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Chad (chăd, chäd), officially Republic of Chad, republic (2020 est. pop. 16,425,864), 495,752 sq mi (1,284,000 sq km), N central Africa. Chad is bordered by the Central African Republic on the south, Sudan on the east, Libya on the north, and Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria on the west. Ndjamena is the capital and largest city.

Land and People

The terrain in the south is wooded savanna; it becomes brush country near Lake Chad. The only important rivers are the Chari and the Logone, both of which flow into Lake Chad and are used for irrigation and seasonal navigation. Northern Chad is part of the Sahara Desert; areas of the mountainous Tibesti region there are 11,000 ft (3,353 m) high. The country has no railroads and few all-weather roads.

Chad comprises some 200 ethnicities, which fall into two distinct, and often hostile, population groupings. In the south, where the bulk of the population is concentrated, live sedentary agricultural peoples, including the Sara, Massa, Ngambaye, and Moundang; most are Christians, but some follow traditional religions. In the north are seminomadic and nomadic Muslim peoples, including Arabs, Tuareg, Hadjerai, Fulbe, and Toubou. French and Arabic are the official languages, but more than 100 languages and dialects are spoken throughout the country.


Chad's landlocked position, poor transportation network, inadequate natural resources, and ongoing political turmoil have severely hampered economic development. The economy is based primarily on sedentary subsistence agriculture and nomadic pastoralism, employing 80% of the workforce but contributing only about 32% of the GDP. The best farming zone is in the south, where rainfall is sufficient for the cultivation of cotton and peanuts (the country's leading cash crops) for export and some subsistence crops, including sorghum, millet, rice, potatoes, and manioc. Cattle, sheep, goats, and camels are raised, and there is fishing in Lake Chad. During drought periods, Chad requires food aid to meet necessary levels.

Natron and uranium are the country's chief minerals, and petroleum is produced in the southern Doba basin, which is connected by pipeline with the Cameroonian port of Kribi. Industry is limited to food processing and the production of textiles and light consumer goods. Imports—largely machinery, transportation equipment, industrial goods, foodstuffs, and textiles—generally outweigh exports, mainly cotton, cattle, gum arabic, and oil. Chad's chief trading partners are the United States, France, Cameroon, and China.


Chad is governed under the constitution of 1996 as amended. The executive branch is headed by a president, who is elected by popular vote for a five-year term, and is head of state and of government; beginning in 2021, the president will serve for six years and be limited to two terms. Members of the 188-seat National Assembly are popularly elected for four-year terms. Administratively, Chad is divided into 23 regions.


Traditionally, the region around Lake Chad was a focal point for trans-Saharan trade routes. Arab traders penetrated the area in the 7th cent. A.D. Shortly thereafter, nomads from North Africa, probably related to the Toubou, entered the region; they eventually established the state of Kanem, which reached its zenith in the 13th cent. Its kings converted to Islam, the religion also practiced by the successor state of Bornu. The Wadai and Bagirmi empires arose in the 16th cent.; they warred with Bornu and in the 18th cent. surpassed it in power. By the early 1890s all of these states, weakened by internal dissension, fell under the control of the Sudanese conqueror Rabah el Zobaír (Rabih al-Zubayr).

French expeditions advanced into the region in 1890, and French sovereignty over Chad was recognized by agreements among the European powers. In 1900, French forces defeated Rabah's army, and by 1913 the conquest of Chad was completed; it was organized as a French colony in French Equatorial Africa and remained under military rule. Chad was later linked administratively with Ubangi-Shari (now the Central African Republic), but in 1920 it again became a separate colony. It was granted its own territorial legislature in 1946. In the French constitutional referendum of 1958, Chad chose autonomy within the French Community. Full independence was attained on Aug. 11, 1960, with Ngarta Tombalbaye as the first president.

Tombalbaye steadily strengthened his control over the country, and by 1965 it had become a one-party state. Chad suffered severely from the W African drought of the late 1960s and 1970s. Discontent among northern Muslim tribes with the increasing power of Tombalbaye's southern-dominated government evolved into a full-scale guerrilla war in 1966. French troops helped battle the revolt, which ended in 1973. However, the main Muslim guerrilla group, the Chad National Liberation Front (FROLINAT), figured prominently in fighting between Chad and Libya throughout the 1970s and 80s. During this period, Libya occupied various parts of Chad and supplied FROLINAT (which initially did not oppose Libyan expansionism) with arms.

Tombalbaye was killed in a coup in 1975. In 1979 a coalition government headed by Goukouni Oueddei, a former rebel from the north, assumed power, ending control of the government by southern Chadians, but he was overthrown in 1982 by the forces of former prime minister Hissène Habré. In 1987, the combined forces of FROLINAT and the Chadian government (with French and U.S. military aid) drove Libya from the entire northern region with the exception of the Aozou Strip and parts of Tibesti; in 1994 the International Court of Justice rejected Libya's claims and returned the area to Chad.

In 1990, Idriss Déby, leader of the Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS), overthrew the Habré government and promised democratic reforms and a new constitution; Habré fled to Senegal. A national democracy conference in 1993 established a transitional government with Déby as interim president and called for free elections within a year. Armed rebel groups continued to challenge the government, which, for its part, repeatedly postponed the elections. Multiparty presidential elections were finally held in 1996; Déby was returned to office, and the MPS also triumphed in the 1997 legislative elections.

