Chad History

Chad History


Petroglyphs from the Tibesti Mountains testify that this area was already populated in the Neolithic period. Presumably from the 4th millennium before the beginning of the Christian era, various Negroid peoples began to populate the area around Lake Chad, which are considered ancestors of today’s black population of the country (including Sara, Sao, Haussa).

From the 8th century the area around Lake Chad became a hub for the caravans, which moved between the already Islamized North Africa (Egypt, Sudan) and the black African areas in West and Central Africa and were the main trade goods golf, salt and slaves led. The Kingdom of Kanem became the dominant power in the Chad region, and its leaders converted to Islam at the end of the 11th century. The Kanem Empire probably had its largest expansion in the 13th century. Around 1390 the capital of the empire had to be relocated to Bornu in the southwest of Lake Chad (today Nigeria) due to the constant threat of Arab-Berber tribes.

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From the 16th century, the empire lost territories to the empires Bagirmi (in the southwest of today’s Republic of Chad) and Ouadaï in the east. In the second half of the 19th century, the Arab slave trader Rabeh Zubair succeeded in occupying the area around Lake Chad and subjugating the tribes living there.

Colonial period

Europeans had started to explore the region in the first half of the 19th century. In the course of European colonial policy, Africa was divided among the great powers, the boundaries of the existing kingships and tribal areas were largely ignored. Large areas of what is now the Republic of Chad fell to France, in April 1900 the troops of the slave trader Rabeh Zubair had to give way to the French (Battle of Kousseri, which is now in Cameroon). The French-occupied areas were declared a protectorate and three years later a French colony. In 1910, what is now Chad became part of French Equatorial Africa. In 1920 the area became an independent colony, in 1930 it expanded, and after the inclusion of the Tibesti Mountains, the country received its borders that are still valid today.

After the end of World War II, according to AbbreviationFinder, Chad became part of the French Union as an overseas territory, and in 1958 an autonomous republic within the French community.

The first political parties were founded in the country itself from the 1940s, Gabriel Lisette of the “Parti Progressiste Tchadien” (PPT) became the country’s first head of government. With his party, he represented the Christian population in the south of the country and was largely rejected by the Muslims in the north of the country. This also applied to his successor François Tombalhaye (PPT), who took over the office just a year later.

Independent state

The Republic of Chad finally became independent in August 1960. Tombalhaye became the first President of the Republic (until 1975). He followed a pro-French course and filled all important posts with PPT members. The interests of the Islamic part of the population were thereby suppressed, and after unrest in the country, Tombalhaye had all parties outside the ruling PPT (which became a unity party from 1965) banned. Opposition politicians were persecuted and detained.

In 1966, the Libyan-backed resistance front “Front de Liberation Nationale du Tchad” (FROLINAT) started to fight the government. Tombalhaye had to use French troops to stay in power, but despite their support, he was unable to defeat the resistance movement. After France withdrew its troops from Chad in 1971, President Tombalhaye proclaimed “national reconciliation”: imprisoned opposition figures were released from prison, efforts were made to make peace talks with FROLINAT and Libya. In return, after the support of the rebel group ceased, Libyan troops occupied the 115,000-square-kilometer Aozou strip in northern Chad.

In 1973, the Tombalhaye government launched a so-called “cultural revolution” in order to remain in power against growing resistance: the PPT became the “Mouvement National pour la R¨¦volution Culturelle et Sociale” (MNRCS), Christian names and cities were changed (the previous capital Fort Lamy was now called N’Djamena). Tombalhaye was murdered in a military coup in 1975 and was succeeded by General F¨¦lix Malloum (until 1979). Even with the policy of national unity he had announced, the FROLINAT resistance movement, which had now occupied large parts of the country, could not be stopped. In 1976 there was a change in the leadership of the long-contested rebel movement, the FROLINAT leader Hiss¨¨ne Habr¨¦ was replaced by Goukouni Queddei.

In 1979 the Kano Peace Conference (in Nigeria) was held, at which the eleven civil war parties in Chad agreed to form a “government of the National Union”. Goukouni Queddei became the new head of state. Conflicts between Queddei and Hiss¨¨ne Habr¨¦, the foreign minister, and their allied armies led to bloody battles in the early 1980s, which also included Libyan troops.

Despite international attempts at mediation and an OAU (Organization of African Unitiy) peacekeeping force stationed in the country, the civil war continued to rule the country. In 1983 French troops intervened again. In 1986 Goukouni Queddei and his rival Hiss¨¨ne Habr¨¦ reached an agreement and together advanced against the Libyan troops, which occupied parts of Chad in the north. In 1987 Libya declared the fight with Chad over, but continued to claim the Aozou region (Libyan troops withdrawn in February 1994).

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The 1990s and the new millennium

In 1989, the Republic of Chad received a new constitution that stuck to the one-party system. Habr¨¦ became president again, but was overthrown by Colonel Idriss D¨¦by only a year later. Political parties were re-admitted in 1992, and in 1994 there was a peace agreement between the civil war parties. In July 1996, the first free elections since independence in 1960 were held, which confirmed D¨¦by as President. His party MPS (Mouvement Patriotique du Salut) entered into a coalition with the UNDR (Union Nationale pour le D¨¦veloppement et le Renouveau). In 2007 the government and opposition agreed on a comprehensive reform of the electoral system and the establishment of an electoral commission. The 2011 parliamentary elections were also described by EU observers as free and fair.

As early as December 2005, Chad had officially identified a “state of hostility” with Sudan due to the conflicts in the western Sudanese province of Darfur. This was preceded by an attack by Chadian rebels on the border town of Adr¨¦. The civil war broke out in April 2006: the Sudanese rebel group FUC could only be prevented from taking the capital of Chad, N’Djamena, with French military support; Chad then broke diplomatic relations with Sudan. In November 2006, a state of emergency was declared for large parts of Chad. A peace agreement was reached with the FUC shortly thereafter, but other rebel groups increasingly gained control of the east of the country.An armistice in October 2007 with four of the rebel groups did not prevent a rebel attack on the capital in February 2008, which was repelled by the government army. EUFOR troops were stationed a month later. Chad closed the Sudan border in May 2008 after the neighboring country cut diplomatic ties after a rebel attack on the Sudanese capital Khartoum (both countries accuse each other of supporting rebel groups). In early 2010, however, a contract to normalize mutual relations was signed. The political situation has not completely relaxed so far. In May 2013, the government announced that it had thwarted a coup attempt.

About half a million refugees from Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Sudanese region of Darfur are in Chad. Despite the presence of the Security Police (DIS) and the UN peacekeeping mission MINURCAT, torture and sexual violence are common.

Chad President