Tunisia is mostly made up of people from distinct and mixed Berber and Arab descent. About 98% of the population identifies as Arabs, while just 1% are purely Berber and live in the Dahar mountains and the island of Djerba.
Between the late 19th century and through the 1950's, Tunisia had large populations of French and Italians, who combined made up 255,000 in 1956. Virtually all of the Europeans and the Jewish population left after the country gained independence. There was a history of Jews in the region going back 2,000 years. While the 1948 Jewish population was over 105,000, it was reduced to just 1,500 by 2003.
The Berbers are the first known inhabitants of the region, although today's Tunisia reflects many civilizations who have invaded, migrated to and been assimilated into the population over the last thousand years.
Tunisia Religion, Economy and Politics
Tunisia is an almost entirely Muslim country, with 99% of the population practicing the religion. In fact, it is the official religion of the country and the president is required to be Muslim. Nearly all of the Muslim population is Sunni, and a small indigenous population is Shia or Sufi. There are also small populations of Christians, Jews, and Baha'i - a religion from Egypt.
Since the national uprising in 2011 that changed Tunisia from a one-party state to a democracy, the economy has been in really good shape and continues to grow. Supported by the agriculture, services, electrical and mechanical industries- the economy has been growing at an increasingly fast rate to the impressive 3% growth rate of 2019.
Tunisia Population History
The country of Tunisia was a protectorate of France from 1883-1957 when they became a completely independent republic. During the period under French rule, however, Tunisia fought in the World Wars with the French. As the country grew towards the turn of the century, they became more and more democratic before holding their first multi-party elections in 1999.
In 2002, a synagogue was bombed by Al-Qaeda, killing 19 people, beginning years under the threat of terror, which ramped up in 2015 with a couple of deadly terrorist attacks- one killing 21, and the other killing 38- causing the closing of several extremist mosques.