Chad (Arabic: تشاد Tšād; French: Tchad i/ˈtʃæd/), officially the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by 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.
Chad is divided into multiple regions: a desert zone in the north, an arid Sahelian belt in the centre and a more fertile Sudanese savanna zone in the south. Lake Chad, after which the country is named, is the largest wetland in Chad and the second-largest in Africa. Chad’s highest peak is the Emi Koussi in the Sahara, and N’Djamena, (formerly Fort-Lamy), the capital, is the largest city. Chad is home to over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups. Arabic and French are the official languages. Islam and Christianity are the most widely practiced religions.
Beginning in the 7th millennium BC, human populations moved into the Chadian basin in great numbers. By the end of the 1st millennium BC, a series of states and empires rose and fell in Chad’s Sahelian strip, each focused on controlling the trans-Saharan trade routes that passed through the region. France conquered the territory by 1920 and incorporated it as part of French Equatorial Africa. In 1960, Chad obtained independence under the leadership of François Tombalbaye.
Resentment towards his policies in the Muslim north culminated in the eruption of a long-lasting civil war in 1965. In 1978, the rebels conquered the capital and put an end to the south’s hegemony. However, the rebel commanders fought amongst themselves until Hissène Habré defeated his rivals. He was overthrown in 1990 by his general Idriss Déby. Since 2003, the Darfur crisis in Sudan has spilt over the border and destabilised the nation, with hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees living in and around camps in eastern Chad.
Flag of Chad
Blue symbolizes, officially, the sky, hope, and water; yellow the sun and the desert to the north of the country; red progress, unity, and sacrifice. Red also recalls the blood shed for independence.
Coat of arms of Chad
The wavy lines on the shield are representative of Lake Chad, and the sun rising over it represents a new beginning. The goat on the left represents the northern part of the nation, while the southern part is represented by the lion. Dangling from the bottom of the shield is the medal for the National Order of Chad.
Location of Chad
Chad is bordered by 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.
Official languages: French, Arabic
Government: Dominant-party presidential republic
Area: 1,284,000 km2
Population: 10,329,208 (2009 estimate)
GDP (PPP): 2011 estimate – Total $19.543 billion – Per capita $1,865
GDP (nominal): 2011 estimate – Total $9.344 billion – Per capita $1,865
Religion: Muslim, 20% Roman Catholic, 14% Protestant, 10%
Currency: Central African CFA franc (XAF)