The history of Tunisia dates back to around 814 B.C. when Phoenician merchants and traders founded the city of Carthage to the northeast of the modern city of Tunis. The city of Carthage was to become the capital of a formidable empire established over most of northern Africa and part of the Iberian Peninsula, Sardinia and Sicily.
But its growth in power became the cause of its downfall, when the Roman Empire felt threatened by the Carthaginian Empire and carried out a series of campaigns against it called Punic wars. The third Punic war, 149 – 146 BC, saw the fall and destruction of Carthage with Rome annexing the region to its own African Province. With the Teutonic Vandals moving through Roman territory in 439 AD, crossing the Mediterranean after pillaging the Iberian Peninsula, Rome lost Carthage to them. It was regained by Rome 100 years later in a campaign led by the Byzantine general Belisarius.