The capital, the city of Tunis, had a population at the end of 1907, of 187,000 Moslems, and 43,000 Jews, besides a large population of French, Italians, and Maltese. By means of the canal, which was opened in 1898, Tunis is directly accessible to ocean-going vessels.
The bulk of the population is Mohammedan under the Sheik-ul-Islam, and the revenue from the "Habus" lands, like that from the "Wakf" lands in Egypt, is applied to religious, educational, and charitable purposes. There are about 35,000 Roman Catholics, under the ministration of the Archbishop of Carthage, and about 25 other clergymen. The Greek Church (400), the French Protestants, and the English Church are also represented, and there are 30 English Protestant missionaries at work.
Education. — Within the Regency in 1908 there were 179 public schools, 5 lycees and colleges, and 21 private schools; total, 205. At all the schools there were 25,531 pupils, of whom 15,543 were boys. Of the total number of pupils, 6,569 were French; 4,993 Mussulman; 5,990 Jews; 6,068 Italian; 1,634 Maltese; 277 others. In the Great Mosque at Tunis there is a Mohammedan university. In the city are 86 and in the interior 1,214 Mussulman primary schools, some of them assisted by Government funds. Many private schools have recently sprung up at Tunis and Sfax. The abolition of congregational teaching decreed in France has been extended to the Regency as regards French children. The Italian Government and certain Italian societies still maintain Italian schools at Tunis and other large towns.
Finance. — For 1911 the receipts were estimated at 49,274,774 francs (1,970,990l.), and the expenditure at 45,748,656 francs (1,829,946l.).
At the end of 1906 the total Tunisian debt amounted to 9,287,280l., of which 7,667,320l. was the balance still due on the consolidated debt (1892), and the remainder for a railway and other loan (1903). In 1910 the Tunisian Government was authorised to contract a loan of 90,000,000 francs for railways, roads, and colonisation. In 1911 the interest and sinking fund of floating debt amounted to 10,365,832 francs (414,633l.).
The loan was raised in 1907, 1908 and 1909.
Industry. — The chief industry is agriculture. The area of wheat in 1911 was 1,401,725 acres; and in 1910, 1,217,626 acres; the production in 1911 was 1,009,766 quarters. The area in 1911 of barley was 1,192,763 acres, and the production 1,678,646 quarters; and of oats the area was 148,200 acres, and the production 464,062 quarters. The total area of vineyards in 1911 was 40,158 acres, and 9,680,000 gallons of wine produced; there were also 11,428,660 olive trees and 990,000 gallons of olive oil produced. In the south of Tunis there are about 1,350,000 date palms; the export of dates in 1910 was 4,915 metric tons. Other products are almonds, oranges, lemons, shaddocks, pistachios, alfa grass, henna, and cork. The cork forests in the north-west have an area of 348,270 acres; the quantity of cork exported in 1910 amounted to 4,922 tons. Considerable areas of agricultural land have been acquired either on lease or by purchase by immigrants. In 1908 the total area occupied by French colonists was 1,729,000 acres, by Italians 222,000 acres, and by other Europeans 98,000 acres.
In 1908 there were 32 mines worked. These are being developed, and the output steadily increases. Copper ore, lead-ore, zinc-ore are all found. By far the greatest development has been in phosphates, the output of which is increasing yearly. Iron has been found near Kef.
In 1911 the farm animals were:—horses, 39,441; asses and mules, 74,240; cattle, 191,450; sheep, 686,730; goats, 468,828; camels, 110,707; pigs, 17,898,