Habib Bourguiba (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Bourguiba organized Tunisians to confront French rule and was the catalyst for independence, leading his people to nationhood in 1956. For thirty-one years, Bourguiba served as Tunisia’s only president, until he was toppled from power in a bloodless coup d’état in Tunis.
Habib Bourguiba was born in Monastir on August 3, 1903. Monastir, located on the north-central coast of Tunisia, was the site of a large, ancient Islamic fortress that was a constant reminder of Tunisia’s ties to Islam. Bourguiba’s family was one of modest means, being members of the lower-ranking civil service. When Bourguiba was five, his mother died, and his father then sent him to Tunis to reside with his elder brother Muhammad. There was no question about the young Bourguiba’s intelligence, and, after training in the local Koranic schools, he went to the elementary school of Sadiki College. Later, he attended the college itself, an important center of Tunisian learning, as well as the Lycée Carnot. It was at Sadiki College and the Lycée Carnot that Bourguiba learned the best of both the French and the Tunisian worlds. Sadiki College would prove to have a profound impact on the young Habib Bourguiba and a dramatic impact on the course of Tunisian history.
Founded in the 1860’s, Sadiki College trained generations of Tunisians who would become the leaders of the nationalist movement. These young...
(The entire section is 2383 words.)
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