature, often at boiling point. Some of them are charged with salt, others are perfectly fresh and sweet, though boiling hot. So abundant is the second and third divisions the rainfall is less constant, and its yearly average may not exceed 17 in. The mean annual temperature at Susa is 75° F., the mean of the winter or rainy season 6o° and of the hot season 97°. At Tunis the temperature rarely exceeds 90°, except with a wind from the Sahara. The prevailing winds from May to September are east and north-east and during the rest of the year north-west and east. A rainy season of about two months usually begins in January ; the spring season of verdure is over in May; summer ends in October with the first rains. Violent winds are common at both equinoxes. In the Tunisian Sahara rain is most uncertain. Occasionally two or three years may pass without any rainfall; then may come floods after a heavy down-fall of a few weeks. Perhaps if an average could be struck it would amount to 9 or 10 in. per annum. [Geology.—The greater part of Tunisia is composed of sandstones, marls and loosely stratified deposits belonging to the Pliocene and Quaternary periods. The oldest strata, consisting of gypsiferous marls, are referred to the Muschelkalk and show an alternation of lagoon with marine conditions. The Lias and Oolite formations are well represented, but the Sequanian and Kimmeridgian subdivisions are absent. Lower Cretaceous rocks, consisting of thick limestones, shales and marls, occur in Central Tunisia. The fossils show many notable affinities with those in the Lower Cretaceous of the Pyrenees. Limestones and marls represent the stages Cenomanian to Upper Senonian.. The fossils of the Cenomanian have affinities with those in the Cenomanian of Spain, Egypt; Madagascar, Mozambique and India. The Senonian consists of a central facies with Micrasler peini; a meridional facies with Ostrea; and a northern facies developed round Tunisia with large forms of Inoceramus and echinoids. Phosphatic deposits are well developed among the Lower Eocene rocks. The Middle Eocene is characterized by the presence of Ostrea bogharensis and the Upper Eocene by highly fossiliferous sandstones and marls. The Oligocene and Miocene formations are present, but the Upper Miocene is confined to the coast. Quaternary deposits cover much of the desert regions.'] Minerals.—Coal has been discovered in the Khmir (" Kroumir ") country, but the principal mines at present worked in Tunisia are those of copper, lead and zinc. Zinc is chiefly found in the form of calamine. Iron is worked in the Kef district. Valuable deposits of phosphates are present, chiefly in the south-west of Tunisia, in the district of Gafsa. Marble is found in the valley of the Majerda (at Shemtu), at Jebel Ust (about 35 M. south of Tunis), and at Jebel Dissa, near Gabes. The marbles of Shemtu are the finest pink Numidian marbles, which were much esteemed by the Carthaginians and Romans. It has been sought to work again the ancient quarries of Shemtu, but it was found that the marble had been spoilt by ferruginous and calcareous veins. Flora.—The flora of Tunisia is very nearly identical with that of Algeria, though it offers a few species either peculiar to itself or not found in the last-named country. On the whole its character is less Saharan than that of parts of Algeria, for the influences of the desert do not penetrate so far north in Tunisia as they do in Algeria. There are very few patches of real forest outside the Khmir country,' though it is probable that in the time of the Romans the land was a good deal more covered with trees than at the present day, Some authorities, however, dispute this, in a measure, by saying that it was not naturally forested, and that the trees growing represented orchards of olives or other fruit trees planted by the Romans or romanized Berbers. But in the Majerda Mountains there are dense primeval forests lingering to the present day, and consisting chiefly of the cork oak (Quercus ruber), and two other species of oak (Quercus mirbeckii and Q. kermes), the pistachio or terebinth tree, the sumach (Rhus pentaphila), and other species of Rhus which are widely spread. In the mountains of Khmiria and the central plateau there are also the alder, the poplar, the Aleppo pine, the caroub, the tamarisk, the maple, the nettle-tree, several willows and junipers. The jujube-tree (Zizyphus) is found at various places along the eastern littoral, The 'rtama shrub is met with in sandy districts, especially in the Sahara, but also right up to the north of Tunisia. The wild olive, the wild cherry, two species of wild plums, the myrtle, the ivy, arbutus, and two species of holly are found in the mountains of Khmiria,. at various sites at high elevation near Tunis and Bizerta, and along the mountainous belt of the south-west which forms the frontier region between Tunisia and Algeria. The present writer, riding up to these frontier mountains from the thoroughly Saharan country round Gafsa, found himself surrounded by a flora very reminiscent of Switzerland or England. On the other hand, the flora of the shat region, of the south-eastern littoral, and of the Kerkena islands opposite Sfax, is thoroughly- Saharan, with a dash, as it were, in places of an African element. The date palm grows wild, as has been already related, in Jerba. The only other species of palm found wild in Tunisia is the Chamaerops humilis, or dwarf palm, which is found on the mountains of the north at no very great altitude. The wild flowers of the north of Tunisia are so extremely beautiful during the months of