The late 1990s saw renewed fighting in the north and other parts of the country. The president was again returned to office in 2001 in a disputed election, and the following year the MPS again won the legislative elections. A peace accord was signed with rebels in the north in May, 2002, but fighting erupted there again in Jan., 2003. The same month the government signed a peace agreement with rebels in E Chad, and in the following December a new peace agreement was signed with the northern rebels.

Fighting between local rebels and government troops and militias in Darfur, Sudan, which began in early 2003, has driven tens of thousands of refugees into E Chad. There also have been clashes between Chad's army and the Sudanese militias, and Chad has accused Sudan of backing former Chadian rebels to fight against Sudanese rebels. Chad also has received refugees from the Central African Republic, 30,000 of whom fled a coup there in 2003 and smaller numbers that were displaced by banditry in 2005.

In May, 2004, Chad's national assembly approved a constitutional amendment that ended the two-term limit on the presidency, allowing Déby to run for a third term in 2006. The amendment was approved in a referendum in June, 2005. Desertions (Sept., 2005) from the Chadian army increased the number of rebels based in Darfur, and in December there was fighting between the rebels and the army in E Chad. Chad again accused Sudan of backing the rebels and called for international intervention in Darfur.

In Dec., 2005, the national assembly voted to allow the government to use oil revenues that were to be set aside, under an agreement with the World Bank, for poverty reduction projects and future uses. Chad said the change was necessary because of national financial difficulties, caused in part by the rebellion in the east. In response, the World Bank halted loans to Chad and froze a Chadian oil escrow account, but an interim agreement, reached (Apr., 2006) after Chad threatened to halt oil production, allowed Chad access to the escrow account. A new agreement on poverty reduction projects was signed with the World Bank in July, but two years later (Sept., 2008) the World Bank canceled an oil pipeline deal with Chad because the government had failed to live up to the agreement. Oil revenues also were a source of friction with foreign consortium producing the petroleum. In Aug., 2006, Chad threatened two foreign companies with expulsion until they agreed to pay a renegotiated tax bill, and the president called for Chad to be a partner in the consortium.

Meanwhile, the assembly voted in Jan., 2006, to postpone its elections for a year, until 2007, citing financial problems as the reason. Some observers, however, believed that the real reason for the postponement was to assure Déby of support in the national assembly. An agreement (Feb., 2006) between Chad and Sudan that was intended to end cross-border incursions had little immediate effect on the fighting in the region. In Mar., 2006, government forces foiled a coup plot against Déby, whose position seemed increasingly uncertain. The following month Chadian rebels mounted a drive that reached into the capital before it was defeated.

Déby was reelected in May, but the opposition boycotted the vote and denounced the election and the official turnout figure of 61% as frauds. The security situation remained unstable, with continuing militia incursions from Sudan into Chad and attacks by Chadian rebels in Chad, Sudan, and the Central African Republic. In November, in the southeast, Chad also endured attacks by Arabs on non-Arab Chadians. That same month the government agreed to the stationing of a proposed UN peacekeeping force on its side of the Sudan border, but three months later the government said it would not allow any military peacekeepers to be stationed in its territory.

The signing, in Dec., 2006, of a peace agreement with one group of rebels did not fundamentally alter Chad's deteriorated security situation. Fighting with the rebels continued sporadically into 2007. A clash with rebels in Apr., 2007, led to fighting between Chadian and Sudanese troops after Chadian forces crossed the border in pursuit of the rebels. The following month, however, both nations signed an agreement intended to bring peace to their border region. An accord between the government and opposition parties, signed in Aug., 2007, postponed the next round of national assembly elections until 2009 to create electoral lists and voter ID cards that would prevent fraud. Elections were not held, however, until 2011.

In September the UN Security Council authorized the sending of peacekeepers to Chad to protect refugees there, and the following month the government and the main rebel forces signed a peace accord. New fighting erupted in November, however, and in December Sudan accused Chad of mounting attacks in W Darfur in conjunction with rebels there. In Feb., 2008, the rebels advanced into the capital before being forced to retreat; government and rebel forces continued to battle in E Chad in subsequent months. Later in February the 3,700-member European peacekeeping force (EUFOR) began deploying in Chad to protect Sudanese and Chadian refugees. In Mar., 2008, the peacekeeping force came under UN command, and began the process of broadening its composition and increasing its size to more than 5,000.

Also in Mar., 2008, Sudan and Chad again signed another accord intended to pacify the area along their common border, but Sudan broke off relations for six months beginning in May, accusing Chad of supporting an assault by Darfurian rebels against Sudan's capital, and relations between the two nations remained tense. In May, 2009, Chad and Sudan signed a reconciliation agreement, but that same month Chad accused Sudan of supporting a rebel attack against the government, and then sent forces into Darfur in attacks on Chadian rebel camps. There were new talks between the presidents of Chad and Sudan in Feb., 2010. In the long-delayed national assembly elections, which were finally held in Feb., 2011, Déby's party and its allies won a majority of the seats. The main opposition parties accused the government of fraud, and refused to participate in the April presidential election, which Déby won by a landslide.

In 2013 the Central African Republic's (CAR) former president François Bozizé accused Chadian forces of aiding in his ouster, which Chad denied. Chad subsequently contributed some 850 troops to African Union peacekeeping forces in the CAR, and helped force out (2014) the rebel leader who had succeeded Bozizé. It withdrew its forces in March as ethnic violence increased in the CAR and after Chadians were accused of aiding the predominantly Muslim rebels and killing innocent civilians.

