Tunisia - Country history and economic development

1574. Tunisia becomes part of the Ottoman Empire.

1705. Husseinite Dynasty is established.

1881. French Protectorate is established on 12 May 1881. Anti-colonial resistance, led mostly by the Neo-Destour party, persists for most of the 75 years of French domination.

1956. Independence from France is declared on 20 March.

1957. The Republic of Tunisia is proclaimed. Habib Bourguiba becomes the first president on 25 July.

1959. The first Constitution of the Republic of Tunisia is adopted on 1 June.

1960. First Tunisian project is funded by the World Bank.

1963. The French evacuate Bizerta, their last base in the country.

1966. The production of oil begins.

1986. The International Monetary Fund's Structural Adjustment Program is adopted.

1987. Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali succeeds the ailing President Bourguiba.

1990. Tunisia becomes a member of GATT.

1994. President Ben Ali is re-elected and an opposition party accedes to Parliament for the first time.

1995. Tunisia becomes the first country south of the Mediterranean to sign an association free-trade agreement with the European Union.

1995. Tunisia joins the WTO.

1998. The Tunisian Solidarity Bank starts to offer thousands of micro-credit loans to young graduates and small businesses.

1999. After the first-ever contested presidential elections, President Ben Ali is re-elected to a third term by an overwhelming majority. The Democratic Constitutional Rally keeps its majority in the Chamber of Deputies, but the opposition gains 20 percent of the 182 seats. The number of women in Parliament increases to 21.

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