Although defeating the Deys, Tunisia continued to be a vassal of the Ottoman Empire and the Friday prayer was pronounced in the name of the Ottoman Sultan, money was coined in his name, and an annual ambassador brought gifts to Constantinople, but the Ottomans never again exacted obedience.
In the 19th century, the country became mostly autonomous, although it was still officially an Ottoman province. In 1861, Tunisia enacted the first constitution in the Arab world, but a move toward independence was hampered by the poor economy and political unrest. In 1869, Tunisia declared itself bankrupt, and an international financial commission with representatives from France, United Kingdom, and Italy took control over the economy.
Tunisia became a protectorate of France on May 12, 1881, after the French claimed that Tunisian troops had crossed the border into their colony of Algeria. Tunisia later received its independence from France on March 20, 1956.