The French conquest of Tunisia occurred in two phases in 1881: the first (28 April–12 May) consisting of the invasion and securing of the country before the signing of a treaty of protection, and the second (10 June–28 October) consisting of the suppression of a rebellion. The French protectorate of Tunisia that was established lasted until the independence of Tunisia on 20 March 1956.
Tunisia had been a province of the Ottoman Empire since the Conquest of Tunis (1574), although with great autonomy under the authority of a Bey. In 1770, Admiral De Broves for Louis XV bombarded the cities of Bizerte, Porto Farina and Monastir in retaliation for acts of piracy. In the 19th century Tunisian commercial contacts with Europe were numerous, and there was a population of French, Italian and British expatriates in the country, represented by Consulates. France had also made a major loan to Tunisia in the mid-19th century. The Tunisian government was weak, with an inefficient tax system that only brought it one-fifth of the tax collected. The economy was crippled with a series of droughts and the elimination of corsairs by Western fleets. Lastly, Tunisians had little control on foreign trade as ancient 16th century agreements with European powers limited custom taxes to 3%. As a result, its small industry was devastated by imports, especially in the area of textiles.