February, March and April as to constitute a distinct attraetion in themselves? ' See, L. Pervinquiere, L'Etude geologique de la Tunisie centrale (Paris, 19o3); G. Rolland, " Carte geologique du littoral nord de la Tunisie," Bull. soc. geol. de la France (1888), vol. xvii.; H. H. Johnston, " A Journey through the Tunisian Sahara," Geog. Journ. (1898), vol. xi.; Carte geologique de la regence de Tunis, 1:800,000 with notes (Tunis, 1892). ' List of Plants commonly met with in northern Tunisia: Adonis microcarpa, DC. Lycium europaeum, L. Nigella damascena, L. Solanum sodomaeum, L. Fumaria spicata, L. Celsia cretica, L. Cistus halimifolius, L. Linaria, sp. allied to L. reflexa, Silene rubella, L. Desf. Oxalis cernua, Thunb. Linaria triphylla, L, var. Geranium tuberosum, L. Orobanche, sp. Malva sylvestris, L. Trixago a/ ula, Stev. Tetragonolobus purpureus, Moench. Cynomorium coccineum. Retama retam, Webb." Plantago albicans, L. Fedia cornucopiae, Gaertn. Euphorbia serrata, L. Helichrysum Stoechas, DC. Ophrys fusca, Link. Centaurea (Seridia), sp. Orchis papilionacea, L. Urospermum Dalechampi, Desf. Romulea bulbocodium, Sebast. and Scorzonera alexandrina, Boiss. Mauri. Stachys hirta, L. Gladiolus byzantinus, Mill. Stachys, sp. not identified. Ornithogalum umbellatum, L. Anagallis collina, Schousb. Allium roseum, L. Convolvulus tricolor, L. Asphodelus fistulosus, L. Solenanthus lanatus, DC. Muscari comosum, Mill. Fauna.—The fauna of Tunisia at the present day is much im• poverished as regards mammals, birds and reptiles. In 188o the present writer saw lions killed in the north-west of Tunisia, but by 1902 the lion was regarded as practically extinct in the regency, though occasional rumours of his appearance come from the Khmir Mountains and near Feriana. Leopards of large size are still found in the north-west of central Tunisia. The cheetah lingers in the extreme south of the Jerid; so also does the caracal lynx. The pardine lynx is found fairly abundantly in the west of Tunisia in the mountains and forest. The striped hyena is scattered over the country sparsely. The genet and the common jackal are fairly abundant. The common ichneumon is rare. The zorilla, another purely African species, is found in the south of Tunisia. The Barbary otter is present in the Majerda and in some of the salt lakes. The Tunisian hedgehog is peculiar to that country and to Algeria. There is a second species (Erinaceus deserti) which is common to all North Africa. In the south of Tunisia, especially about the shats, the elephant-shrew (Macroscelides) is found, an animal of purely African affinities. Tunisia does not appear to possess the Barbary ape, which is found in Algeria and Morocco. Natives of Morocco and of the Sahara oases occasionally bring with them young baboons which they assert are obtained in various Sahara countries to the south and south-west of Tunisia. These baboons appear to belong to the Nubian species, but they cannot be considered indigenous to any part of Tunisia. The porcupine and a large Octodont rodent (Ctenodactylus), the jerboa (two species), the hare, and various other rodents are met with in Tunisia. The wild boar inhabits the country, in spite of much persecution at the hands of " chasseurs." The forested regions shelter the hand-some Barbary red deer, which is peculiar to this region and the adjoining districts of Algeria. In the extreme south, in the Sahara desert, the addax antelope is still found. The hartebeest appears now to be quite extinct; so also is the leucoryx, though formerly these two antelopes were found right up to the centre of Tunisia, as was also the ostrich, now entirely absent from the country. In the marshy lake near Mater (north Tunisia), round the mountain island of Jebel Ashkel, is a herd of over 50 buffaloes; these.. are said to resemble the domestic (Indian) buffalo of the Levant and Italy, and to have their origin in a gift of domestic buffaloes from a former king of Naples to a bey or dey of Tunis. Others again assert the buffaloes to have been there from time immemorial ; ' in which case it is very desirable that a specimen should be submitted for examination. [An allied form with gigantic horns is found fossil in Algeria.] They are the private property of the bey, who very properly preserves them. Far down in the Sahara, to the south of Tunisia, the Arabs report the existence of a wild ass,' apparently identical with that of Nubia. Roman mosaics show representations not only of this ass, but of the oryx, hartebeest, and perhaps of the addax. The dorcas gazelle is still common in the south of Tunisia; but perhaps the most interesting ruminant is the magnificent udad, or Barbary sheep, which is found in the sterile mountainous regions of south Tunisia. The birds have been ably}' illustrated by Mr Whitaker in the Ibis magazine of the ]3ritisl'i Ornithological Union. They are, as a rule, common to the south Mediterranean region. A beautiful little bird almost peculiar to the south of Tunisia and the adjoining regions of Algeria, is a species of bunting (Fringilla), called by the Arabs bu-habibi.' This little bird, which is about the size of the linnet, has the head and back silvery blue, and the rest of the plumage chocolate red-brown. It is of the most engaging tameness, being fortunately protected by popular sentiment from injury. It inhabits the Jerid, and ex-tends thence across the Algerian frontier. Among reptiles the Egyptian cobra seems to be indigenous in the south, where also is found the dreaded horned viper. Some nine or ten other species of snakes are present, together with an abundance of lizards, including the Varanus, and most species of Mediterranean tortoises are represented. The coasts are very rich in fish, and the tunny fisheries of the north are one of the principal sources from which the world's supply of tunny is derived. Inhabitants.