Djerba island, also known as Jarbah, is in south-eastern Tunisia, in the Gulf of Gabès. With dimensions of about 27 km (17 miles) by 26 km (16 miles) the island is flat and arid . Olives, dates, and figs are the chief crops. Besides farming, the island's principal occupations include sponge and oyster fishing, pottery and jewellery making, and the manufacture of cloth and olive oil. Hawmat as Suq (Houmt-Souk) on the northern side of the island is the administrative and trade centre. In ancient Greek and Roman legend the island was the home of the lotus-eaters. As Meninx, it was a Roman possession, and during the Middle Ages, it was taken successively by the Arabs (in 655), the Normans of Sicily, the Spanish, and the Turks. In 1881 Djerba, together with the mainland of Tunisia, was occupied by the French.
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