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Tunisia is the smallest of nations situated along the Atlas mountain range. The south of the country consists of desert, and most of the remaining area consists of the very fertile soil, in addition to 1300 km (810 miles) of coastline. Played a prominent role in ancient times, twice, first with the famous Phoenician city of Carthage, and the second when it was the Romanian province in Africa, that was known as the "bread basket" of Rome. Later, Tunisia was occupied by Vandals in 5th Century AD, the Byzantines in the 6th century, and Arabs in the 8th century, under the Ottoman Empire, Tunisia was known as the "Regency of Tunisia." Subjected to the protection of the French in 1881. After gaining independence in 1956 the country's official name became "Kingdom of Tunisia" at the end of the reign of Lamine Bey and the Husainid Dynasty. With the proclamation of the Republic of Tunisia in the July 25, 1957, the nationalist leader, Habib Bourguiba became its first president.
The country was ruled by the authoritarian regime of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from 1987 to 2011 before he fled during the revolution of Tunisia. Tunisia - the export-oriented country in the process of liberalization and privatization of the economy - the average GDP growth by 5% since the early nineties, has suffered corruption in the interest of the former president's family.
Tunisia has relationships with all of the Arab world and the European Union, with which a partnership agreement was held. Tunisia is also a member of the League of Arab States and the African Union. Tunisia has established close relations with France in particular, through economic cooperation and industrial modernization, and privatization programs. The approach of the government in the conflict between Israel and Palestine has made the country as an intermediary in the field of diplomacy in the Middle East.