List of beys of Tunis

The beys of Tunis were the monarchs of Tunisia from 1705, when the Husainid dynasty acceded to the throne, until 1957, when monarchy was abolished.

Bey of Tunisia
Flag of bey of Tunis
Muhammad VIII al-Amin
First monarchAl-Husayn I ibn Ali
Last monarchMuhammad VIII al-Amin
Formation15 July 1705
Abolition20 March 1956
ResidencePalace of Bardo
Pretender(s)Prince Muhammad Bey


Muhammad VI al-Habib's visit to Paris in July 1923

The Husainid dynasty, originally of Cretan Turkish origin, came to power under Al-Husayn I ibn Ali on July 15, 1705, replacing the Muradid dynasty. For most of their rule, the Husainids ruled with the title of Bey. The Husainids ruled the Beylik of Tunis under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire until May 12, 1881, when Muhammad III as-Sadiq signed the Treaty of Bardo and the Beylik of Tunis came under the control of France as a protectorate. Following independence from France on March 20, 1956, the Kingdom of Tunisia was proclaimed and the Bey Muhammad VIII al-Amin assumed the title of King. He reigned as such until the Prime Minister Habib Bourguiba deposed the Husainid dynasty and declared Tunisia a one-party republic on July 25, 1957, ruling as President for life until he was deposed in 1987.

Beys of Tunis (1705–1956)

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Al-Husayn I ibn Ali
  • الحسين الأول بن علي التركي
1669 – 13 March 1740
(aged 71)
15 July 17057 September 1735
Abu l-Hasan Ali I
  • أبو الحسن علي الأول
(1688-06-30)30 June 1688 – 22 September 1756(1756-09-22) (aged 68)7 September 173522 September 1756Nephew of Al-Husayn I ibn Ali at-TurkiHusainid
Muhammad I ar-Rashid
  • محمد الأول الرشيد
1710 – 12 February 1759
(aged 49)
22 September 175612 February 1759Son of Al-Husayn I ibn Ali at-TurkiHusainid
Ali II ibn Hussein
  • علي الثاني بن حسين
(1712-11-24)24 November 1712 – 26 May 1782(1782-05-26) (aged 69)12 February 175926 May 1782Son of Al-Husayn I ibn Ali at-TurkiHusainid
Hammuda ibn Ali
  • حمودة بن علي
(1759-12-09)9 December 1759 – 15 September 1814(1814-09-15) (aged 54)26 May 178215 September 1814Son of Ali II ibn HusseinHusainid
Uthman ibn Ali
  • عثمان بن علي
(1763-05-27)27 May 1763 – 20 December 1814(1814-12-20) (aged 51)15 September 181420 December 1814
Son of Ali II ibn HusseinHusainid
Mahmud ibn Muhammad
  • محمود بن محمد
(1757-07-10)10 July 1757 – 28 March 1824(1824-03-28) (aged 66)20 December 181428 March 1824Son of Muhammad I ar-RashidHusainid
Al-Husayn II ibn Mahmud
  • الحسين الثاني بن محمود
(1784-03-05)5 March 1784 – 20 May 1835(1835-05-20) (aged 51)28 March 182420 May 1835Son of Mahmud ibn MuhammadHusainid
Mustafa ibn Mahmud
  • مصطفى بن محمود
1786 – 10 October 1837
(aged 51)
20 May 183510 October 1837Son of Mahmud ibn MuhammadHusainid
Ahmad I ibn Mustafa
  • Ahmad Bey
  • أحمد الأول بن مصطفى
(1806-12-02)2 December 1806 – 30 May 1855(1855-05-30) (aged 48)10 October 183730 May 1855Son of Mustafa ibn MahmudHusainid
Muhammad II ibn al-Husayn
  • M'hamed Bey
  • محمد الثاني بن الحسين
(1811-09-18)18 September 1811 – 22 September 1859(1859-09-22) (aged 48)30 May 185522 September 1859Son of Al-Husayn II ibn MahmudHusainid
Muhammad III as-Sadiq
  • Sadok Bey
  • محمد الثالث الصادق
(1813-02-07)7 February 1813 – 27 October 1882(1882-10-27) (aged 69)22 September 185927 October 1882Son of Al-Husayn II ibn MahmudHusainid
Ali III ibn al-Husayn
  • Ali Bey
  • علي الثالث بن الحسين
(1817-08-14)14 August 1817 – 11 June 1902(1902-06-11) (aged 84)28 October 188211 June 1902Son of Al-Husayn II ibn MahmudHusainid
Muhammad IV al-Hadi
  • Hédi Bey
  • محمد الرابع الهادي
(1855-06-24)24 June 1855 – 11 May 1906(1906-05-11) (aged 50)11 June 190211 May 1906Son of Ali III ibn al-HusaynHusainid
Muhammad V an-Nasir
  • Naceur Bey
  • محمد الخامس الناصر
(1855-07-14)14 July 1855 – 10 July 1922(1922-07-10) (aged 66)11 May 190610 July 1922Son of Muhammad II ibn al-HusaynHusainid
Muhammad VI al-Habib
  • Habib Bey
  • محمد السادس الحبيب
(1858-08-13)13 August 1858 – 11 February 1929(1929-02-11) (aged 70)10 July 192211 February 1929Cousin of Muhammad V an-NasirHusainid
Ahmad II ibn Ali
  • Ahmed Bey
  • أحمد الثاني بن علي
(1862-04-13)13 April 1862 – 19 June 1942(1942-06-19) (aged 80)11 February 192919 June 1942Son of Ali III ibn al-HusaynHusainid
Muhammad VII al-Munsif
  • Moncef Bey
  • محمد السابع المنصف
(1881-03-04)4 March 1881 – 1 September 1948(1948-09-01) (aged 67)19 June 194215 May 1943
Son of Muhammad V an-NasirHusainid
Muhammad VIII al-Amin
  • Lamine Bey
  • محمد الثامن الأمين
(1881-09-04)4 September 1881 – 30 September 1962(1962-09-30) (aged 81)15 May 194320 March 1956
(proclaimed King of Tunisia)
Son of Muhammad VI al-HabibHusainid