—The natives of Tunisia at the present day belong mainly to two stocks, which may be roughly classified as the Berber (q.v.) and the Arab (q.v.), about two-thirds being of Berber and the remaining third of Arab descent. But, the Berbers of to-day are little more than an incomplete fusion of some four earlier and once independent stocks. These four divisions taken in the order of their assumed priority of invasion or habitation are: (1) the "Neanderthal " type, which is found in the districts of the shats and the adjoining Matmata table-land in the south, and in the " Kroumir country of the Echium sericeum, Vahl. Arum italicum, Mill. Echium maritimum, Willd. Lagurus ovatus, L. Anchusa italica, Retz. To this list should also be added the common wild tulip, the Italian cyclamen, the common scarlet poppy, the fennel, wild carrot and many varieties of thistle, some of gorgeous colouring. " Father of my friend." north-west;' (2) ordinary Berbers, dolichocephalous, and of brown complexion, found over the greater part of Tunisia, especially in the east and south centre; (3) the short-headed Berbers, found in part of the Matmata country, part of the Sahara, the island of Jerba, the Cape Bon Peninsula, and the vicinity of Susa, Kairwan, and Sfax; (4) Berbers of a blond type, that is to say, with a tendency to brown or yellow moustaches, brown beard and head hair, and grey eyes. These are met with in the west and north-west of Tunisia, and in one patch on the coast of the Cape Bon Peninsula, near Nabeul. The Arabs of more or less unmixed descent are purely nomads. They are met with in a long strip of country south of the Majerda, between the Algerian frontier and the sea-coast north of Susa; also inland, to the south-west of Susa, and near Kef; also in another long strip between the vicinity of Sfax on the north and the Jerid on the south. They are descended from the second Arab invasion which began in the rrth century (see History). The extreme south of Tunis is ranged over by Berber Tawareg2 or Tamasheq. Berber dialects are still spoken in Tunisia in the island of Jerba, in the Matmata country, and in the Tunisian Sahara. Elsewhere to a remarkable degree the Arabic language has extinguished the Berber tongue, though no doubt in vulgar Tunisian a good many Berber words remain. Short vocabularies of the Berber spoken in the Tunisian Sahara have been published by Sir H. H. Johnston in the Geog. Journ. (1898), vol. xi., and by Mr G. B. Michell in the Journ. African Soc. (1903). The Berbers are organized in tribes with purely democratic government and laws of their own, which are not those of the Koran. On the north-eastern littoral of Tunisia the population is very mixed. The inhabitants of the Cape Bon Peninsula show evident signs of Greek blood arising from Greek invasions, which began in prehistoric times and finished with the downfall of the Byzantine Empire in North Africa. The presence of the Romans, and the constant introduction of. the Italians, first as slaves, and quite recently as colonists, has also added an Italian element to the north Tunisian population. But from the fact that the bulk of the Tunisian population belongs to the Iberian section of the Berbers, and to this being no doubt the fundamental stock of most Italian peoples, the intermixture of the Italianized Berber with his African brother has not much affected the physique of the people, though it may have slightly tinged their mental characteristics. The Phoenicians have left no marked trace of their presence; but inasmuch as they were probably of nearly the same race as the Arabs, it would not be easy to distinguish the two types. Arab and Berber have mingled to some extent, though no considerable fusion of the two elements has taken place. In fact, it is thought by some French students of the country that the Arab element will probably be eliminated from Tunisia, as it is the most unsettled. It is considered that these nomads will be gently pushed back towards the Sahara, leaving cultivable Tunisia to the settled Berber stock, a stock fundamentally one with the peoples of Mediterranean Europe. The inhabitants of the coast towns belong, in large, part,. to the class generally known as " Moors." The pure Turks and the Kuluglis (sons of Turkish fathers by Moorish women or slave girls) are no longer numerous. Among the " Moors " the descendants of the Andalusian refugees form an exclusive and aristocratic class. The present population of Tunisia numbers approximately 2,000,000, and consists of: 620,000 Berbers, more or less of pure race, say . . Arabs, „ . 500,000 Mixed Arab and Berber peoples, say . . . . 520,000 ' In this Matmata country are the celebrated Troglodytes, people living in caves and underground dwellings now, much as they did in the days when the early Greek geographers alluded to them. See " A Journey in the Tunisian Sahara," by Sir H. H. Johnston, in the Geog. Journ. (June 1898). t Tawareq (Tuareg) is the Arab designation of the Libyan or Desert Berbers. It is the plural form of Tarqi, " a raider." The Tawareq call themselves by some variant of the root Masheq—Tamasheq, Imoshagh, &c. Moors " (chiefly the population of the principal cities, of mixed Roman, Berber, Spanish, Moor and Christian races), say rio,000 Sudanese negroes and natives of Morocco, Tripoli and Turkey, say 40,000 Jews (mostly natives of Tunis, indeed, some descended from families settled at Carthage before the destruction of Jerusalem) . . . 