Tunisia: Evacuation Day – October 15, 2022

Evacuation Day is celebrated every October 15 by Tunisians to commemorate the anniversary of the final retreat of the French army from Tunisian land in 1963. This holiday is a national event in Tunisia, and the country celebrates with parades and official processions in every state. People also honor the soldiers and civilians who lost their lives in the Bizerte Crisis. The Bizerte Crisis was a three-day battle between French and Tunisian forces for Bizerte. Although the French colonists had granted Tunisia their independence at the time, they had maintained their naval base at Bizerte and hoarded portions of very fertile Tunisian lands. Tunisia was prompted to act in its interest.

History of Tunisia: Evacuation Day

Tunisia became a French protectorate in 1883, during a period of rapid colonization of the African continent by European powers termed “The scramble for Africa”. With an army of 36,000 soldiers, the French invaded Tunisia and forced its ruler at the time to sign a treaty granting France authority over Tunisia.

Although Tunisia gained independence in 1956, the French maintained control of the city of Bizerte, which is south of Sicily, for obvious strategic reasons. Furthermore, France retained land in Tunisia’s most fertile areas.

In a move to seize control from the French and prompt their evacuation, Tunisian forces declared a blockade on the French naval base at Bizerte in July 1961. In response to the blockade, 800 French paratroopers were sent in as a blatant show of strength. The battle that ensued between Tunisian forces and French paratroopers led to a full-scale French invasion of Bizerte. Eventually, the French ceded the city and the naval base to Tunisia in 1963.

Evacuation Day commemorates the departure of the last French soldiers from Bizerte on October 15th, 1963, marking the end of French colonial control in Tunisia. On that day, French Admiral Maurice Amman departed the city, alongside every French soldier.

Tunisia: Evacuation Day timeline

1883
France Colonizes Tunisia

France invades Tunisian territory and compels its leader to sign a treaty.

1956
Tunisia Attains Independence

Tunisia evolves into a sovereign state.

1961
Tunisia Wrestles For Bizerte

Tunisia attempts to recover Bizerte from the French.

1963
French Troops Leave

The French relinquish control of Bizerte and leave Tunisia for good.

Tunisia: Evacuation Day FAQs

Which language do Tunisians speak?

Arabic is Tunisia’s official language.

Can you wear shorts in Tunisia?

Both women and men can wear shorts in Tunisia.

Can you kiss in public in Tunisia?

Public displays of affection between couples can get one arrested in Tunisia.

How to Observe Tunisia: Evacuation Day

  1. Spread awareness

    Evacuation Day in Tunisia offers a great opportunity to educate people about the cruel history of European colonization in Africa. You can share articles, posts, and videos about this topic on social media.

  2. Learn about Tunisia

    Take out time to learn more about Tunisia. Reading articles and watching documentaries about its rich history, culture, and traditions may be a good way to start.

  3. Stream celebrations via the internet

    You can watch the annual celebrations in Tunisia online. There are parades, carnivals, and other cultural festivities you may delight in observing.

5 Interesting Facts About Tunisia

  1. Second largest African museum

    The Bardo National Museum in Tunisia is the second largest museum in Africa.

  2. Largest colosseum in North Africa

    The largest colosseum in North Africa is located in Tunisia.

  3. Town of underground dwellers

    Matmata, a small town in Tunisia, has underground houses that people built to escape the extreme heat of the Sahara Desert.

  4. Stone Age discovery

    Archaeologists found animal bones and tools dating back to the Stone Age in Kebili, Tunisia.

  5. Important Islamic city

    The Tunisian city of Kairouan is the fourth most important city in the Islamic world after Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem.

Why Tunisia: Evacuation Day is Important

  1. A reminder to maintain political stability

    Evacuation Day in Tunisia was declared a national holiday after the Jasmine Revolution in 2011. The price for peace has been high, and this day reminds citizens of the need to maintain it.

  2. An important chapter in Tunisian history

    We get to safeguard a part of Tunisian history by commemorating this holiday. The people of Tunisia have come a long way as a country, and we will continue to honor their heritage.

  3. A celebration of liberty

    Tunisians fought against foreign oppression and control. This day offers a chance to glorify their hard-earned liberty.

Tunisia: Evacuation Day dates

YearDateDay
2022October 15Saturday
2023October 15Sunday
2024October 15Tuesday
2025October 15Wednesday
2026October 15Thursday

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