VI. The World Wars and the Interwar Period, 1914–1945 > F. The Middle East and North Africa, 1914–1945 > 3. North Africa > c. Tunisia
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1912)
c. Tunisia
1919, Sept. 12
A Franco-Italian agreement ceded several oases in southeastern Tunisia to Libya. In addition, all Italians residing in Tunisia received the same legal status as Frenchmen.  1
1920, June 4
Creation of the DESTOUR PARTY (Tunisian Liberal Constitutional Party), which was dominated by the landed and religious elites. The party called not for independence but for a reform of the colonial government to permit greater Tunisian participation. The bey, MUHAMMAD AL-NASIR, threw his support behind the party's program in April 1922.  2
1921, Nov. 8
Grant of French citizenship to all French residents of Tunisia who had at least one parent who had been born in the country. The government simultaneously bestowed citizenship on all children of Tunisian-born Europeans. French authorities considered this ruling necessary because of the legal fiction by which the Tunisian government formally—if not actually—exercised internal sovereignty. Under the previous arrangement, Tunisian-born Europeans had been viewed only as Tunisian citizens. Following British protests, the law was modified (May 24, 1923) to allow the children in question to choose the European nationality they preferred.  3
1922, July 13
Administrative reforms in response to the demands of Tunisian nationalists for greater participation in the government. The French created a network of councils composed of both Frenchmen and Tunisians, but the jurisdiction of these bodies extended only to economic matters.  4
1924, Oct. 12
Organization of the Confédération Générale des Travailleurs Tunisiens by political activist Muhammad Ali, who was arrested soon afterward.  5
1926, Jan
Restrictions on political activity and the press.  6
1932, Dec
Controversy over the burial of Muslim apostates. The mufti of Bizerte declared that Tunisians who had obtained French citizenship—and by doing so had necessarily renounced Islam—were not allowed to be buried in Muslim cemeteries. Most prominent religious officials concurred with this ruling. As a result of the widespread furor, the colonial government had to set aside special cemeteries for the Christian converts.  7
Death of Abu al-Qasim al-Shabbi (b. 1909), one of the most notable Romantic poets in the Arab world. Poetry in this style was characterized by a desire to innovate and break with classical and neoclassical expression. The Romantic poets often looked to the cultural scene in Europe for inspiration and guidance. Other leading poets of this school outside Tunisia were, to name only a few, Ahmad Zaki Abu Shadi (1892–1955), Khalil Mutran (1872–1949), Abd al-Rahman Shukri (1886–1958), and Abbas Mahmud al-Aqqad (1889–1964). Romanticism flourished in Arabic poetry throughout the interwar period.  8
March 2
Establishment of the NEO-DESTOUR PARTY, of which HABIB BOURGUIBA became the leader. Membership in the party appealed to those who had grown up in Tunisia but received an advanced education in France, giving them an appreciation of and ambivalence toward both cultures.  9
The party was outlawed only six months after its appearance. The colonial regime jailed Bourguiba and did not release him until 1936.  10
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.