68,000 Europeans (Christians) 2 163,000 Towns. Besides the capital, Tunis, the chief towns of Tunisia are Sfax, Susa and Kairwan. These places are noticed separately, as are also Goletta (formerly the port of Tunis), Bizerta (a naval port and arsenal), Kef, Porto Farina, and the ruins at Carthage and $beitla (Sufetula). Other towns of Tunisia are, on the east coast, Nabeul, pop. about 5000, the ancient Neapolis, noted for the mildness of its climate and its pottery manufactures; Hammamet with 3700 inhabitants; Monastir (the Ruspina of the Romans), a walled town with 5600 inhabitants and a trade in cereals and oils; Mandiya or Mandia (q.v.; in ancient chronicles called the city of Africa and sometimes the capital of the country) with 8500 inhabitants, the fallen city of the Fatimites, which since the French occupation has risen from its ruins, and has a new harbour (the ancient Cothon or harbour, of Phoenician origin, cut out of the rock is nearly dry but in excellent preservation); and Gabes (Tacape of the Romans, Qabis of the Arabs) on the Syrtis, a group of small villages, with an aggregate population of 16,000, the port of the Shat country and a depot of the esparto trade. The chief town of the Majerda basin is Beja (pop. 5000), the ancient Vaga, an important corn market. The principal mosque at Beja was originally a Christian basilica, and is still dedicated to Sidna Aissa (our Lord Jesus). Gafsa, in the south of Tunisia, is a most interesting old Roman town, with hot springs. It is in railway communication with Sfax. West of Gafsa are immense beds of phosphates. Almost all the towns of Tunisia were originally Roman or romanized Berber settlements; consequently the remains of Roman buildings form a large part of the material of which their existing structures are composed. Antiquities and Art.—The principal Roman and other ruins in the regency, are the aqueducts near the capital (Tunis) and the temple at Zaghwan, described under Tunis city; the great reservoir near Carthage (q.v.); the amphitheatre at El Jem (see SusA); the temples and other ruins of Sbeitla (q.v.); the ruins of Dugga, near Tebursuk, in the north-west of the regency (the amphitheatre of Dugga, the ancient Thugga, is a magnificent spectacle) ; the baths, amphitheatre and temples of Feriana (the ancient Thelepte); the whole route between Feriana (which is in the south of Tunisia, 33 in. north-west of Gafsa) and Tebessa in Algeria is strewn on both sides with Roman ruins; the old houses and other ruins at and near Thala; the baths and other ruins of Gafsa; the baths at Tuzer, El Hamma and Gabes. There is an interesting Phoenician burial-ground near Mandia. There are Roman ruins, scarcely known, in the vicinity of Beja and the country of the Mogods (the district behind Cape Serrat). In short, Tunisia is as much strewn with Roman remains as is Italy itself. Saracenic art has perhaps not attained here the high degree it reached in western Algeria, Spain and Egypt; still it presents much that is beautiful to see and worthy to be studied. .One of the most ancient, as it is one of the loveliest fragments, strange to say, is found at Tuzer, in the Jerid, the mahrab of a ruined mosque.4 There are some very beautiful doorways to mosques and other specimens of Moorish art at Gabes. Examples of this art found at Tunis and Kairwan have been noticed under those headings. But the visible remains of Saracenic art in Tunis and its vicinity are of relatively recent date, the few mosques which might offer earlier examples not being open to inspection by Christians. It may be noted, however, as a general condition that the native towns and villages of Tunisia, where they have not been spoiled by the shocking tastelessness of Mediterranean Europe, are exceedingly picturesque, and offer exceptional attractions to the painter. Industries.—Agriculture is the principal industry. Oats, wheat and barley are the chief crops in the north. In the central region 8 Of recent introduction for the most part, consisting (census of 1906) of 81,156 Italians, 34,610 French, 10,330 Maltese, about r000 Greeks and the remainder British, German, Austrian, &c. The French army of occupation (20,360 men) is not included in these figures. Since this was written the mahrab in question has been removed to Paris. the olive is largely cultivated, in the south the date-palm. Viticulture is also of importance; almonds, oranges, lemons, &c., are also grown for export. The alfa and cork industries employ large numbers of persons, as do also the sardine, anchovy and tunny fisheries. The fisheries are in the hands of Italians, Maltese and Greeks. There are large herds of cattle and flocks of sheep and goats. About 6o,000 acres are cultivated by French immigrants and about 15,000 acres by Italians. Among native industries may be mentioned the spinning and weaving of wool for clothing, carpet-weaving, the manufacture of pottery, slippers and matting, saddle-making and leather embroidery. Silk-weaving, formerly important, is declining. In 1907 the number of mines working was 32. The export of phosphates rose from 445,000 tons in 1904 to 1,267,000 tons in 1908. The export of coal in that year was 74,000 tons, and copper ore 937 tons (vide supra, § Minerals). Commerce.