In Jan., 2015, the Chadian government approved military assistance to Cameroon and Nigeria, to combat Boko Haram's forces. Chadian troops began operations in Nigeria the following month, and Boko Haram then mounted its first attacks against Chad. Attempts since 2015 to organize and operate a African Union–authorized regional multinational force to fight Boko Haram have been affected by disagreements. Chadian forces have also mounted operations in parts of Niger and Mali.

Déby won a fifth term as president in Apr., 2016, but the campaign was marred by irregularities and the opposition accused the government of fraud. Constitutional changes in 2018 restored term limits but did not apply them retroactively to Déby, and the president's powers were increased and the term was lengthened. In Aug., 2018, a rebel group based in Libya mounted attacks in N Chad; attacks also occurred in 2019. Boko Haram mounted a particularly deadly attack against Chadian forces in the Lake Chad region of the country in Mar., 2020.


See H. D. Nelson, ed., Area Handbook for Chad (1972); J. A. Works, Pilgrims in a Strange Land: Hausa Communities in Chad (1976); M. P. Kelley, State in Disarray: Conditions of Chad's Survival (1986); T. Collelo, Chad: A Country Study (2d ed. 1990); S. C. Nolutshungu, Limits of Anarchy: Intervention and State Formation in Chad (1996); M. J. Azevedo and E. A. Nnadozie, Chad: A Nation in Search of its Future (1997); S. Decalo, Historical Dictionary of Chad (3d ed. 1997); M. J. Azevedo, Roots of Violence: A History of War in Chad (1998); J. M. Burr, Africa's Thirty Years' War: Chad, Libya, and the Sudan, 1963–1993 (1999).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(République du Tchad; Republic of Chad), a state in Central Africa. Chad borders on Libya in the north, on the Sudan in the east, on the Central African Republic in the south, and on Cameroon, Nigeria, and Niger in the west. Area, 1.284 million sq km. Population, 4.160 million (1977). The capital is the city of Ndjamena (formerly Fort Lamy). For administrative purposes, the country is divided into 14 prefectures.

Government. In November 1979, a provisional government of the National Unity was formed as a result of a military coup.

Natural features. The northern half of Chad lies within the Sahara, while the southern half encompasses the Sahel and part of the natural region of the Sudan. Most of Chad is occupied by a flat plain, with elevations of 250–300 m in the west (the Bodele depression, 155 m) and 350–400 m and higher in the north, east, and south. In the north the plains are crossed by numerous wadis, and extensive areas are occupied by shifting sands. The Tibesti plateau, whose highest elevation reaches 3,415 m, is located in the extreme north. Rising in the northeast are the Erdi (1,115 m) and Ennedi (1,450 m) plateaus, while the Wadai (Ouaddaï) massif (with Mount Guéra at 1,790 m) is located in the southeast.

Chad lies in the northeastern part of the African Platform, within the Central African Shield, the Saharan Platform, and the Chad Syneclise. There are outcrops of metamorphic rocks of the Precambrian foundation in the Tibesti and Wadai massifs (highlands) and in the southwestern part of the country. The platform mantle is composed of diverse sedimentary rocks of the Paleozoic Era, Cretaceous period (the Tibesti massif and Erdi and Ennedi plateaus), and Cenozoic era (Chad Syneclise). The Tibesti and Wadai massifs have extensively developed Cenozoic volcanic rocks.

Minerals have been poorly studied. The northeastern shore of Lake Chad has deposits of natural sodium carbonate. Located in the southwest are deposits of bauxites (at Moundou, with known reserves of 10 million tons, and Laï, with 3.5 million tons; containing up to 57 percent Al2O3); iron-ore deposits are found in the eastern part of the Wadai massif (Hadjer) and near the city of Pala. There are also deposits of tin and tungsten ores (Tibesti), linked with rare-metal pegmatites, within which are also encountered tantalum and niobium ores, as well as some gold (Wadai), zinc (Tibesti), copper (Lake Léré), and uranium (Ennedi plateau). Deposits of petroleum have been discovered in the western and southwestern parts of the country, in the Chari (Shari) River basin.

North of 15°–16° N lat. the climate is tropical desert. The average January temperature is 15°C (on the Tibesti highland, below 10°C), while the average July temperature is 30°–35°C; daily temperatures fluctuate greatly, on an average 20°C. Annual precipitation amounts to 100–250 mm, although in places it is less than 50 mm; rainfall is infrequent and irregular. Strong winds causing sandstorms are characteristic. In the south the climate is equatorial monsoonal, with dry winters (October or November to April or May). The average temperature in January is 21°–24°C, and in April or May, 30°–33°C. The annual amount of precipitation increases from 250–500 mm in the north to 1,000 mm in the south.

There are no permanent surface streams in the northern part of Chad; the wadis fill up with water only after rainfall. In the south the river network is fairly dense. The principal navigable rivers are the Chari, which empties into Lake Chad (the eastern part of which belongs to the Republic of Chad), and its tributary the Logone. Other rivers include the Aouk and the Salamat, both tributaries of the Chari River, and the Batha, which empties into Lake Fitri. The rivers overflow considerably during the rainy season, flooding enormous areas and turning them into unbroken swamps; during the dry season they become very shallow.

