- Category : 1903-births
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (10,13,25,27,31,34)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Four Ways 2
Tunisian statesman who became the country's first President of the Republic of Tunisia from 1957 to 1987.
Having worked as a lawyer in France in the 1920s, he returned to Tunisia and started being more active in the country's nationalist movement. In 1934, when he was 31 years old, he co-founded the Neo Destour that spearheaded the Tunisian movement for independence. After being arrested and exiled several times by the occupying French protectorate, he decided to both negotiate and put pressure on the Fourth Republic to put forward his nationalist agenda. Following the country's independence on 20 March 1956, Bourguiba put an end to the monarchy, declared the republic of which he served as first president on 25 July 1957 and then focused on building a modern Tunisian state.
His main priorities upon taking over power included the improvement of the country's educational system, fighting gender inequality, developing the economy and maintaining a neutral foreign policy, which made him an exception among other Arab leaders. This, however, did not prevent a cult of personality to develop around him as he held the title of "Supreme Combatant" and established a twenty-year single-party state. The end of his rule was marked by his declining health, the rise of clientelism and Islamism, which was concluded by his removal from power by his then prime minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on 7 November 1987. He was later kept under house arrest in a residence in Monastir, where he remained until his death in 6 April 2000, and was buried in a mausoleum he had previously built there.