The 15th October, 1963 : Evacuation of the last French soldier from Bizerte, Tunisia

After Tunisia gained independence from France in 1956, France remained in control of Bizerte ( a city in the north) and its naval base, a strategic port on the Mediterranean, which played an important part in French operations during the Algerian War. France had promised to negotiate the future of the base, but had so far refused to remove it. Tunisia was further infuriated upon learning that France planned to expand the airbase.

The Bizerte Crisis ( Arabic: أحداث بنزرت‎‎ ʾAḥdāth Bīzart) occurred in July 1961 when Tunisia imposed a blockade on the French naval base at Bizerte, hoping to force its evacuation. The crisis culminated in a three-day battle between French and Tunisian forces that left some 630 Tunisians and 24 French dead and eventually led to France ceding the city and naval base to Tunisia in 1963.

 The French launched a full-scale invasion of the town of Bizerte. The Tunisians’ few artillery posts were destroyed by rockets fired by French planes. Tanks and paratroopers penetrated into the city from the south, while marines stormed the harbor from landing craft. Three French cruisers were positioned offshore. Tunisian soldiers, paramilitaries,and hastily organised civilian volunteers engaged the French in heavy street fighting.

The French military finally abandoned Bizerte on 15 October 1963, after the conclusion of the Algerian War.