Independence Day in Tunisia

Observed annually on March 20th, Independence Day is a holiday that celebrates the anniversary of Tunisia’s independence from France on March 20, 1956. Tunisia was under Ottoman rule for many centuries but came under French control during the 19th century. In 1881, the country became a French protectorate.

During the 1920s, the movement for Tunisian independence began but wouldn’t be achieved until the 1950s. Nowadays, Tunisian Independence Day is a holiday that’s celebrated with much fervor as people celebrate their freedom.

The History of Independence Day in Tunisia

When the independence movement was created during the 1920s with the creation of the Destour political party, and then the Neo Destour Party in 1934, the desire for freedom was at its highest.

This nationalism didn’t sit well with the authorities, however, and so they imprisoned the leader of the Neo Destour Party, Habib Bourguiba, in France. When France became occupied, Bourguiba would end up in Nazi hands and would only be released after the war ended.

When Bourguiba was released, he returned to Tunisia and proposed a movement towards independence. Neo Destour was frustrated by the slow progress of the independence movement, however, and began armed resistance in 1952. In 1954, the French began to withdraw troops from French colonies as a way to mitigate potential violence.

On March 20, 1956, a treaty was signed between Tunisia and France that recognized Tunisian independence. This created the Kingdom of Tunisia. In 1957, Tunisia would become a republic, and Habib Bourguiba would become the country’s first president.

Observing Independence Day in Tunisia

Every year, the Tunisian government holds luncheons and speeches that highlight the bravery and persistence of guerrilla forces during the Tunisian War of Independence. There are also memorial services to remember all of those who have fallen during the struggle.

Where is it celebrated?
Tunisia (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
March 20 Wednesday
Next year (2025)
March 20 Thursday
Last year (2023)
March 20 Monday