Biography of Bey de Túnez Muhammad VIII al-Amín (1943-1957)

Twentieth and last bey of Tunisia (1943-1957) husayni. The old bey's son Muhammad VI al-Habib (1922-1929), took charge of the beylakato in the middle of second world war, following the dismissal by the colonial authorities of the bey Muhammad VII al-Muncif (1942-1943), accused of collaborating with the axis forces.

From the outset, Muhammad VIII attempted to play the role of mediator between the Government of Paris, which resisted very hard to let go of the colony, and the nationalist forces, agglutinated completely around the Neo Destur and its leader Habib Bourguiba. In this sense, in the year 1950 Muhammad VIII sent a respected Tunisian business man, Muhammad Chenik, the formation of a Government which had the backing of the new resident general Périllier, with the Mission of negotiating on behalf of the bey institutional changes that would gradually lead to Tunisia to its administrative autonomy. As you might expect, this new Cabinet continued to satisfy the nationalist leaders of the Destur, whose unique and main objective was that total independence of Tunisia, and not that the country should become one Department of France.

The first result of the new political crisis was the fall on March 27 in the year 1951 the brief Government of Chenik, Act that bey was forced to ratify, pressed by the French general resident. His successor, Salehedin Becouche did not have more fortune than the previous Government, since this was abolished at a stroke by Muhammad VIII on 18 April of the same year. Before the turn that was taking the situation in Tunisia, in the midst of a war of liberation ideology by the nationalists against French targets or procoloniales, the Paris Government offered the possibility of forming a joint Commission that the leaders of the Neo Destur refused to recognize, much less a part of it, despite the express request of the bey Muhammad VIII. Bey's continuous calls to the Tunisian people to ask for sanity, tranquility and the cessation of the attacks and sabotage were useless. The path to independence had already been opened by nationalists and they were not willing to abandon it one iota. The French Government reacted late with the adoption of a Convention on 3 June of the year 1955 whereby internal autonomy granted to Tunisia. On 20 March of the year 1956, France officially recognized the independence of Tunisia.

Muhammad VIII lasted more than one year in office, until on 25 July of the following year, the beylikal husayni dynasty, which reigned in Tunisia during the last two hundred and fifty years, fell to make way for the young Tunisian Republic. It was logical and expected consequence on the vertiginous path undertaken by the Tunisian youth since the beginning of the century, which will not compromise to build its new State, he/she saw agile and dynamic, under the dead weight of a regime that still retained its roots profoundly anchored in the past and gave no sign of adapting to the circumstances requiring the historical moment.