Tunisia / Cities and Towns /
City and sea oasis in Tunisia, with 120,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate). Gabes is situated on the Gulf of Gabes, which is part of the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of Gabes governorate with 350,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate) and an area of 7,175 km².
Gabes is the administrative and economic centre of its region. The region has seen extensive industrialization programs involving cement and brick factories and an oil refinery. Still much of the economy rests on the produce from the 300,000 date palm trees, along with a diversified agriculture between the palms, which includes olive trees and fruit trees. Gabes also has an important income from fishing in the Gulf of Gabes.
The industrialization has resulted in fairly serious pollution along the beach and in the Gulf.
Gabes is well-connected with other urban areas of Tunisia. The railways connect it with the north and the interior. Highways run in both northern, southern and western directions.
It appears probable that Gabes was originally founded as a Phoenician harbour. At some time it became part of the state of Carthage.
161 BCE: Gabes is conquered by the Numidian king Masinissa.
2nd century BCE: Gabes comes under Roman control and gets the name Tacape, which means "a wet, irrigated place."
7th century CE: Conquered and destroyed by the advancing Arabs.
The companion of the prophet Muhammad, Sidi Boulbaba, settles in Gabes, bringing new life to the town.
1052: Gabes is destroyed by tribesmen.
1881: With the arrival of the French protectorate, Gabes becomes the centre of the southern region. Gabes comes under French control after cooperation between the Jewish community and the French army. Permission to trade is extended to the Jewish minority.
1940: Gabes comes under German control.
1942: The large community of Jews is driven out after anti-Jewish riots.
1943: Gabes is liberated by British and French troops. The liberation results in serious damage to the structure of the city.
1945: Rebuilding of Gabes begins.
1962: Flood destroying parts of the town.
1981: Dispute over the oil reserves in Gulf of Gabes is resolved with Libya.