The northern regions are dominated by stony deserts, nearly devoid of vegetation, alternating with sandy deserts, with thorny subshrubs and shrubs, such as camel thorn, tamarisk, and acacia. Date palms grow in the oases. Along the southern edge of the Sahara the vegetation is of the semidesert type. South of 15°–16°N lat. there are extensive desert-type savannas, with sparse grassy cover and acacia thickets growing on reddish-brown and brown soils. The extreme south has typical savannas, with baobabs and doum palms growing on leached out reddish-brown soils. The low-lying areas have black hydromorphic compact soils, enriched with carbonates. There are grassy swamps in the floodplains of the rivers and along the shores of the lakes.

The savannas are the habitat of many large mammals, such as the elephant, rhinoceros, including the white rhinoceros, buffalo, giraffe, and various antelopes. Predators include the lion, leopard, jackal, and hyena; certain savanna-type fauna, namely, lions and antelopes, are also encountered on the edge of the desert zone; fauna is scarce deep within the desert. Hippopotamuses and crocodiles inhabit the lakes. Snakes, lizards, and insects abound. Characteristic among the birds are ostriches, along the edge of the Sahara, as well as various aquatic and swamp birds, along the rivers and lakes. Within Zakouma, the country’s largest national park, elephants, rhinoceroses, giraffes, buffalo, antelopes, ostriches, and other animals are protected.

Population. The ethnic composition of the population is complex. About one-half of the population consists of peoples who speak the languages of the Central and Eastern Sudan, including Baguirmi (along with the related Sara, Laka, Bongo, and other languages), Mboum, Maba, Mimi, Massalit, Dago, and Tama. The desert regions north of Lake Chad are inhabited by the Tubu, who linguistically belong to the Kanuri-Tubu group, and Arabs, some of whom lead a nomadic way of life. South of Lake Chad are the peoples of the Hausa language family, including the Hausa, Moubi, Massa, and Kotoko. There is also a small number of Europeans, primarily French. The official language is French. The Arabic language is also widespread.

More than 50 percent of the population adheres to traditional local beliefs. The rest are mainly Muslims; there are some Christians—Roman Catholics and Protestants. The official calendar is the Gregorian.

In the period 1970–74, the average annual population growth amounted to 2.1 percent. The economically active population totals (1976) 1.5 million, of which 1.3 million are engaged in agriculture and only 24,000 in industry. The average population density is (1977) 3.2 persons per sq km. The southern part of the country is the most populated, while the northern part is the least populated. The urban population constitutes 15 percent (1977, estimate) of the total. The most important cities are Ndjamena (population, 300,000 in 1975, including the suburbs), Sarh, Moundou, and Abéché.

Historical survey. Archaeological finds reveal that the area now occupied by Chad was settled in ancient times. The earliest archaeological culture that has been studied in what is now Chad is the Sao culture, dating from the end of the first millennium A.D. (seeSAO). The Kanem state emerged in the ninth century (seeKANEM-BORNU EMPIRE). The Wadai (Ouaddaï) state formed in the eastern part of present-day Chad between the 12th and 14th centuries (seeWADAI). In the 16th century, the Baguirmi (Bagirmi) state emerged in the central part of Chad. In the mid-18th century it seized part of Kanem-Bornu, but at the beginning of the 19th century Baguirmi itself came under the vassal dependency of the Wadai state. At the end of the 19th century, almost all of Baguirmi and part of Kanem-Bornu and Wadai were included in the Rabah, or Rabeh, state (seeRABAH STATE). The peoples of the Rabah state stubbornly resisted the French colonialists, who in the late 19th century embarked on colonial expansion in Equatorial Africa. After the destruction of Rabah’s army by French troops in 1900, Chad was proclaimed a French military territory, although the conquest of certain areas continued until 1914. In 1904, Chad was made a part of the French colony of Ubangi-Shari-Chad (or Ubangi-Chari-Chad), which in 1910 was included in the colonial federation of French Equatorial Africa. In 1914, Chad was separated from Ubangi-Shari and made an independent colony within French Equatorial Africa. France made Chad a military-strategic base of operations and the source of agricultural raw materials for the mother country. During World War II, Chad was one of the bases of the Fighting French, and military operations were conducted from its soil against Italian and German troops in Libya.

After World War II, the national liberation movement intensified in Chad. In 1946, Chad became an overseas territory of France within French Equatorial Africa. The struggle for Chad’s independence was led by the Progressive Party of Chad (Parti Progressiste Tchadien; PPT), founded in 1947 as a local section of the African Democratic Assembly (seeAFRICAN DEMOCRATIC ASSEMBLY). In 1957 a government council of Africans was founded in Chad. On Nov. 28, 1958, in accordance with the results of a referendum of Sept. 28, 1958, on the draft of the new French constitution, Chad was proclaimed a republic within the French Community, and F. Tombalbaye, the PPT leader, was named head of the government. On Aug. 11, 1960, Chad was proclaimed an independent state, and Tombalbaye became president. On Sept. 20, 1960, Chad became a member of the UN.

After the proclamation of independence, Chad’s development proceeded amid an intense internal political struggle. In April 1962 a constitution was adopted that reaffirmed the presidential system that had emerged in the country. In 1962 all political parties except the PPT were disbanded, resulting in a one-party system; all opposition was prohibited, which was officially confirmed by a 1965 amendment to the constitution.

