Today a part of Tunisia, the island of Jerba off that country's southeastern coast has changed hands many times during its history. The first mention of the island in history is in Homer's Odyssey, where he calls the place the "Land of the Lotus-Eaters." The Carthaginians established trade with the island as early as the 8th-century BCE. In the 2nd-century BCE, the Romans built a trading post on the island known as Meninx. The island was conquered for the first time by the Arabs in 655 CE. Over the following centuries it came under the control of the Berbers, Sicilians, and the Spanish. Jerba has been a part of Tunisia since the 16th-century.

    In 1881, the island came under French control as part of a deal with the British. Citizens of Jerba were largely in support of French rule, as it gave them protection from their enemies. In the early 1950s, Tunisia waged a war for independence from the French, and won it in 1956. Since then it has been the independent Tunisian Republic. A terrorist attack occurred on the island on April 11, 2002, when a truck full of explosives detonated near a synagogue. 21 people were killed in the incident, including 14 Germans, 5 Tunisians, and 2 Frenchmen. The terrorist group Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack.