In Tunisia, the immediate heir of ancient Carthage, the Carthaginians began to plant olive trees throughout their territory: in the Island of Cyraunis (now Kerkena), Cap bon, Byzaciumparticularly around Hadrumetum (Sousse).

In their desire to transform Africa into an olive-oil producing region, the Roman emperors promulgated laws to help expand groves and grant benefits to farmers who created olive groves on wasteland, or replaced the old plantations with new ones.

The Vandal and Byzantine eras witnessed a slight decline in olive growing particularly on the coast, a fighting scene between the Berbers and Arabs in the 6th and 7th centuries AD. In the Middle Ages, olive trees were planted all over the Sahel (coast) lands.

Because of its importance in ancient people’s everyday life, olive oil helped create an internal traffic thanks to a well-organized road system. In the 11th century, the olives are taken to the mills installed everywhere in the steppes region around Kasserine and in the South around Zarzis and the Island of Jerba.

In short, olive oil trade marked all civilizations that had made Tunisia’s history and generated wealth. Olive oil was the source of the wealth of notables in ancient as well as Islamic cities

A witness to this, a story transmitted to us by the Arab historian and geographer Ibn Abdelhakem in 647 tells that after the defeat of Gregory the Patrician inSufetula (Sbeitla) by the Arab army, the townspeople brought pieces of gold to the feet of the conquering general. The latter, intrigued by this much prosperity, inquire about its source. So one of the locals started to walk from one side to another as if looking for something he had lost. Having found an olive, he brought it to Abdullah and said, "This is how we get the money."

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