République du Tchad
Republic of Chad
Quick Facts About the Country
Capital - N'Djamena
Government - republic
Currency - Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF)
Area - 1.284 million km2
Population - 9,944,201 (July 2006 est.)
Language - French (official), Arabic (official), Chadian Arabic (lingua franca trade language), Sara (in south), more than 150 different languages and dialects
Religion - Muslim 51%, Christian 35%, animist 7%, other 7%
Calling Code +CC
Internet TLD .td
Time Zone UTC +N
Chad (Arabic: Taād; French: Tchad), officially the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in central Africa. It borders Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest and Niger to the west. Due to its distance from the sea and its largely desert climate, the country is sometimes referred to as the "dead heart of Africa". In the north, it contains the Tibesti Mountains, the largest mountain chain in the Sahara desert. Chad was formerly part of the Federation of French Equatorial Africa.
(Wikimedia Foundation, Inc)
Weather and Climate
The northern portion of Chad is hot and arid. The central section has three seasons: hot from March to July; rainy from July to October, with rainfall averaging from about 250 to 750 mm (about 10 to 30 in); and cool during the remaining months. The southern section has similar seasons but receives about 1,145 mm (about 45 in) of rain in the same four months.
(Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2003)
Major Travel and Tourism Info (Travel Guide)
Part of France's African holdings until 1960, Chad endured three decades of civil warfare as well as invasions by Libya before a semblance of peace was finally restored in 1990. The government eventually drafted a democratic constitution, and held flawed presidential elections in 1996 and 2001.
In 1998, a rebellion broke out in northern Chad, which sporadically flares up despite several peace agreements between the government and the rebels. In 2005 new rebel groups emerged in western Sudan and have made probing attacks into eastern Chad. Power remains in the hands of an ethnic minority. In June 2005, President Idriss Deby held a referendum successfully removing constitutional term limits.
Broad, arid plains in center, desert in north, mountains in northwest, lowlands in south. Lowest point: Djourab Depression (160 meters). Highest point: Emi Koussi (3,415 meters).
Hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds occur in north; periodic droughts; locust plagues
There are 200 distinct ethnic groups. In the north and center: Arabs, Gorane (Toubou, Daza, Kreda), Zaghawa, Kanembou, Ouaddai, Baguirmi, Hadjerai, Fulbe, Kotoko, Hausa, Boulala, and Maba, most of whom are Muslim; in the south: Sara (Ngambaye, Mbaye, Goulaye), Moundang, Moussei, Massa, most of whom are Christian or animist; about 1,000 French citizens live in Chad.
(Wikimedia Foundation, Inc)
History in Brief: Summary
The area that today is Chad was once inhabited by a group of politically disconnected tribes. Humanoid skulls and cave paintings of great antiquity have been found there.
Gradually relatively weak local kingdoms developed; these were later overtaken by the larger and more powerful Kanem-Bornu Empire.Later, foreigners came to have more influence in Chad. Beginning in the Middle Ages, Chad became a crossroads for Muslim traders and indigenous tribes. In 1900, after the battle of Kousséri, Chad became a part of France's colonial system.
In WWII, Chad was the first French colony to join the Free French and the Allies, under the leadership of its Governor, Félix Éboué. In 1960, Chad became an independent country, with François Tombalbaye as its first president.
Chad's post-independence history has been marked by instability and violence stemming mostly from tensions between the mainly Arab-Muslim north and the predominantly animist and Christian south.
In 1965 Muslim dissatisfaction with President Tombalbaye - a Christian southerner - developed into a guerrilla war. This, combined with a severe drought, undermined his rule and, in 1975, President Tombalbaye was killed in a coup led by Noël Milarew Odingar, who immediately passed power to yet another southerner, general Félix Malloum. Malloum, too, failed to end the war, notwithstanding his cooptation as Prime Minister in 1978 of the insurgent leader Hissène Habré, head of the Armed Forces of the North (FAN), and was in 1979 replaced by a Libyan-backed northerner, Goukouni Oueddei, while the country precipitated in the most anarchic phase of the Chadian Civil War.
Satellite image of ChadLibya invaded Chad in 1980, to help Oueddei remain in power and to forward an expansionist policy that projected to unify politically Libya and Chad. Before, The Libyans had already occupied a narrow strip of land known as the Aouzou Strip in 1972-73. France and the United States responded by aiding Habré in an attempt to contain Libya's regional ambitions under Muammar al-Qaddafi. Civil war deepened.
In December, 1980 Libya occupied all of northern Chad, but Habré defeated Libyan troops and drove them out in November, 1981. By this stage France and neighbouring Libya were intervening repeatedly to support one side against another. Habré in 1982 conquered the capital ousting President Oueddei, and assumed overall control of the state.
His eight year reign led to immense political turmoil, with human rights organisations accusing him of having ordered the execution of thousands of political opponents and members of tribes thought hostile to his regime. In 1983, Qaddafi's troops occupied all of the country north of Koro Toro. The United States used a clandestine base in Chad to train captured Libyan soldiers, whom it tried to organize into an anti-Qaddafi force. Habré's aid from the USA and France helped him to win the war against Libya. The Libyan occupation of the north of Koro Toro ended when Habré defeated Qaddafi in 1987.
Despite this victory, Habré's government was weak, accused of brutality and corruption, and seemingly disliked by a majority of Chadians. He was deposed by Libyan-supported rebel leader Idriss Déby on December 1, 1990. Habré went into exile in Senegal. Déby installed himself as dictator. Soon after a constitution was written. Popular support for Déby was apparently shown in an election in May, 2001, where he defeated six other candidates with 67.3% of the vote. The election was described as being "reasonably fair", although there were some noted irregularities.
In 1998 an armed insurgency began in the north, led by President Déby's former defence chief, Youssouf Togoimi. A Libyan-brokered peace deal in 2002 failed to put an end to the fighting.
In 2003 and 2004, unrest in neighbouring Sudan's Darfur region spilled across the border, along with many thousands of refugees.
On December 23, 2005, Chad announced that it was in a "state of war" with Sudan. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference(OIC) has urged Sudan and Chad to exercise self-restraint to defuse growing tension between the two neighboring countries.
On February 8, 2006, Chad and Sudan signed the Tripoli Agreement, ending the Chadian-Sudanese conflict. This agreement prohibits either country from beginning media campaigns against one another, and also from interfering with the others internal affairs.
On April 13, 2006 rebels invaded the Capital, seeking to topple the Presidency of Idriss Déby. Government forces defeated them in the Battle of N'Djamena. Chad then accused Sudan of supporting and training the rebels, and severed diplomatic ties between the two countries.
(Wikimedia Foundation, Inc)
Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2003
The World Factbook 2006
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc