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A largely semi-desert country, Chad is rich in gold and uranium and stands to benefit from its recently-acquired status as an oil-exporting state.

Chad’s post-independence history has been marked by instability and violence, stemming mostly from tension between the mainly Arab-Muslim north and the predominantly Christian and animist south.

Chad became an oil-producing nation in 2003, with the completion of a $4bn pipeline linking its oilfields to terminals on the Atlantic coast.

However, Africa’s fifth-largest nation suffers from inadequate infrastructure, and internal conflict. Poverty is rife, and health and social conditions compare unfavourably with those elsewhere in the region.

The Situation
  • 1883-93 – Sudanese adventurer Rabih al-Zubayr conquers the kingdoms of Ouadai, Baguirmi and Kanem-Bornu, situated in what is now Chad.
  • 1900 – France defeats al-Zubayr’s army, completing its conquest in 1913. Chad becomes a colony.
  • 1960 – Chad becomes independent with a southern Christian, Francois – later Ngarta – Tombalbaye, as president.
  • 1963 – The banning of political parties triggers violent opposition in the Muslim north, led by the Chadian National Liberation Front, or Frolinat; three years later this revolt develops into a fully-fledged guerrilla war.
  • 1973 – French troops help put down a revolt in the Muslim north.
  • 1977 – Libya annexes the northern Chadian Aouzou strip, and sends in troops in 1980 to support President Goukouni Oueddei.
  • 1990 – Coup leader Hissene Habre toppled by former ally, Idriss Deby.
  • 2011 – Presidential election, boycotted by opposition. President Idriss Deby is declared winner.
  • 2016 – Ex-ruler Hissene Habre is convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison at a landmark trial in Senegal.
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Fun Trivia Facts

The Republic of Chad

Capital: N’Djamena

  • Population 11.8 million
  • Area 1.28 million sq km (495,800 sq miles)
  • Major languages French, Arabic
  • Major religions Islam, Christianity
  • Life expectancy 49 years (men), 52 years (women)
  • Currency CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) franc