Il Protettorato del Beylik della Tunisia e Fezzan





Head of State

His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of the Italian Nation, represented by a Resident-General, Simon Petru Cristofini (1949-1955), Nobile Alexandre Albert Preziozi (1955-1970), Nobile Adriano Visconti di Lampugnano (from 1970)

Ruling Party

La Falange d'Africa

Head of Government

His Majesty, the Bey of Tunisia and Fezzan Muhammad VII al-Munsif (1942-1948), Muhammad VIII ar-Rauf (1948-1978), Muhammad IX al-Afif (from 1978)


Italy maintained Muhammad VII as the Bey of Tunis under the period of Franco-Italian Condominion. Muhammed VII died in 1948, and was succeeded by his son as Bey, under the sole protection of Italy.

The Italians expanded the territory under the control of the Bey to encompass the Jebel Nafusa region of Tripolitania, and parts of formerly French Algeria (mainly from the Department of Constantine). In 1956, Fezzan (formerly the Territorio Militare del Sud or Territorio del Sahara Libico), in Italian North Africa, was added to Tunisia.

The Greco-Turkish Husainid dynasty of Beys claims familial relations with the Senussi who briefly ruled both Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, and have an important following across Libya.

As Tunisia is a distinct entity from the rest of Italian North Africa and technically an independent nation, certain features common to the Italian Empire are notably absent. Tunisians of European descent can belong to the Italian National Fascist Party, while native Tunisians can join the African Phalanx, rather than the Muslim Association of the Lictor as in the rest of the empire.

The African Phalanx was formed by Simon Petru Cristofini, a Corsican Italian, during the war. It subsequently expanded by absorbing the Fezzan section of the Muslim Association of the Lictor, part of the anti-French Neo-Destour Party under Mahmud el Materi and Habib Bourgiba and part of the North African Legion under Mohamed el-Maadi, formerly of the Cagoule and the MSR.

Cristofini was replaced as Resident-General in 1955 by another Corsican, Nobile Albert Preziosi. After the overthrow of the Emperor Umberto in 1969, the Italian authorities in Tunisia were briefly overthrown by a group of army officers loyal to the deposed emperor, led by Captain Jamil Preziosi, Albert's son.