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Divided RuleSovereignty and Empire in French Tunisia, 1881-1938$
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Mary Dewhurst Lewis

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520279155

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520279155.001.0001

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Tunisia in the Imperial Mediterranean

Tunisia in the Imperial Mediterranean

(p.14) One Tunisia in the Imperial Mediterranean
Divided Rule

Mary Dewhurst Lewis

University of California Press

The decision to “protect” rather than annex Tunisia was less a choice than a constraint imposed on France by a number of interlocking concerns: the need to appease France’s imperial rivals in the Mediterranean, Italy and Great Britain; the desire to placate the French political class, for which the conquest of Tunisia seemed a dangerous distraction from matters closer to home; and the effort to expand empire cheaply by ruling indirectly through local institutions and notables. Moreover, although scholars generally regard the Treaty of Ksar Sa’id of 1881 (Bardo Treaty) and the Convention of La Marsa (1883) as having definitively established French rule over Tunisia, this chapter shows that these agreements instead ushered in a new era of international competition.

Keywords:   imperial Mediterranean, imperial rivalry, protectorate, Treaty of Ksar Sa’id, Bardo Treaty, Convention of La Marsa, indirect rule, Tunisia, France, Italy, Great Britain

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