—The commerce of Tunisia has thriven under the French protectorate, having risen from an annual total of about £1,700,000 in 1881 to £8,687,000 in 1908. British trade with Tunisia has nearly tripled since the establishment of the French protectorate. It stood at over £600,000 in annual value during the year 1898. In 1908 the total trade with Great Britain and Malta amounted to £914,000. In the same year the imports from France exceeded £2,750,000 and the exports to France £1,685,000. From Algeria the imports were £656,000; to Algeria the exports were £185,000. The principal exports are olive oil, wheat, esparto grass, barley, sponges, dates, fish (especially tunny), hides, horses, wool, phosphates, copper, zinc and lead. The imports consist mainly of European manufactured goods (especially British cotton), machinery, flour, alcohol, sugar, timber, coal and petroleum. About half the shipping trade is in the hands of the French; in 1908, of the total tonnage of ships entered, 4,155,009, French vessels represented 1,905,000 tons, Italian vessels 1,422,000 tons and British vessels 299,000 tons. Communications.—The French have made since 1882 about 2000 M. of good roads. The first railway built (1871–1872) was that between Goletta and Tunis. This line, with the extensions to La Marsa and Bardo, is 211 M. in length. It was constructed by an English company, which in 188o sold it to an Italian company, despite the keen competition of French rivals (see History, below). The conversion of Tunis into a seaport (1893) destroyed the importance of this line, which was then sold to the French Bone-Guelma Company (Bone-Guelma et Prolongements), which owns the majority of the railways in Tunisia. The second railway connects the capital with the frontier of Algeria, where, at Suk Ahras, it joins the main line to Constantine, Algiers, &c. This line was built by the Bone-Guelma Company. The concession was obtained in 1877, and the line, 191 M. long, was finished in 1880. A branch line (8 m.) connected Beja with this railway, and another (II m.) ran from Tunis to Hamman-el-Enf, a favourite seaside resort of the Tunisians. For the next twelve years there was a pause in railway construction followed by the opening, in 1892, of the line between Susa and Moknine (30 m.). Then came the continuation of the line from Hamman-el-Enf to 1-Iammamet and along the Sahel to Susa (93 m.), and the building of a line from Susa to Kairwan, 31 M. (the last-named line superseded a horse-tramway built by the French army during the campaign of 1881). A branch line to Bizerta (432 m.) from Jedeida on the main Algeria-Tunis line was also built as well as one from Tunis to Zaghwan (44 m.). A short line, branching from the Tunis-Zaghwan line, was carried south-west to Pont du Fahs. These with a few short branch lines were built between 1892 and 1900 by the Bone-Guelma Company. In 1906 was opened a continuation of the line from Pont du Fahs to Kef and thence south-west to Kalaat-es-Senam, a place midway between Kef and Tebessa, the centre of the Algerian phosphate region. A branch from the Kef line runs to the phosphate mines of Kalaa-Jerda. Another railway (completed by 1900) runs from Sfax, along the coast to Mahres, thence inland to Gafsa and the phosphate mines of Metalwi. This line, 151 m. long, was for some years isolated from the general Tunisian system. The total mileage of the Tunisian railways was computed to be 1060 m. by the finishing of the Susa-Sfax, Gabes-Tebessa lines in 1909. Extensions of the railway system are contemplated to Gabes and, beyond, to the Tripolitan frontier. In the south communication is maintained chiefly by camel caravans. Posts and Telegraphs.—The whole of Tunisia is covered with a network of telegraph lines (2500 m.), and there are telephones working in most of the large towns. The telegraph system penetrates to the farthest French post in the Sahara, is connected with the Turkish system on the Tripolitan frontier and with Algeria, and by cable with Sicily, Malta, Sardinia and Marseilles. There is an efficient post office service, with about 400 post offices. Finance.—The principal bank is the Banque de Tunisie. The coinage formerly was the caroub and piastre (the latter worth about 6d.), but in 1891 the French reformed the coinage, substituting the franc as a unit, and having the money minted at Paris. The values of the coinage are pieces of 5 and 10 centimes in bronze, of 50 centimes, I franc and 2 francs in silver, of lo francs and 20 francs in gold. The inscriptions are in French and Arabic. The public debt was consolidated in 1884 into a total of £5,7o2,000, guaranteed by France, and bearing 4% interest. In 1888 it was converted into a loan paying 31% interest, and in 1892 another conversion reduced the rate of interest to 3 %. In 1902 a new loan of £1,800,00o was issued at 3%. At the beginning of 1907 the total Tunisian debt was £9,287,260; in that year the government was authorized to contract another loan of £5,000,000 at 3% (L3,000,000 being guaranteed by France) for railways, roads and colonization. The weights and measures are those of France. The revenue for the year 1900 was £1,456,640, and the expenditure was £1,452,597. In 1910 receipts and expenditure balanced at about £1,888,000 each. The principal sources of revenue are direct taxation, stamp and death duties, customs, port and lighthouse dues, octroi and tithes, tobacco, salt and gunpowder monopolies, postal and telegraph receipts, and revenue from the state domains (lands, fisheries, forests, mines). The civil list paid to the Bey of Tunis amounts to £36,00o per annum, and the endowment of the princes and princesses of the beylical family to £31,200 a year more. Administration.