Socialist Worker

Tunisia timeline

Issue No. 2235

  • 1881: France invades and Tunisia becomes a French colony. Hundreds of thousands of Tunisians flee after a rebellion is crushed
  • 9 April, 1938: French troops open fire on independence demonstrators, killing and injuring hundreds of civilians
  • 20 March, 1956: Tunisia becomes independent after 75 years as a French protectorate. Nationalist leader Habib Bourguiba is named prime minister
  • 25 July, 1957: The monarchy is abolished and Tunisia becomes a republic. Bourguiba becomes president. US aid floods in
  • 19 July, 1961: Bourguiba demands that French forces leave their naval base in Bizerte in the north of the country.
    The French expand an airport for bombing raids in their war against Algeria.
    French paratroopers invade and kill 1,000 people
  • April 1977: 50 people are killed during riots against the government
  • 1983: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forces a rise in bread and semolina prices, sparking riots
  • 7 November, 1987: Prime minister Ben Ali takes power in a coup after having Bourguiba declared mentally unfit to rule
  • January–June, 2008: Demonstrations take place in the south-western mining region of Gafsa.
  • 6 June 2008: one demonstrator is shot dead
  • December, 2010: A wave of unrest and clashes breaks out across the country over unemployment and high prices. Protests continue in January, with at least 66 killed
  • 14 January, 2011: Ben Ali flees the country after a popular mass uprising


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