In 2016 Tunisia was home to about 11,304,482 people which at the time was the 79th highest population in the world. The nation's capital Tunis, from which Tunisia draws its name, has a more significant population than other cities in the country. As of 2017, its population was estimated at 1,066,961. People have lived within Tunisia's borders for a long time with archaeological evidence indicating that human activity was widespread in the region for nearly 200,000 years. Tunisia fell under French control during the colonial period, and its colonial history greatly influenced the shape of its borders. Tunisia's land borders cover a total length of about 884 miles while its coastline is about 713 miles long.
Tunisia's longest land border is shared with Algeria which covers a length of about 600 miles in the western and southwestern regions of Tunisia. Due to their proximity, Tunisia and Algeria share great historical ties as they were both under the rule of the Aghlabid Dynasty in the 9th century. Both nations would later fall under French control during the colonial period which strengthened their ties. Their close relationship allows Tunisia and Algeria to cooperate in some areas such as transport and security. During the 1970's, Tunisia ensured that its foreign policy, particularly regarding the territory of Western Sahara, was in line with Algeria's policy so as not to antagonize the Algerian government. Tunisia and Algeria signed a treaty in 1983 aimed at enhancing friendship and cooperation between the two nations. Algeria and Tunisia also cooperated in some economic activities such as the construction of a pipeline that lined the countries to Italy. The relationship between the two nations was significantly affected by the Tunisian Revolution after several powerful Tunisians claimed that the Algerian government was interfering in Tunisia's internal security. Algeria and Tunisia maintain close diplomatic ties as both nations have embassies and consulates in the other’s territory.
The whole of Tunisia Algeria border has approximately 685 pillars running from the Mediterranean Sea in the north stretching southwards to Bordj El Khadra, formerly known as Fort Saint and goes further to the tripoint connecting Libya-Tunisia-Algeria. The demarcation was carried out in two steps. The southern section running for 455 miles and starting from Bir Romane to Bordj El Khadra was demarcated in 1968. The agreement to demarcate was signed in January 1970 between Tunisia and Algeria. The northern section running for 183 miles from the Mediterranean Sea to Bir Romane was demarcated in 1993 and was densified in 1997. The agreement to demarcate was made in 1983 which was signed between Tunisia and Algeria.
Libya and Tunisia share a border which is approximately 285 miles long in the southeastern region of Tunisia. The shared history between Libya and Tunisia goes back to the ancient period as they both fell under the control of dynasties such as the Hafsid dynasty. Islam and Arabian culture were introduced in both countries around the same time as the Arabs looked to extend their dominance in North Africa. In 1974, a proposal was put forward to unify Libya and Tunisia, and the leaders of both countries supported the idea. The leaders signed the Djerba Declaration in 1974 and part of the declaration was that the unified nation would be called the Arab Islamic Republic. The leaders failed to agree on the details of the merger which led to the failure of the declaration.
Following the multiparty civil way in Libya that culminated in the fall of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, the border between Libya and Tunisia has become more and more porous. Since that time, Tunisia has been struggling to maintain order as millions of migrants storm the border crossing points which has significantly overwhelmed the border guards. In 2015, Tunisia closed its main border crossing points and even used teargas in August when the foreign migrants attempted to burst through the fence. Earlier in October 2014, the Islamic State (IS) claimed to have established its affiliate terror group in Libya and claimed responsibility to attacks on Bardo National Museum, which killed 22 in the capital of Tunisia, Tunis on March 18, 2015 and the city Sousse attacks which was witnessed on June 26, 2015. A few days after the attacks the government of Tunisia started building a barrier between Libya and Tunisia border, and it was completed after a few months. The barrier is largely made of water filled trenches, and sandbanks which covers about 125 miles stretching from Ras Jedir on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to Dhiba in the south, which is about half of the border between the two countries. The country stated that the second half of the project which would take the help of the US and Germany would include installation surveillance electronic equipment.
Tunisia and Italy share a maritime boundary and the agreement to delimit the border between the two countries was signed in 1971. The treaty was signed on August 20, 1971, in the city of Tunis. The treaty spells out the boundary at the strait of Sicily, which follows an equidistant line between Tunisia and Sicily. The borderline ends at almost an equidistant line between the Island of Pelagie and Malta. The agreement formed 13 nautical miles with radial distance on semi enclave around the Pantelleria Island. It also created another semi enclave made up of 13 nautical mile radius around the islands of Lampedusa and Linosa belonging to Italy, which also intersected a 12 nautical mile area around Lampione. The two semi-enclaves intersected the Italian waters at an almost equidistant boundary and are surrounded by the Tunisian waters. To the extreme western point of the borderline creates the maritime tripoint with Tunisia, Italy, and Algeria. The two countries added another supplement clause to the treaty in 1975, which included the map of the border and 32 coordinate points which defined the boundary. It was ratified by the two countries and came into effect on December 6th, 1978.
Border Security of Tunisia
The security of the nation's borders has been an important issue to the Tunisian government since the early days of its formation. The Tunisian government partnered with some countries such as the US and Germany to safeguard its borders. In 2018, the US government invested $20 million in Tunisia's border security.
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