—From a native's point of view Tunisia still appears to be governed by the Bey of Tunis, his Arab ministers and his Arab officials, the French only exercising an indirect—though, a very real—control over the indigenous population (Mahommedans and Jews). But all Christians and foreigners are directly governed by the French, and the native administration is supervised by a staff of thirteen French controleurs and their French and Tunisian subordinates. Seven of the departments of state have Frenchmen at their head, the other two, Tunisians: thus the larger proportion of the Bey-'s ministers are French. France is directly represented in Tunisia by a minister resident-general, and by an assistant resident. The French resident-general is the virtual viceroy of Tunisia, and is minister for foreign affairs. Besides Mussulman (native) schools there were in the regency, in 1906, 158 public schools, 5 lycees and colleges and 21 private schools. At these schools were 22,000 pupils (13,000 boys), all save 3500 Mussulmans being Europeans or Jews. History.—The history of Tunisia begins for us with the establishment of the Phoenician colonies (see PHOENICIA and CARTHAGE). The Punic settlers semitized the coast, but left the Berbers of the interior almost untouched. The Romans entered into the heritage of the Carthaginians and the vassal kings of Numidia, and Punic speech and civilization The gave way to Latin, a change which from the time Province of of Caesar was helped on by Italian colonization; to-"Afa•" this region the Romans gave the name of "Africa," apparently a latinizing of the Berber term " Ifriqa," " Ifrigia " (in modern Arabic, Ifrigiyah). Rich in corn, in herds, and in later times also in oil, and possessing valuable fisheries, mines and quarries, the province of Africa, of which Tunisia was the most important part, attained under the empire a prosperity to which Roman remains in all parts of the country still bear witness. Carthage was the second city of the Latin part of the empire, " after Rome the busiest and perhaps the most corrupt city of the West, and the chief centre of Latin culture and letters." In the early history of Latin Christianity Africa holds a more important place than Italy. It was here that Christian Latin literature took its rise, and to this province belong the names of Tertullian and Cyprian, of Arnobius and Lactantius, above all of Augustine. Lost to Rome by the invasion of the Vandals, who took Carthage in 439, the province was recovered by Belisarius a century later (533-34), and remained Roman till the Arab invasions of 648-69. The conqueror, 'Ogba-bin-Nafa, founded the city of Kairwan (673) which was the residence of the governors of " Ifrigiyah " under the Omayyads and thereafter the capital of the Aghlabite princes, the conquerors of Sicily, who ruled in merely nominal dependence on the Abbasids. The Latin element in Africa and the Christian faith almost disappeared in a single generation;) the Berbers of the [r The North African Church was not utterly swept away by the Moslem conquest, though its numbers at that time were Very greatly diminished, and thereafter fell gradually to vanishing point, partly by emigration to Europe. Its episcopate in the loth century still numbered thirty members, but in 1076 the Church could not provide three bishops to consecrate a new member of the episcopate, • and for that purpose Gregory VII. named two bishops to act with the archbishop of Carthage. In the 13th century the native episcopate had disappeared. Abd ul-Mumin, the Almohade conqueror of Tunisia, compelled many of the native Christians to embrace Islam, but when Tunis was captured by Charles V. in 1535, there were still found in the city native Christians, the last remnants of the mouttains, who had never been latinized and never really christianized, accepted Islam without difficulty, but showed And, con- their stubborn nationality, not only in the character quest and of their Mahommedanism, which has always been Berber mixed up with the worship of living as well as Dynasties. dead saints (marabouts) and other peculiarities, but also in political movements. The empire of the Fatimites (q.v.) rested on Berber support, and from that time forth till the advent of the Turks the dynasties of North Africa were really native, even when they claimed descent from some illustrious Arab stock. When the seat of the Fatimite Empire was removed to Egypt, the Zirites, a house of the Sanhaja Berbers, ruled as their lieutenants at Mandia, and about 1050 Mo'izz the Zirite, in connexion with a religious movement against the Shi'ites, transferred his very nominal allegiance to the Abbasid caliphs. The Fatimites in revenge let loose upon Africa about A.D. 1045 a vast horde of Beduins from Upper Egypt (Beni Hilal and Solaim), the ancestors of the modern nomads of Barbary. All North Africa was ravaged by the invaders, who, though unable to found an empire or overthrow the settled government in the towns, forced the agricultural Berbers into the mountains, and, retaining from generation to generation their lawless and predatory habits, made order and prosperity almost impossible in the open parts of the country until its effective occupations by the French. The Zirite dynasty was finally extinguished by Roger I. of Sicily, who took Mandia in 1148 and established his authority over all the Tunisian coast. Even Moslem historians speak favourably of the Norman rule in Africa; but it was brought to an early end by the Almohade caliph Abd ul-Mumin, who took Mandia in 1160. The Almohade Empire soon began to decay, and in 1336 Abu Zakariya, prince of Tunis, was able to proclaim himself independent and found a dynasty, which subsisted from Abu Hafs, the ancestor of Abu Zakariya, a Berber chieftain