In the economic sphere the development of private capital was encouraged: various tax incentives were granted by the government, which also sought to attract foreign capital, primarily French. In 1963 a code on investments was adopted that granted various privileges to foreign entrepreneurs. At the same time, in order to overcome economic backwardness, the government broadened the state’s role in all spheres of economic life. It strove to gain control of the credit and monetary system, and it endeavored to establish state-run enterprises and mixed enterprises (that is, partially state controlled), and to introduce economic planning; it also turned to social development.

In 1965 antigovernment demonstrations by the ethnic groups of the north and northeast increased. In 1966 leadership of the struggle was taken over by the underground military-political organization of the Chad National Liberation Front (Frolinat); the group’s program sought the political and social renewal of Chad, the strengthening of its national independence, and the provision of equal rights for all citizens of the country. In order to suppress these outbreaks, French troops were brought into Chad in 1968, and remained until 1972. (French military units were sent to Chad after 1972 upon the request of the Chad government.)

In order to ease the situation in the country, a policy of national reconciliation was implemented in 1971. An extraordinary congress of the PPT was held in 1973, which adopted a resolution providing for its own dissolution and for the founding of a new political organization—the National Movement for Cultural and Social Revolution (Mouvement National pour la Revolution Culturelle et Sociale; MNRCS). Nevertheless, the domestic political situation remained tense. A military coup was staged on Apr. 13, 1975, as a result of which Tombalbaye was killed, the government was dissolved, constitutional guarantees were suspended, and the activities of political parties and trade unions were prohibited. In August the Supreme Military Council was proclaimed as the highest body of power; Brigadier General F. Malloum became president of the Supreme Military Council and head of state.

On Aug. 29, 1978, the Fundamental Charter of the Republic of Chad (Charte Fondamentale du Tchad) was proclaimed. According to the charter, F. Malloum became president, and H. Habré, leader of the Armed Forces of the North (FAN), a military and political group that split from Frolinat, became prime minister. In February 1979 the military forces supporting Habré, Frolinat, and other rebel groups confronted the army of Malloum in Ndjamena. In March 1979 the Malloum regime fell.

The struggle for power among certain ethnic groups continued. In August 1979 these groups reached an agreement in Lagos, and the Transitional Government of National Unity (Gouvernement de l’Union Nationale de Transition) was formed; it included representatives of all ethnic groups, on the basis of equal representation, from southern and northern Chad. Goukouni Oueddei became head of state and of government. As a result of armed conflict between FAN and Frolinat in March 1980, internecine conflict erupted again. In December 1980 the army under Goukouni Oueddei seized control of Ndjamena.

Since its independence, the Republic of Chad’s foreign policy has been guided by the principles of nonalignment with power blocs and noninterference in the internal affairs of other countries. Chad supports peaceful coexistence, universal and complete disarmament, and the declaration of Africa as a nonnuclear zone. It opposes racism and apartheid and supports the eradication of the colonial system. Chad is a member of the Organization of African Unity and an associate member of the European Economic Community (Common Market). It supports close relations with France, with which in 1960 it signed a number of agreements on cooperation in various spheres; the agreements were reviewed in 1976.

The USSR recognized the Republic of Chad the day independence was proclaimed and established diplomatic relations in November 1964. An agreement on scientific and cultural cooperation was concluded between the USSR and Chad in 1966, a trade agreement in 1967, an agreement on economic and technical cooperation in 1968, and an agreement on air transportation in 1974.


Economy. Chad is an agrarian country. Agriculture accounts for about 80 percent of the gross domestic product, while industry accounts for approximately 11 percent. In 1976 the per capita gross domestic product was $90. The key positions in the economy are occupied by foreign, primarily French, capital. The government’s economic policy focuses on ways of attracting and encouraging foreign investments. At the same time, the complex problems of overcoming the country’s economic backwardness have necessitated extensive involvement by the state in the economy, the establishment of state enterprises and mixed enterprises (that is, partially state controlled), and the introduction of planning in economic and social development.

AGRICULTURE. Agriculture is dominated by communal land-ownership, and land tenure is by subsistence and semisubsistence peasant farms. All farming operations are done by hand. The state grants credits to the peasants and establishes state forms of organization of agricultural production.

Agricultural land occupies 40 percent of the country’s land area; 13 percent of the agricultural land is cultivated. The main branch of agriculture is crop production, which is widespread in the southern part of the country. The principal export crop is cotton, which is cultivated primarily in the southwest, in the Logone River basin. In 1976, 174,000 tons of raw cotton were harvested from an area of 330,000 hectares (ha). The principal food crops are millet (area, 900,000 ha; harvest, 523,000 tons in 1975), peanuts (56,000 ha, 45,000 tons), rice (53,000 ha, 37,000 tons), and wheat (5,000 ha, 4,000 tons). Date palms, which yielded 26,000 tons of dates in 1975, are grown in the oases of the southern Sahara.

The traditional occupation of one-third of the population is nomadic or seminomadic stock raising. Periodic droughts contribute to a considerable decline in the livestock population. In 1976 there were 4 million head of cattle and 5 million sheep and goats. There is also fishing, on Lake Chad, the Logone River, and elsewhere, yielding as much as 110,000 tons of fish annually. Fish are exported in dried or smoked form.

