is the smallest country in
Tunisia is almost 165,000 square kilometres (64,000 sq mi) in area, with an estimated population of just under 10.7 million. Its name is derived from the capital Tunis located in the northeast. The south of the country is composed of the Sahara desert, with much of the remainder consisting of particularly fertile soil and 1,300 kilometres (810 mi) of coastline.
Tunisia has an association agreement with the European Union and is a member of the Arab Maghreb Union, the Arab League, and the African Union. Tunisia has established close relations with France in particular, through economic cooperation, industrial modernization, and privatisation programs.
In 2011, a revolution resulted in the overthrow of autocratic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and the first free elections in the country were held. Since then, Tunisia has been consolidating its young democracy.
The word Tunisia is derived from Tunis; a city and capital of modern-day Tunisia. The present form of the name, with its Latinate suffix -ia, evolved from French Tunisie. The French derivative Tunisie was adopted in some European languages with slight modifications, introducing a distinctive name to designate the country. Other languages remained untouched, such as the Russian Туни́с (Tunís) and Spanish Túnez. In this case, the same name is used for both country and city, as with the Arabic تونس, and only by context can one tell the difference.
Muslims while about 1% follow Christianity and the remaining 1% adhere to Judaism or other religions. The bulk of Tunisians belong to the Maliki School of Sunni Islam and their mosques are easily recognizable by square minarets. However, the Turks brought with them the teaching of the Hanafi School during the Ottoman rule which still survives among the Turkish descended families today, their mosques traditionally have octagonal minarets.