Chad, a landlocked country located in north-central Africa, is about 85% the size of the state of Alaska. Its neighbors are Niger, Libya, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Cameroon and Nigeria. Lake Chad, from which the country takes its name, lies on the western border with Niger and Nigeria. In the north, the country is occupied by a desert, which smoothly flows into the Sahara.
The form of government is a republic. Check cancermatters for political system of Chad.
The area around Lake Chad has been inhabited since at least 500 BC. In the 8th century AD, the Berbers began to migrate to the area. Islam arrived in the country in 1085, and in the 16th century a trio of rival kingdoms flourished: Kanem Bornu, Baguirmi and Waddai. In 1883-1893. all three kingdoms fell under the rule of the Sudanese conqueror Rabi al-Zubair. In 1900, Rabi was overthrown by the French, who in 1913 united these kingdoms into the colony of French Equatorial Africa, within the framework of Ubangi-Shari (now the Central African Republic). In 1946, the area now known as Chad became autonomous republic within the French Community. The independence movement, led by the first premier and president François (later Ngarta) Tombalbay, achieved full independence on August 11, 1960. Tombalbay was assassinated in 1975 during a coup d’état and was succeeded by General Felix Mallum, who faced a Libyan-funded civil war throughout his tenure. In 1977, Libya seized part of Chad’s land and launched an invasion two years later. The nine rival factions met in Lagos, Nigeria in March 1979 and agreed to form an interim government led by Gukuni Weddey, a former rebel leader. Fighting flared up again in Chad in March 1980, when Defense Minister Hissène Habré recused Goukouni and seized the capital. In January 1981, Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi proposed to unite Chad with Libya. The Libyan offer was rejected, and in the same year, Libyan troops were withdrawn from Chad, but in 1983 they returned back to the northern part of the country in order to support Goukouni. France, in turn, sent troops into southern Chad in support of Habré. Then, in early 1987, government forces went on the offensive, which drove the Libyans out of most of the country. In 1990, Idriss Deby, former defense minister and head of the Patriotic Salvation Movement, ousted Habré, suspended the constitution, and dissolved the legislature. In 1994, a new constitution was drafted and an amnesty for political prisoners was declared. Déby won the multi-party election in 1996 and was re-elected in 2001. His reign was marked by repression and corruption. Deby has faced about half a dozen insurgencies since taking office.