INDUSTRY. Industry is represented primarily by small-scale, mainly cottage-type, enterprises engaged in processing agricultural raw materials. Most of the major enterprises are in the food-processing industry; they include slaughterhouses and refrigeration plants, a meat-packing complex, a flour mill, rice mills, vegetable-oil mills, a sugar refinery, and a brewery. Enterprises of the textile industry include cotton-ginning mills and a textile complex in Sarh. A sugar-refining complex was under construction in 1978 in Sarh.

Electric power plants operate on imported petroleum. The generation of electric power amounted to 60 million kW-hr in 1975. Sodium carbonate is extracted (about 10,000 tons in 1974).

TRANSPORTATION. Motor-vehicle roads total 32,000 km, of which 255 km are paved with asphalt (1976). Motor vehicles number 12,000 (1976). There is shipping along the Logone and Chari rivers. Ndjamena has an international airport.

FOREIGN TRADE. In 1974 exports amounted to 9.1 billion francs CFA, and imports amounted to 20.9 billion francs CFA. The chief exports are cotton, which accounts for 70 percent of the export value, and livestock products, which account for 20 percent. The principal imports are industrial and transportation equipment (more than 40 percent), petroleum products (23 percent), foodstuffs (12 percent), chemicals (10 percent), and textile goods (8 percent). The principal trading partner is (1974) France, which bought 50 percent of the exports and provided 44 percent of the imports.

The monetary unit is the franc CFA. (As of July 1977, 244.1 francs CFA = US $1).


Armed forces. The armed forces comprises the army (4,500 men), air force (300 men), and a police force (2,500 men). In addition there is a national guard and a nomad guard (4,200 men). General leadership of the armed forces is exercised by the Committee of National Defense, the president of which is also head of state; he also heads the Ministry of National Defense.

Medicine and public health. According to the World Health Organization, the birthrate in the period 1965–70 (on an annual average) was 47.7 per 1,000 population, and the mortality rate, 25; infant mortality is high (160 per 1,000 live births in the period 1965–70). The principal causes of death are infectious and parasitic diseases, as well as malnutrition. Also widespread are tuberculosis, venereal diseases, malaria, leprosy, gastrointestinal diseases, and childhood diseases.

In 1977, Chad had four hospitals, two polyclinics, 20 medical centers, and about 150 other medical establishments; the number of hospital beds totaled 3,500. There were 89 physicians (one physician per 50,000 inhabitants), of which 26 were Africans, three dentists, five pharmacists, and more than 1,000 secondary and other types of medical personnel. Physicians are trained abroad, while the secondary medical personnel are trained (since 1961) at a special medical school in Chad. Expenditures for health care amounted to 6.8 percent of the state budget in 1976.


VETERINARY MEDICINE. Veterinary services in Chad are only in the formative stage. There is an acute shortage of veterinary personnel, and veterinary statistics have not been compiled. Enormous economic damage is inflicted by anthrax, as well as rinderpest, epidemic pneumonia, and parasitic diseases. Also widespread are bovine scabies, scabies of solid ungulates and camels, helminthiasis of camels, cattle, and swine, echinococcosis and cysticercosis of ruminants, fascioliasis, trypanosomiasis, and piroplasmosis. Cases have also been registered of rabies, strepto-trichosis, and emphysematous anthrax, or blackleg (primarily among cattle and camels). Diseases caused by a deficiency in trace elements and vitamins are responsible for the low productivity of livestock.

As of 1976, Chad had 25 veterinarians. There is a veterinary research center in Ndjamena. Chad has 52 veterinary stations, including six border stations (1976), as well as a veterinary school. The USSR assists Chad in operating the veterinary center and in training veterinary specialists.

Education. The first European-type schools appeared in what is now Chad at the beginning of the 20th century. Before that there existed a rather well-developed network of Muslim educational institutions, including Koran schools and madrasas. By the time independence was declared (1960), about 10 percent of the children of the corresponding age group were attending primary schools and less than 1 percent were attending secondary schools. A state center for the elimination of illiteracy was founded in 1962. A 1967 law introduced four-year compulsory education.

To a large extent, Chad’s school system is based on the French system. The administration of public education is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of National Education, which monitors the work of both state and private educational institutions. Children from the age of six are accepted at the primary, six-year, school. The primary school is subdivided into three two-year cycles: preparatory, elementary, and intermediate. Rural localities have incomplete primary schools, with a four-year course of instruction. Competitive examinations must be passed in order to gain admission to secondary educational institutions. There are two types of secondary general-education schools: general-education colleges, with a four-year term of instruction, which provide an incomplete secondary education, and lycées, with a seven-year term of instruction, which provide a complete secondary education. Lycée graduates who have passed examinations for a baccalaureate diploma can enroll at a higher educational institution without taking examinations.

Vocational-technical education is poorly developed. Those completing primary school can go on to apprenticeship centers, with a term of instruction ranging from two to three years; there are also technical and business schools, with a term of instruction lasting six or seven years.

Instruction in all educational institutions is conducted in French. During the 1975–76 academic year, primary schools had an enrollment of more than 450,000 pupils, which amounted to about 50 percent of the total number of children of the corresponding age group. In the 1973–74 academic year, secondary schools had an enrollment of 12,900 persons, of which 11,400 were in general-education institutions, while the remainder were in vocational-technical and teacher-training educational institutions.

Located in Ndjamena is the University of Chad. Founded in 1971, it has faculties of literature, law, exact sciences, pedagogy, and zootechny; during the 1976–77 academic year, it had an enrollment of 600 students. The university library has 9,000 volumes. Also in Ndjamena are the National School of Administration, the Institute of Stock Raising and Veterinary Medicine, and the National Museum (founded 1963).


