General information about Tunisia
The official name is the Tunisian Republic (Al-Jumhuriyah at-Tunisiyah).
Located in North Africa. The area is 163.61 thousand km2, the population is 9.8 million people. (2002, estimate). The official language is Arabic. The capital is the city of Tunisia (approx. 1.8 million people, with suburbs, end of 2002, estimate). Public holiday – Independence Day March 20 (since 1956). The monetary unit is the Tunisian dinar (equal to 1000 millims).
Member of 51 international organizations, incl. UN, LAS, OIC, G-77, AU, WHO, WTO, GATT, IMF, FAO, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO.
Geography of Tunisia
Located between 30° and 34° north latitude, 9° and 13° east longitude. In the north and east it is washed by the Mediterranean Sea. In the west and southwest it borders on Algeria (965 km), in the southeast on Libya (459 km). The total length of the land borders is 1424 km. The length of the coastline is 1148 km. The land area is 155.36 thousand km2.
The relief is predominantly flat and hilly. OK. 1/3 of the territory is occupied by the Atlas Mountains (the eastern spurs of the Tel Atlas and Saharan Atlas, height 1000-1200 m) and intermountain plateaus (Northern and High Tel). In the western part of the Tunisian Range is the highest point of the country – Mount Ash-Shambi (1544 m). The rest of the territory is occupied by the Tunisian lowland (Lower Tel) in the north, to the south – the Tunisian Sahel. In the center of the country there are drainless saline lowlands – shotts – Chott el-Jerid (about 5 thousand km2), Chott el-Garsa (1.3 thousand km2), located 16-17 m below sea level. The southeastern mountains of Xur separate the hilly plains of the rocky deserts of the Sahara from the coastal lowlands. In the extreme south – the sandy desert Rmel-el-Abiod – the northern tip of the Great Eastern Erg.
Geologically, Tunisia can be divided into two parts: the northern one is a fold-cover syncline – the Tel Atlas, the aulacogene Berberid in the Tunisian Atlas, and the southern one – platform (Sahara plate).
Minerals – iron ore (Jerissa) with total reserves of 55 million tons; phosphorites (1.2 billion tons, Redeef, Gafsa, etc.); oil (reserves approx. 123 million tons) and gas (approx. 100 billion m3). In addition, there are deposits of lead (360 thousand tons) and zinc (200 thousand tons), mercury (700 tons) in the Telsky Atlas, fluorite (5 million tons), barite (1.9 million tons), manganese and potassium salts.
According to bridgat, the climate is predominantly subtropical Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and relatively cool, wet winters; in the extreme south – tropical desert, with hot sirocco winds from the Sahara. The average January temperature in the north is + 10°С, in July +26°С, in the south, respectively, +21°С, +33°С. The largest annual precipitation falls in the Northern Tel (1000-1500 mm), in the rest of the Tel – from 400 to 600 mm, and south of the Tunis Range – 100-200 mm. The amount of precipitation varies greatly from year to year.
Most of the rivers are of the Oued type. The largest river is the Mejerda (460 km long), which is widely used for hydropower and irrigation purposes. In the North – the salt lake of Bizerte (ancient sea bay), Lake Garaet-Ashkel.
Soils and vegetation. The soil and vegetation cover is predominantly of Mediterranean types. Brown carbonate soils predominate in the north, brown forest slightly podzolized soils in the Atlas Mountains, and gray-brown and saline semi-desert soils and primitive desert soils in the south. The natural vegetation is highly degraded. In mountainous areas on the coast – the islands of maquis; in the highest mountains there are forests of cork and holm oak, Aleppo pine, and arborvitae. Herbaceous vegetation with wormwood, dry-loving grasses (including alpha grass) prevails on the plains, and saltwort in semi-deserts. In the valleys of the oueds – acacias, gorse, tamarisks; in the deserts, individual trees are talha and etel, ephemeral herbs.
Of the large animals in the North, until recently, there were panther, wild boar, mouflon. Predators (caracal, cheetah, jackal, striped hyena, foxes, etc.) and rodents live in semi-desert regions. Numerous and diverse birds, incl. predatory and migratory. Lots of reptiles. Commercial fish are found in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea: sardine, tuna, herring, anchovies, etc.
Population of Tunisia
Annual population growth 1.12%. Birth rate 16.83%, mortality 5%, infant mortality 27.97 people. per 1000 newborns (2002 estimate). The average life expectancy is 74.16 years (women – 75.89, men – 72.56). Gender and age structure: 0-14 years – 27.8% (men 1,412,625, women 1,320,729); 15-64 years old – 65.9% (3,234,770 and 3,233,149); 65 years and older – 6.3% (303,093 and 311,278). Among the population over 15 years old, 66.7% are literate (men 78.6%, women 54.6%).
The majority of the population lives in the northern part of the country. Population density 59.3 people. per 1 km2 (2001).
Urban population – approx. 55%.
By national composition, the vast majority of the population are Tunisian Arabs (98%), as well as Berbers (Tuaregs). Almost all Tunisians speak the Eastern Maghreb (Tunisian) dialect of Arabic, a small part (less than 1%) on the island of Djerba and in the southern mountainous regions speak the local dialect of the Berber language.
Sunni Islam of the Malekite persuasion is widespread in Tunisia. Minority religions are Judaism (about 2,000 followers, 1993) and Christianity. Among Christians there are Catholics, Orthodox (Greeks) and Protestants (French and English).