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Tunisia, History

Punic Wars, Roman province, Iberian Peninsula, Sardinia, Vandals

In the earliest known period of its history, the region now called Tunisia was part of the Carthaginian Empire. According to tradition, Phoenician traders founded the city of Carthage in 814 bc at a location slightly northeast of the site of modern Tunis. In subsequent centuries Carthage became the center of a mighty empire that dominated most of northern Africa and intermittently ruled the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula, Sardinia, and parts of Sicily. Beginning in 264 bc Carthage clashed with the expanding Roman Empire in a series of bloody struggles known as the Punic Wars. In the last of these, the Third Punic War (149-146 bc), Rome defeated the Carthaginians and completely destroyed their capital. From the 2nd century bc to the 5th century ad most of the region now constituting Tunisia was part of the Roman province called Africa.

During the 5th century the Teutonic tribe known as the Vandals moved south through the Iberian Peninsula, crossed the Mediterranean, and wrested the province from Roman control. After a century of Vandal rule, from about 430 to 534, the region was reconquered for Rome by the Byzantine general Belisarius.

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Article key phrases:

Punic Wars, Roman province, Iberian Peninsula, Sardinia, Vandals, northern Africa, century bc, Rome, Mediterranean, Tunisia, province, capital, century ad, tradition, region, location, history, center, Carthaginians, Carthaginian Empire, city of Carthage


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