Press and radio. Since 1979, a bulletin of the Chad Press Agency is published, although irregularly, in Chad. A radio station operates in the city of Moundou.

Architecture and art. Remains of the ancient Sao culture, primarily dating from the eighth through tenth centuries, have been discovered in the southern part of Chad; they include ruins of settlements and the remains of pottery for daily use and terra-cotta and bronze statuettes of people and animals. Particularly expressive are the clay human heads with sharply deformed facial proportions dating mainly from the tenth century. Rural villages consist of closely grouped huts, surrounded by an earthen wall or enclosure. The huts are circular or rectangular, with pisé walls and pointed roofs. In the cities, the houses have inner courts and flat roofs and are surrounded by crenelated walls. Weaving (bright, striped fabrics) and embroidery (geometric designs) are well developed, as are leatherwork (bags, saddles, footwear, vessels), metalworking (weapons with fine, geometrical ornamentation, copper and bronze ornaments, silver embossing), braiding and plaiting (baskets, cups, plates with geometric ornamentation), and pottery-making (basins, vases, jars with polychrome drawings).

Music. The diversity of Chad’s music stems from the ethnic diversity of the population. The musical traditions of Chad’s many ethnic groups are strictly regulated. Many difficulties in the development of music are linked with the castelike structure of society and to the limitations imposed by the social order; for example, not everyone has the right to play certain instruments.

The most important musical instruments are drums. Made of clay or various types of wood, they are cylindrical, in the shape of a truncated cone (with membranes consisting of a tough, viscous cake) and have one or two heads. A performer frequently plays two drums simultaneously, one of which seemingly represents the male voice, and the other, the female voice. Ensembles of three drums are popular, their mixed resonance producing a complex polyrhythmic texture. Other percussion instruments are also widespread, including various types of rattles and little bells; of particular importance are xylophones (balaphons), of which there are several varieties. Wind instruments and stringed instruments (for example, the lute) were evidently brought in from the Arab countries. The former include the alghaita (a type of oboe), a reed transverse clarinet, and a metallic horn (about 230 cm long). Usually the wind instruments are combined with drums; a typical professional ensemble consists of an alghaita, two or three drums, and a singer accompanying himself on the lute.

Songs and dances are diverse; many are connected with specific occupations (the hunters’ dance mdomdang), rituals (ndom mbessi, bajan, and n’dassdon, dances accompanying initiation rites, and klag, a funeral dance), or holidays (amgermane, mbille, sai, basaka, and joro-joro). There is a rich repertoire of laudatory songs honoring famous events or persons. Most of the songs are characterized by the pentatonic scale, an octave range, a descending melodic line, and an antiphonal execution (soloist and chorus or a vocal exchange between two choruses).

Since the proclamation of independence, a great deal of attention has been focused on the development of music. The National Center, organized under the auspices of the university in Ndjamena, is involved in collecting and arranging folk music. In 1970 the National Dance Ensemble was established (with Ngorjo Buletit as artistic director), with which the work of many of Chad’s musicians is connected, including that of the singers Ma-galvana Betara and Zaido Kema. The ensemble has toured abroad, including the USSR (1975).


Noveishaia istoriia Afriki, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1968.
Subbotin, V. A. Kolonii Frantsii v 1870–1918 gg. Moscow, 1973.
Suret-Canal, J. Afrika Zapadnaia i Tsentral’naia. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from French.)
Encyclopedic Africaine et malgache. [Paris, 1964.]
Le Cornee, J. Histoire politique du Tchade de 1900 à 1962. Paris, 1963.
Hugot, P. Le Tchad. Paris [1965].
Boisson, J. Histoire de Tchad et de Fort-Archambault. Paris, 1966.
L’Essordu Tchad. Paris, 1969.
Gonidec, P. F. La République du Tchad. Paris, 1971. [29–4–4; updated]



a lake in Africa with no outlet, located within the natural region of the Sudan in Nigeria, Niger, the Republic of Chad, and Cameroon.

The modern lake is the relict of an ancient landlocked basin of water, which during periods of increased climatic humidity repeatedly expanded—to as much as 400,000 sq km about 5,000 or 6,000 years ago—and then shrank in size. The area of the lake varies, depending on long-term fluctuations in the level, from 10,000 to 26,000 sq km; the maximum depth varies with the area from 4 to 11 m.

Lake Chad lies within a flat basin at an elevation of 240 m; the shores are flat and primarily swampy, bounded in the north by sand dunes. The open expanses of water in the northwestern, southern, and southeastern parts of the lake are separated by shoals—ancient submerged dunes overgrown with reeds and papyrus. Numerous islands, the peaks of semisubmerged dunes, are found along the northeastern and eastern shores.

The lake receives the Chari (Shari) River from the south, the Komaduga Yobé River from the west, and several smaller rivers. The average annual fluctuation of the water level is about 1 m; the highest levels occur in December or January, when the mean flow rate of the Chari is the highest; the lowest levels occur in July. The water of Lake Chad is fresh near the river mouths and slightly salty everywhere else; the negligible mineralization is explained by the continual replacement of the water in the lake as a result of the underground drainage of infiltration waters. In rare instances, during extraordinarily high levels, there is a temporary surface flow of the lake to the northeast, through the dry arm BahrelGhazal.

