It is with the Romans that Tunis gained importance though, being rebuilt and becoming an important trading post and later city in its own right under the empire.
Incursions by the Berbers weakened the North African part of the Roman Empire though and Vandals took control.
Revolution in Tunisia may have been overdue but when it came it was relatively peaceful as has been the transition to a democracy meaning that the tourism industry in the country is stronger than ever, the coverage having possibly even highlighted Tunisia to potential tourists as a beautiful and progressive nation with a long and fascinating history.
Tourism in the country is well developed and people welcoming, even in smaller towns and villages who see less visitors.
Most Tunisians identify themselves as Arab though and the language is a Tunisian Arabic Dialect with many Berber influences and borrowed words.
The Berber language however is still spoken in places in Tunisia, primarily in remote mountain and Saharan areas.
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In Tunisia the position of women is much more equal than in many Arab countries and women visiting will find few problems in the major cities, though in restaurants and hotels questions and bills will initially be presented to the men in the party.
In law though the equality of women is guaranteed and though traditionally marriages may be arranged, often by the groom’s mother, consent of both parties is essential to make a wedding valid and breaking of agreements is common though these arrangements are becoming more rare in the first place. Tunisia has several major oil fields, these give a significant contribution to the economy, though the country certainly isn’t reliant on it.
Tunisia is now a true Republic and elections that were judged free and fair took place in October 2011 and a new constitution has been drafted.
The majority of Tunisians are of Arab and Berber origin though it is inevitable that there will still be Roman, Vandal, Turk and Phoenician blood mixed in for many natives.
Agriculture, mining and manufacturing are all important with Sfax the country’s main industrial centre.