Chad Information

General Information for Chad

Country: Chad
Location: Central Africa
Independence: August 11, 1960
Nationality: Chadian
Capital City: N'Djamena
Population: 5,586,505
Important Cities: Sahr, Faya Largeau
Head of State: Idriss Deby
Area: 1,284,634
Type of Government: Military
Currency: 500 CFA=1 USD
Major peoples: Toubou, Hadjeri, Fulbe, Kotoko, Kanembou, Sara, Zaghawa
Religion: Muslim 44%, Christian 33%, African religion 23%
Climate: Arid to semiarid
Literacy: 30%
Official Language: French
Principal Languages: Chadian Arabic, Fulfulde, Kotoko, Kanembou
Major Exports: Livestock Products, Cotton
Pre-Colonial History The history of human habitation of Chad is extremely long. The oldest humanoid skull yet found in Chad (Borkou) is more than one million years old. 7,000 years ago, the north central basin, now in the Sahara, was still filled with water, and people lived and farmed around its shores. The region was known to traders and geographers from the late Middle Ages. Since then Chad has served as crossroads for the Moslem peoples of the desert and savanna regions and the animist Bantu peoples of the tropical forests. Sao People lived along the Chari River for thousands of years, but their relatively weak chiefdoms were overtaken by the powerful chiefs of what were to become the Kanem-Bornu and Baguirmi Kingdoms. At their peak, these two kingdoms and the kingdom of Ouaddai controlled a significant part of what is now Chad. From 1500 to 1900, Arab slave raids were widespread. The French penetrated Chad in 1891, establishing their authority through military expeditions against Moslem kingdoms. The first major colonial battle for Chad was fought in 1900 between the French Major Lamy and the African leader Rabah. Although Chad joined the French colonies of Gabon, Oubangui-Charo, and Moyen Congo to form the Federation of the French Equatorial Africa (AEF) in 1910, it did not have colonial status until 1920.
Post-Colonial History In 1960, Chad became an independent nation under its first president, Francois Tombalbaye. A long civil war began as a tax revolt in 1965 and soon set the Moslem north and east against the southern-led government. Tombalbaye's rule became more irrational and brutal, leading the military to carry out a coup in 1975 and to install Gen. Felix Malloum, a southerner, as head of state. Internal dissent within the government led the northern Prime Minister, Hissein Habre, to send his forces against the national army at N'Djamena in February 1979. In November 1979, the National Union Transition Government (GUNT) was created. Goukouni Oueddei, was named President. In March 1994 the Institutional Committee submitted constitutional recommendations, which included provisions for the election of a President for a term of five years, the installation of a bicameral legislation and a Constitutional Court, and the establishment of a decentralized administrative structure.

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