Population. – The population in 1936 was 2,608,313 residents, Of which 2,395,108 indigenous and 213,205 Europeans (108,068 French, 94,289 Italians, etc.). Tunis counted 219,578 residents (54,733 Italians), Sfax 43,333, Biserta 28,257, Susa 28,465. In 1940 the total population was estimated at 2,730,000 residents
Economic conditions. – Generally they mark a progressive development due to the ever increasing application of modern cultivation systems in a large part of the territory. The arable land covers almost a quarter of the territory; forest land 8%, shrub crops 5%, uncultivated 37%. Wheat (765,000 ha. And 1,668,000 q. In 1945) and barley (539,000 ha. And 471,000 q. In 1945) are the most important cereals; olive trees and vines (the latter dropped from 42,000 ha. in 1940 to 27,000 ha. in 1945) show a remarkable variability of production which in the vine is accentuated by a state of discomfort which is reflected in the limited production of table grapes (200,000 q. per year approximately). More profitable is the cultivation of early vegetables (aubergines, tomatoes, etc.) and fruit products (dates 30-40,000 quintals per year, oranges and mandarins 115,000 q., lemons 60,000 q. in 1945). The harvest of cork (60-70,000 quintals per year sent to Tabarca for export) and of alpha (cultivated on a million hectares) is very remarkable. The zootechnical patrimony is increasing which, according to estimates in 1945, was represented by 502,000 cattle, almost 3 million sheep, almost 2 million goats, 186,000 donkeys, 102,000 horses, 178,000 camels, 60,000 mules. The export of wool is noteworthy. The 3900 boats employ a total of 20,000 people for fishing, which also feed a decent canning industry. it was represented by 502,000 cattle, nearly 3 million sheep, nearly 2 million goats, 186,000 donkeys, 102,000 horses, 178,000 camels, 60,000 mules. The export of wool is noteworthy. The 3900 boats employ a total of 20,000 people for fishing, which also feed a decent canning industry. it was represented by 502,000 cattle, nearly 3 million sheep, nearly 2 million goats, 186,000 donkeys, 102,000 horses, 178,000 camels, 60,000 mules. The export of wool is noteworthy. The 3900 boats employ a total of 20,000 people for fishing, which also feed a decent canning industry.
Phosphates are always the basis of mineral resources (593,000 tons exported in 1945), but the iron, lead and zinc deposits, worked in the foundries of Mègrine (Tunis) are also discrete. The extraction of sodium chloride is also quite remarkable. Indigenous industries (carpets, shoes, goldsmiths) are always quite developed alongside the European ones.
The trade between 1941 and 1946 marks the following values:
Finance. – The state budget has varied as follows:
As can be seen, an increasing share of extraordinary income was needed to cover expenses, which increased mainly due to the huge costs of reconstruction. In June 1947 the circulation of notes amounted to about 9 billion francs, compared with 1 billion in 1939; bank deposits amounted to around 7 billion francs and those in savings banks to 924 million francs.
History. – The development of the Dexturian nationalist movement in Tunisia came to an abrupt halt in 1938 due to the ban on party meetings and the arrest of some of the main leaders of the Neo-Destur, following bloody incidents in Tunis. The aspirations of the nationalists, without tending to total independence, were oriented towards the granting of a constitution and a Franco-Tunisian government responsible before a legislative assembly elected by universal suffrage.
The war, the weakening of the central authority of the French government and the German occupation (November 1942-May 1943) certainly did not help to calm Tunisian nationalism, of which Germany tried to avail itself by giving back to Destur all freedom of action and trying to permanently detach Tunisia from France. After the Allied reoccupation, the purge conducted in 1943 by General Giraud represented a new lowering of the fortunes of Destur. The riots and harsh repressions that followed forced the party leader, Uabib Burguiba, to take refuge in Cairo, where he is still the leader of the Tunisian nationalist movement. The Dexturian Party – although formally prohibited – is tolerated by the authorities; directed by Salah ben Youssef, it gathers around itself the majority of Tunisian intellectuals, it is well organized and well regarded by the population. The problems that Tunisian nationalists are debating today are the traditional and fundamental ones of the region. For Tunisia history, please check historyaah.com.
Among the most serious problems is the economic one, particularly aggravated during the war, since Tunisia is the territory of French North Africa that has suffered most from military operations, despite having resources and economic development much lower than those of Algeria and the Morocco. The remarkable demographic growth is not compensated either by a sufficient increase in agricultural production, or by industrial development, made precarious, especially in heavy industry, by the lack of electricity. Furthermore, the damage caused by the war (estimated at 35 million francs in 1945) had a significant impact on the recovery of the country. The economic problem necessarily brings with it the social one, especially in the field of wages for agricultural workers and mines, for which there is still a real exploitation of indigenous labor; while in another field, and especially in medical-hospital assistance, the French government seems to have obtained good results. However, it does not seem that there can be a development of Tunisian nationalism outside the context of the French Union, due to the country’s military-economic weakness and the importance, instead, of its strategic situation. An appeal to the UN in August 1946 was unsuccessful; on the other hand, the hoped-for possibilities of support from the United States seem to have vanished. The situation of Italians in Tunisia during and after the war was very serious. After the fall of Tunis, 1600 Italian heads of families were interned and, therefore, most of the landowners forced to sell almost all their assets at very disadvantageous conditions. The internment was followed by the expulsion of the heads of families and on February 28, 1945, on the occasion of the resumption of diplomatic relations with France, this obtained as a counterpart the renunciation by Italy of the conventions of 1896. The situation of the Italians remained difficult, albeit with signs of improvement.