Manatees, hippopotamuses, and crocodiles abound in Lake Chad. There are numerous species of aquatic and swamp birds. The lake is used for fishing, yielding an annual catch of about 100,000 tons. It is navigable between the mouths of the Chari and Komadugu Yobé rivers.


Dmitrevskii, Iu. D. Vnutrennie vody Afriki i ikh ispol’zovanie. Leningrad, 1967.
Beadle, L. C. The Inland Waters of Tropical Africa. London, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(computer science)
The piece of material removed when forming a hole or notch in a punched tape or punched card. Also known as chip.
A unit of neutron flux equal to 1 neutron per square centimeter per second.
A unit of neutron flux equal to 1012 neutrons per square centimeter per second.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Official name: Republic of Chad

Capital city: N’Djamena

Internet country code: .td

Flag description: Three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), yellow, and red; design was based on the flag of France

National anthem: “La Tchadienne” (The Chadian)

Geographical description: Central Africa, south of Libya

Total area: 496,000 sq. mi. (1,284,634 sq. km.)

Climate: Tropical in south, desert in north

Nationality: noun: Chadian(s); adjective: Chadian

Population: 9,885,661 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: Sara 27.7%, Arab 12.3%, Mayo-Kebbi 11.5%, Kanem-Bornou 9%, Ouaddai 8.7%, Hadjarai 6.7%, Tand­jile 6.5%, Gorane 6.3%, Fitri-Batha 4.7%, other 6.4%, unknown 0.3%

Languages spoken: French (official), Arabic (official), Sara (in the south), more than 120 other languages and dialects

Religions: Muslim 53.1%, Roman Catholic 20.1%, Protes­tant 14.2%, indigenous religions 7.3%, other and unknown 2.2%, none 3.1%

Legal Holidays:

All Saints' DayNov 1
Christmas DayDec 25
Easter MondayApr 25, 2011; Apr 9, 2012; Apr 1, 2013; Apr 21, 2014; Apr 6, 2015; Mar 28, 2016; Apr 17, 2017; Apr 2, 2018; Apr 22, 2019; Apr 13, 2020; Apr 5, 2021; Apr 18, 2022; Apr 10, 2023
Freedom and Democracy DayDec 1
Independence DayAug 11
Labor DayMay 1
New Year's DayJan 1
Proclamation of the RepublicNov 28
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


1. a republic in N central Africa: made a territory of French Equatorial Africa in 1910; became independent in 1960; contains much desert and the Tibesti Mountains, with Lake Chad in the west; produces chiefly cotton and livestock; suffered intermittent civil war from 1963 and prolonged drought. Official languages: Arabic; French. Religion: Muslim majority, also Christian and animist. Currency: franc. Capital: Ndjamena. Pop.: 8 854 000 (2004 est.). Area: 1 284 000 sq. km (495 750 sq. miles)
2. Lake. a lake in N central Africa: fed chiefly by the Shari River, it has no apparent outlet. Area: at fullest extent 10 000 to 26 000 sq. km (4000 to 10 000 sq. miles), varying seasonally; it has shrunk considerably in recent years
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(jargon, printer)
/chad/ (Or "selvage" /sel'v*j/ (sewing and weaving), "perf", "perfory", "snaf"). 1. The perforated edge strips on paper for sprocket feed printers, after they have been separated from the printed portion.

The term perf may also refer to the perforations themselves, rather than the chad they produce when torn.

2. (Or "chaff", "computer confetti", "keypunch droppings") The confetti-like bits punched out of punched cards or paper tape which collected in the chad box.

One of the Jargon File's correspondents believed that "chad" derived from the chadless keypunch.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


A piece of paper that is punched out on a punch card, paper tape or on the borders of continuous forms. A chadded form is when the holes are cut completely through, which is typical of punch cards. In a chadless form or in chadless paper tape, the chads are still attached to one edge of the hole.

Chads on the Floor!
In the U.S. presidential election of 2000, people were up in arms over the extra chads on the floor where several Florida counties were recounting the vote. The punched holes (chads) are supposed to fall out of the cards when they are punched. The fact that some chads were still hanging but the additional handling caused them to fall away later was perfectly natural. Why nobody informed the officials that this was normal was as ridiculous as the antiquated voting equipment.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Today St Chad has not been forgotten where he found fame.
'Like all the saints of the past, he remains an inspiring example of Christian discipleship,' said Rev Canon Barnard, who wrote the informative, attractively produced booklet, St Chad and the Lichfield Gospels, published last year for the benefit of cathedral visitors.
We still commemorate St Chad's Day with a special evensong commemorating our founders and benefactors.
'When Sir Gilbert Scott restored the cathedral in the 19th century, Chad was commemorated in the glass of the Chapter House, by the marble roundels in the Choir and, in 1897, by the restoration of the St Chad's Head Chapel by Dean Lucock.'
It was recorded that the skull of St Chad was shown to pilgrims before it vanished during the destruction wrought in the Reformation.
The Rev Jill Warren, rector of St Chad's, said: 'We are delighted to have had so many visitors to our website.
'We have just launched an appeal to carry out work on the church and on St Chad's Well.
But Ms Warren said there was a lesson to be learned from St Chad's election as Bishop of the Northumbrians.
She said: 'Chad put the common good before anything else.
'I think I know who St Chad would have voted for but I can't say who - I don't want to upset our American visitors.'