who had been one of the intimate disciples of the Almohade mandi) assumed the title of Prince of the Faithful, a dignity which was acknowledged even at Mecca, when in the days of Mostanir, the second Hafsite, the fall of Bagdad left Islam without a titular head. In its best days the empire of the Haf sites extended from Tlemcen to Tripoli, and they received homage from the Merinids of Fez; they held their own against repeated Frankish invasions, of which the most notable were that which cost St Louis of France his life (1270), and that of the duke of Bourbon (1390), when English troops took part in the unsuccessful siege of Mandia. They adorned Tunis with mosques, schools and other institutions, favoured letters, and in general appear to have risen above the usual level of Moslem sovereigns. But their rule was troubled by continual wars and insurrections; the support of the Beduin Arabs was imperfectly secured by pensions, which formed a heavy burden on the finances of the state;' and in later times the dynasty was weakened by family dissensions. Leo Africanus, writing early in the 16th century, gives a favourable picture of the " great city " of Tunis, which had a flourishing manufacture of fine cloth, a prosperous colony of Christian traders, and, including the suburbs, nine or ten thousand hearths; but he speaks also of the decay of once flourishing provincial towns, and especially of agriculture, the once powerful Church. Traces of Christianity remained among the Kabyles till after the conquest of Granada 492), when the in-flux of Andalusian Moors from Spain completed the conversion of those tribes. It may be added that down to the early years of the 19th century it was alleged that some of the Tuareg tribes in the Sahara professed Christianity (see e.g. Hornemann's Travels). For the North African Church after the Moslem conquest, see . Migne, Pat. lat. ; and Mas Latrie, Afrique septentrionale. Their information is summarized in the introduction to vol. ii. of Azurara's Discovery and Conquest of Guinea, Hakluyt Society's edition (1899).—ED.] ' In the 13th and 14th centuries the Hafsites also paid tribute to Sicily for the freedom of the sea and the right to import Sicilian corn—a clear proof of the decline of Tunisian agriculture.greater part of the open country lying waste for fear of the Arab marauders. Taxation was heavy, and the revenue very considerable: Don Juan of Austria, in a report to Philip II., states that the land revenue alone under the last Hafsite was 375,935 ducats, but of this a great part went in tribute to the Arabs. The conquest of Algiers by the Turks gave a dangerous neighbour to Tunisia, and after the death of Mohammed the Hafsite in 1525 a disputed succession supplied Khairad-Din Barbarossa with a pretext for occupying the conquest, est. city in the name of the sultan of Constantinople. Al-Hasan, the son of Mahommed, sought help from the emperor, and was restored in 1535 as a Spanish vassal, by a force which Charles V. commanded in person, while Andrea Doria was admiral of the fleet. But the conquest was far from complete, and was never consolidated. The Spaniards remained at Goletta and made it a strong fortress, they also occupied the island of Jerba and some points on the south-east coast; but the interior was a prey to anarchy and civil war, until in 1570 'Ali-Pasha of Algiers utterly defeated Hamid, the son and successor of I;Iasan, and occupied Tunis. In 1573 the Turks again retreated on the approach of Don Juan, who had dreams of making himself king of Tunis; but this success was not followed up, and in the next year Sultan Selim II. sent a strong expedition which drove the Spaniards from Tunis and Goletta, and reduced the country to a Turkish province. Nevertheless the Spanish occupation left a deep impression on the coast of Tunis, and not a few Spanish words passed into Tunisian Arabic. After the Turkish conquest, the civil administration was placed under a pasha; but in a few years a military revolution transferred the supreme power to a Dey elected by the janissaries, who formed the army of occupation. The government of the Deys lasted till 1705, but was soon narrowed or Rise of the overshadowed by the authority of the Beys, whose Beys. proper function was to manage the tribes and collect tribute. From 1631 to 1702 the office of Bey was hereditary in the descendants of Murad, a Corsican renegade, and their rivalry with the Deys and internal dissensions kept the country in constant disorder. Ibrahim, the last of the Deys (1702-1705), destroyed the house of Murad, and absorbed the beyship in his own office; but, when he fell in battle with the Algerians, Hussein b. the son of a Cretan renegade, was proclaimed sovereign by the troops under the title of " Bey," and, being a prince of energy and ability, was able to establish the hereditary sovereignty, which has lasted without change of dynasty to the present time .2 Frequent wars with Algiers form the chief incidents in the internal history of Tunisia under the Beys. Under Deys and Beys alike Tunisia was essentially a pirate state. Occasionally acts of chastisement, of which the bombardment of Porto Farina by Blake in 1655 was the most notable, and repeated treaties, extorted by -European powers, checked from time to time, but did not put an end to, the habitual piracies, on which indeed the public revenue of Tunis was mainly dependent. The powers were generally less concerned for the captives than for the acquisition of trading privileges, and the Beys took advantage of the commercial rivalry of England and France to play off the one power against