Chad is a state in Central Africa. As of June 2021, the country's
population is estimated at 17,414,108. The area of the country is
1,284,000 km², the population density is about 13.56 people per
The capital is the city of N'Djamena. The official languages are French and Arabic.
Unitary state, presidential republic under the control of a military junta. The post of head of state and chairman of the Transitional Military Council is Mahamat Debi.
The state is located in a desert and semi-desert area in Central Africa. The largest landlocked state on the continent. It borders in the west with Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, in the south with the Central African Republic, in the east with Sudan and Libya in the north.
It is distinguished by significant ethno-cultural and religious diversity. About half of the country's population professes Islam (mainly the Sunni persuasion of the Maliki madhhab), slightly less than half is Christianity (mainly Catholicism), there is also a small number of non-believers and pagans in the country. The main peoples are Sara (Negroid Christians in the south of the country) and Arabs (Semitic Muslims in the north), but together they make up less than half of the population.
An agrarian country with a very low human development index, one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world. The volume of GDP at purchasing power parity is 26.574 billion ($1,618 per capita, 164th place). The monetary unit is the CFA franc.
The toponym "Chad" comes from the hydronym of the same name - the name of Lake Chad. The hydronym has been known to the Arabs since the 14th century, its meaning, presumably in the Kanuri language, is “a large expanse of water”, “lake”.
Physical and geographical characteristics
The territory of Chad is mostly flat plain. The northern part is within the Sahara desert. In the north - the Tibesti highlands with the highest point of the country - 3415 m. In the northeast - the Erdi and Ennedi plateau (height up to 1450 m), in the southeast - the Vadai massif (height up to 1666 m).
The climate of the northern part of the country is tropical desert. The southern part is equatorial-monsoonal.
There are no permanent rivers in the north of the country. In the south, the density of the river network is significant. The main Shari River, which flows into Lake Chad, is navigable. The rivers overflow widely during the rainy season, flooding vast areas and turning them into solid swamps, and become very shallow during the dry season.
The landscape of the northern, Saharan part of the country is rocky deserts, almost devoid of vegetation, alternating with sandy deserts with sparse vegetation (tamarix, undersized acacias, camel thorn). In the oases - date palms, grapes and wheat are grown. To the south, in the Sahel zone, semi-deserts and deserted savannahs with sparse grass cover and thickets of thorny shrubs (mainly acacias), doum palms and baobabs are found. In the extreme south there are typical savannahs with a high grass cover and forests. In the floodplains of the rivers and along the shores of the lakes there are extensive grass swamps.
The desert fauna is poor. There are many large mammals in the savannas - elephants, rhinos, buffaloes, giraffes, antelopes. From predatory - lions, leopards, jackals, hyenas. Some savannah animals are found on the outskirts of the desert zone. Monkeys (baboons and colobuses) are found in the upper reaches of the Shari River. Numerous snakes and lizards, insects.
The territory of modern Chad was settled as a result of the mass migration of people around 7000 BC. It occurred in connection with the improvement of natural conditions on the territory of the future state. The most important archaeological sites in Chad are located in the former region of Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti (now 3 different regions). Some of these monuments are older than 2000 BC. The Chadian basin has been inhabited by settled people since about the same year. The region has become a crossroads of civilizations and cultures. The earliest of these, Sao, is known for its few artifacts and oral history. This civilization fell under the onslaught of the Kanem Empire, the first and longest-running empire in the Sahelian strip of Chad, which arose around 1000 AD.
In the 16th-17th centuries AD, two new states arose on the territory of Chad - the Bagirmi Sultanate and the Vadai Empire. The power of these states was based on control over the trans-Saharan trade routes that ran through the region. These states were Muslim. They never extended their power to the territory of the modern south of Chad, where the Negro tribes lived, who professed the cult of ancestors, but they carried out raids on this territory in order to capture slaves. Slaves made up about a third of the population of these countries.
