Tunisia became independent in 1956 after having been a French protectorate since 1881. A Moslem principality had long existed near the site of ancient Carthage (E); and Tunisia, although its mainly Arab-Berber inhabitants are of much the same stocks as the Algerians, has its own individual character, marked by close contact with Europe across the Mediterranean. Its population of 4 million included in 1955 over 400,000 Europeans, mostly French but including 70,000 Italians and 60,000 Jews; but many of these have left.
Tunisia's struggle for independence was led by the Neo-Destour party, founded in 1934 by Habib Bourguiba, who in 1957 deposed the traditional ruler, the Bey, and became president of the new republic. After 1956 French forces remained at the naval base of Bizerta and elsewhere; but relations were strained by the Algerian war, particularly after the French bombed Sakiet, a border village, in 1958, in retaliation for Tunisian support for the Algerian rebels (3). The French put electrified and barbed wire along the border, but the rebels still used Tunisian supply routes, and their government-in- exile made its home in Tunis.
Bourguiba sought to avoid a complete break with France. Relations with Morocco worsened in 1960 when Tunisia joined France in asking membership of the United Nations for Mauritania, which Morocco claims (2, 14). But in 1961 there was fighting between French and Tunisians around Bizerta, which France had still not evacuated despite repeated demands.
Only about 1 per cent. of Libya is cultivable. The Arab-Berber population of about 1,200,000, although partly nomadic, is mainly in three widely separated areas-800,000 and 300,000 in the two well- watered coastal strips of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, and 60,000 in the Fezzan oases. The coastal strips are nowhere broader than 50 miles, and are separated by 300 miles where the desert comes down to the sea.
Italy seized Libya from Turkey in 1911 and attempted colonization; there are still 50,000 Italians in Tripolitania. In the second world war, the British defeat of the Italians and Germans in the 1940-3 desert campaign was supported by many Libyans, particularly in Cyrenaica, where the Senussi sect is dominant. (Founded in 1843, this was originally a fanatical Moslem sect which produced the Mahdist revolt (10). King Idris of Libya is the grandson of the founder). Since the independence granted to Libya under the United Nations agreement in 1951, a federal government has existed. It was