This paper provides insight on the role of the historian and history in Tunisia during the Ottoman period. Intellectually, historians became involved in a social project based on the construction of the territorial state in all its aspects. Historians fiercely defended the state and its symbols, creating a product which responded to its own societal need. With this image they emerged as akin to organic intellectuals. Tunisian historians of this era were self-reliant: there were no academic institutions to oversee their efforts, but they managed to break new ground in creating new historical knowledge which in many respects broke with tradition. It was during this period that the academic study of history acquired its own unique character, independent from literature and literary forms.