French colonial expansion led to the creation in 1900 of a colony in this territory, which was called the Territoire Militaire des Pays et Protectorats du Tchad. In 1920, the states were completely conquered by the French and incorporated into French Equatorial Africa. This government was characterized by the absence of a policy of unification of the territory and attempts to build national-religious unity, as well as slower modernization compared to other colonies of the country. The French government primarily viewed the colony as a source of an insignificant, poorly trained labor force to develop raw cotton: France introduced large-scale production of this raw material in 1929. The colonial administration was understaffed, and those that were were the "dregs" of the French state machine, which had nowhere else to send. Only the Sar people in the south of the country, who converted to Catholicism, were relatively effectively governed: the presence in the Islamic north of the country was actually nominal.
After World War II, France granted Chad the status of an overseas territory in its composition. The inhabitants of the country were given the opportunity to elect their own representatives to the national assemblies (parliaments) of France and Chad itself. The largest political force was the Progressive Party of Chad, whose headquarters was located in the southern, Christian part of the colony. It was at the head of this party and its protege Francois Tombalbay, an ethnic Sara and a Christian by faith, that Chad gained independence on August 11, 1960.
period of independence
Two years after gaining independence, the President of Chad introduced a one-party system of government, banning opposition parties. His authoritarian rule, coupled with absolute mismanagement, exacerbated inter-ethnic and inter-religious tensions in the country. In 1965, in the north of the country, the Muslim rebel group the National Liberation Front of Chad (French: Front de libération nationale du Tchad, FROLINAT) unleashed a civil war. In 1975, President Tombalbay was overthrown and assassinated in a military coup. The country was led by General Felix Mallum, who tried to end the civil war. However, the uprising continued, and when in 1979 the rebels led by Hissen Habré captured the capital, the country collapsed. In the north, a large number of groups were organized that fought among themselves for power. The country de facto collapsed. This led to the collapse of French power, which relied on the Christian government. "Vacuum" tried to fill Muammar Gaddafi, because of which Libya was involved in a civil war in the country. This adventure of the Libyan government ended in a real disaster in 1987, when France nevertheless supported Hissein Habré, who was able to unite under his control many disparate groups, including Christians, and ousted the Libyans from his territory.
Habré established an even more brutal and totalitarian regime than his predecessor. His system of power rested on a group of military and associates who turned Chad into one of the most corrupt countries in the world, and also maintained their power through mass violence. It is estimated that several tens of thousands of people were killed during the junta's rule. The president has also exacerbated ethnic tensions by favoring his own nationality, the tuba, in cases, and by discriminating against former Zaghawa Muslim allies. He was overthrown by his own general, Idris Deby, in 1990. At the same time, he tried to hold Habré accountable for his actions. The former ruler of Chad was put under house arrest in Senegal in 2005. In 2013, Habré was formally charged with war crimes committed during his reign. In May 2016, he was found guilty of crimes against humanity, in particular rape, sexual slavery and organizing the murder of more than 40 thousand people, for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Once in power, Deby attempted to reconcile the rebel groups among themselves and with his government, for which the multi-party system was reintroduced. A new constitution was approved in a referendum, and in 1996 the first competitive elections since the colonial government were held, in which Déby won. Five years later, he won a second victory and went to the second term, according to the constitution. In 2003, the development of oil fields began in Chad. However, it did not bring prosperity - this factor only intensified internal political and interethnic disagreements, which started a new civil war. At the same time, Deby, without a referendum and agreement with parliament, unilaterally changed the country's constitution, abolishing the limitation of presidential terms. This step caused a wave of indignation both in society and among the opposition.
In 2006 new elections were held in the midst of a civil war, boycotted by the opposition. By that time, the percentage of victims of ethnic violence in relation to the overall death rate in the country had increased; The UN High Commissioner has warned that ethnic cleansing or a Darfur-like genocide could begin in Chad. In the same year, the rebels attempted to capture the capital of the country, but failed. Two years later, a second unsuccessful attempt to seize power took place. Sudan also participated in this war until January 15, 2010, when a ceasefire agreement was signed. Thanks to this, the joint forces of the two countries were deployed to secure the border, and a number of Chadian and Sudanese military returned home. In 2013, a military coup against President Déby, which had been in preparation for several months, was thwarted.
On April 20, 2021, the President of Chad died in a clash with rebels from the Front for Change and Accord. His son, Mahamat Idris Debi Itno, abolished the constitution and headed the Transitional Military Council, taking over both the powers of the president and the commander-in-chief of the army.