King of Tunisia (1956–1957)

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Muhammad VIII al-Amin
  • Lamine Bey
  • محمد الثامن الأمين
(1881-09-04)4 September 1881 – 30 September 1962(1962-09-30) (aged 81)20 March 195625 July 1957
Son of Muhammad VI al-HabibHusainid

Genealogical tree

Simplified genealogical tree of the Beys of Tunis. Only the Beys and their direct ancestors are shown.

Ali at-Turki
MuhammadHusayn I
r. 1705–1735
Ali I
r. 1735–1756
Muhammad I

r. 1756–1759
Ali II
r. 1759–1782
r. 1782–1814
r. 1814
r. 1814–1824
Husayn II
r. 1824–1835
r. 1835–1837
Ahmad I
r. 1837–1855
Muhammad II
r. 1855–1859
Muhammad III

r. 1859–1882
r. 1882–1902
Muhammad IV

r. 1902–1906
Muhammad V

r. 1906–1922
Muhammad VI

r. 1922–1929
Ahmad II
r. 1929–1942
Muhammad VII

r. 1942–1943
Muhammad VIII

r. 1943–1957


Lions stairs at the Bardo Palace

Each bey has his palace because, according to tradition, he can not live in the palace of his predecessor for respect for his widows. Among the most important are those of Bardo, Ksar Said, Carthage, Hammam-Lif, Mornag or La Goulette. About the Bardo Palace, the French botanist René Louiche Desfontaines who visited Tunisia at the end of the eighteenth century, left the following description:

"The bey lives in a pretty castle called Bardo, located in the middle of a large plain, three quarters of the north of the city. This castle is very old: Leo Africanus confirms that, in his time, kings have already make their stay. The wall that surrounds it is well built, and defended by some pieces of cannon placed on the side of the door. The court of the bey is numerous; the officers who compose it are, in general, very honest and very polite towards foreigners. "

Many have been converted after the abolition of the monarchy: the Bardo Palace hosts the Bardo National Museum (Tunis) and the Assembly of the Representatives of the People while the Carthage Palace became the headquarters of the Tunisian Academy of Sciences, Letters, and Arts.

The colors of the Bey of Tunis, the red and the green which are components of the country's coat of arms. They are also those of the football club of the Stade Tunisien which was under his patronage.

They are also found in Tunisian pastries: one, called Bey sigh, is made of pink, green and white marzipan; the other, called bey's baklawa, is a form of Tunisian baklava.

Queen consort of Tunisia

Essaâda palace built by Muhammad V an-Nasir for his wife Lalla Kmar for her sake.

The queen consort of Tunisia (Spouse of Bey of Tunis) is called Lalla Beya in reference to her husband.

She had little or no role in state affairs and did not accompany her husband on diplomatic visits abroad or at official dinners at the palace. Her only concern was the management of the palace and the harem.

The first queen consort of the Husainid dynasty was Lalla Jannat, as wife of Al-Husayn I ibn Ali. Most beys have multiple spouses because polygamy was in use until the adoption of the Code of Personal Status in Tunisia. Very few have taken a single spouse, like Muhammad VIII al-Amin, who married only Lalla Jeneïna Beya (1887–1960) in 1902. She was the last queen consort of Tunisia before the establishment of the republic on 25 July 1957.

Queen Lalla Kmar (1862–1942) was queen consort of Tunisia during three reigns, after having successively married Muhammad III as-Sadiq, Ali III ibn al-Husayn and Muhammad V an-Nasir, and played a notable role in the affairs of the kingdom. Muhammad V an-Nasir published a decree ordering the protection of Lalla Kmar, the absence of infringement of her rights and granting her a salary. He also built the Essaâda palace in La Marsa for her honor during World War I, between 1914 and 1915.

See also


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