Port city (pop., 2004: 265,131), east-central Tunisia. Built on the site of two ancient settlements, the city grew as an Islamic trading centre. It was occupied by the Normans in the 12th century and by the Spanish in the 16th century, and later served as a stronghold of the Barbary Coast pirates. The town was bombarded by the French in 1881 prior to their occupation of Tunisia and again in World War II (1939–45), when it was a base for German forces until taken by the British in 1943. One of Tunisia's largest cities, it is a transportation hub and a major fishing port.
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