Tunisia extends farther north than any other country in Africa. Its northern tip is only 137 kilometres from Sicily, Italy, a part of Europe. Both northern and eastern Tunisia border the Mediterranean Sea. Tunisia is part of the Arab world, the Mediterranean area, and Africa. Almost all Tunisians speak Arabic and follow an Arab way of life. For hundreds of years, trade routes have connected Tunisia to Africa south of the Sahara. France controlled Tunisia from 1881 until Tunisia became independent in 1956. Tunisia shows many French influences. Tunis is its capital and largest city.