On 20 March 1956, Tunisia gained its independence from France after two years of negotiations between the French and the Neo-Destour (“New Constitution”) party, which was backed by the trade unions. Tunisia, located below the Mediterranean ocean became a constitutional monarchy with the Bey of Tunis, Muhammad VIII al-Amin Bey, as king.
In 1957, Habib Bourguiba the country’s Prime Minister, abolished the monarchy and declared the Republic of Tunisia.
In 1861, Tunisia became the first country in the Arab world to adopt a constitution. However, less than 10 years later political instability in the country forced Tunisia to declare itself bankrupt. Subsequently, Tunisia’s economy became the liability of a group of British, French and Italian financial commissioners.
• The Morden Historian, (2011), ‘On this day in history: Tunisia independence, 1956’, 20 March, [online], Available at: modernhistorian.blogspot.com [Accessed: 21 February 2012]