the other. The release of all Christian slaves was not effected till after the bombardment of Algiers; and the definite abandonment of piracy may be dated from the presentation to the Bey in 1819 of a collective note of the powers assembled at Aix-la-Chapelle. The government had not elasticity enough to adapt itself to so profound a change in its ancient traditions; the finances became more and more hopelessly embarrassed, in spite of ruinous taxation; and attempts at European innovations in the court and army made matters only worse, so long as no attempt was made to improve 2 Muhammad VI. es Sadok, the reigning Bey at the time of the French occupation, died in October 1882, and was succeeded by his brother Ali IV. This prince reigned until 19o2, the throne then passing to his son Muhammad VII. el Hadi, who died in 19o8, when his cousin Muhammad VIII. en Nasr (b. 1855) became Bey. The till the advent of the Turks. The Hafsites (so called ffafaltes. the internal condition of the country. In the third quarter of the 19th century not more than a tenth part of the fertile land was under cultivation, and the yearly charge on the public debt exceeded the whole annual revenue. In these circumstances only the rivalry of the European powers that had interests in Tunisia protracted from year to year the inevitable revolution. The French began to regard the dominions of the Bey as a natural adjunct to Algeria, but after the Crimean War Turkish rights over the regency of Tunis were revived.. After the Franco-German War the embarrassed Bey turned towards Great Britain for advice, and a British protectorate—suggested by the proximity of Malta—was not an impossibility under the remarkable influence of the celebrated Sir Richard Wood, British diplomatic agent at the court of Tunis from 1855 to 1879. The railways, lighthouses, gas and waterworks and other concessions and industries were placed in British hands. But in 1878, at the Congress of Berlin, Lord Salisbury agreed to allow France a " free hand " in Tunisia in return for French acquiescence in the British lease of Cyprus. After 1862, however, the kingdom of Italy began to take a deep interest in the future of Tunisia. When the country occupation went bankrupt in 1869, a triple control was estab- by the lished over Tunisian finances, with British, French French. and Italian " controllers." In 1880 the Italians bought the British railway from Tunis to Goletta. This and other actions excited the French to act on the secret under-standing effected with the British foreign minister at the Berlin Congress. In 1881 a French force crossed the Algerian frontier under pretext of chastising the independent Khmir or Kroumir tribes on the north-east of the regency, and, quickly dropping the mask, advanced on the capital and compelled the Bey to accept the French protectorate. The actual conquest of the country was not effected without a serious struggle with Moslem fanaticism, especially at Sfax; but all Tunisia was brought completely under French jurisdiction and administration, supported by military posts at every important point. In 1883 the new situation under the French protectorate was recognized by the British government with-drawing its consular jurisdiction in favour of the French courts, and in 1885 it ceased to be represented by a diplomatic official. The other powers followed suit, except Italy, which did not recognize the full consequences of the French protectorate until 1896. In 1884 a thorough reform of the government and administration of the country was begun under the direction of a succession of eminent French residents-general. In 1897 Great Britain surrendered her commercial treaty with Tunisia and agreed (subject to a special temporary privilege regarding cotton goods) to allow her commerce and all other relations with Tunisia to be subjected to the same conditions as those affecting all such relations between Britain and France. The French protectorate over Tunisia, based on the treaty signed by the Bey at Bardo on the 12th of May 1881 and cons Relations firmed by the treaty of La Marsa (June 8, 1883), was with not recognized by Turkey, which claimed the regency Turkey. as part of the Ottoman dominions. The protests of the Porte were ignored by the French, and in 1892 Turkey so far recognized the actual situation as to determine the Tunisia-Tripoli frontier as far south as Ghadames. South of that point the Saharan frontiers of Algeria, Tunisia and Tripoli remained undefined. Working eastward from Tunisia and Algeria the French occupied several points to which Turkey laid claim. Thus the oasis of Janet, S.S.W. of Rhat, was occupied in 1906. The action of France led to counter-action by Turkey and to _various frontier incidents. Janet was re-occupied by Ottoman troops in the summer of 1910, but in deference to French protests the troops were withdrawn pending the delimitation of the frontier. At the same time Turkey maintained the claim that Tunisians were Ottoman subjects. Frontier troubles had however little effect on the remainder of the protectorate. In 1904-1905 there were famines and some native discontent in the south of Tunisia; but in general the country has prospered amazingly under the French protec-399 torate. The native dynasty has been strengthened rather than weakened, and Tunisia may be pointed out as the best and wisest example of French administration over an alien land and race. Though on a smaller scale it is worthy to be set as a pendant to the British work in Egypt.
End of Article: TUNISIA (Regency of Tunis)
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