back to Map of Africa

Chad is a landlocked country holding a vast lake. In the North, Chad reaches to the Sahara Desert; it the South almost to the the equator. Eastward and Westward, it is a thousand miles to an ocean. Chad lies in the heart of Africa. Geologists consider that in 5000 BC Lake Chad covered 30% of the country and was as large as the Caspian Sea, the largest inland body of water in our world today.1

Much of Chad is a very flat land, apart from a mountainous regions in the extreme North and East. A mountain lake may be deep with a small surface area.

The flag and Coat of Arms of Chad is featured above. The flag combines an ancient African heritage and a recent French heritage in a present statement of independence. The vertical tricolor is patterned after the French flag while the colors are traditional pan-African colors.

Chad is desert. Lying in the heart of that portion of Africa that is above the equator, a thousand kilometers from the sea, it is dry.

Lake Chad waters 4 countries a one time vast inland lake without outlet. The Chad Basin is vast, occupying 8% of the land area of the entire continent,2 and includes almost all of the country Chad, most of Niger and parts of five other countries. 3 At it’s lowest point is Lake Chad providing water for four countries.4 It is said that the lake shrunk in size 95% from the 1960s to the 1990s, but has recovered significantly since then.5The lake is shallow,6 and, therefore, one can imagine its expanse varies rapidly with inflowing water or its evaporation. The name Chad means “large expanse of water”.7

A crossroads of civilizations8 Chad has been termed in describing the flow of civilizations for millenia prior to the European arrival in the 19th century AD.

Colonial Era …

France established a protectorate over Chad in 1900.9 By 1920, colonial status for Chad was established and incorporated as part of French Equatorial Africa.10

French Equatorial Africa …

Chad was combined with regions that today are known as the Central African Republic, Gabon, Cameroon and the Republic of the Congo, to form what was then known as French Equatorial Africa. Today there are 5 countries coming from the conglomerate; then there were four territories that were combined:  French Gabon, French Congo, Oubangui-Chari and French Chad. French Cameroon was joined following WW1.

France generally viewed Chad as an unimportant colony and, consequent;y, little effort was expended to either administrate it or modernize it, to develop its educational system, or to develop its resources.11

Independence …

Independence was granted to Chad August 11, 1960.12  Sara François Tombalbaye served as its first president. Two years into his rule he banished opposition parties and ruled autocratically. Civil way began in 1965 led by Muslims in the North. In 1975 Tombalbaye was killed. In 1979 the capital was seized by rebels led by French and United States supported Hissène Habré and essentially all administrative functions of government ceased.

Habre consolidated power through corruption and violence and thousands are considered to have died under his rule.13 He was overthrown by his general Idriss Déby who worked at reconciling the competing factions and continues to rule in Chad to the present.

14 15 16

back to Map of Africa


  1. as measured by surface area, not by depth or volume
  2. Chad Basin, wikipedia
  3. Parts of these countries are located in the Chad Basin: Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Suda, Cameroon, Algeria and Central African Republic, Chad Basin, wikipedia
  4. Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria, Lake Chad, wikipedia
  5. Lake Chad, wikipedia
  6. 10.5 meters in this article, but that would vary seasonally, Lake Chad, wikipedia
  7. Lake Chad, wikipedia
  8. Chad, wikipedia
  9. Chad, wikipedia
  10. Chad, wikipedia
  11. Chad, wikipedia
  12. Chad, wikipedia
  13. “Habré was a remarkably able man with a brilliant sense of how to play the outside world,” a former senior U.S. official said. “He was also a bloodthirsty tyrant and torturer. It is fair to say we knew who and what he was and chose to turn a blind eye.” Douglas Farah (27 November 2000). “Chad’s Torture Victims Pursue Habre in Court”The Washington Post. Retrieved 3 July 2012. quoted in wikipedia article on Hissene Habre, wikipedia
  14. Grove, A. Thomas and Jones, . Douglas Henry. “Chad.” Encyclopedia Britannica, May 3, 2021.
  15. Boddy-Evans, Alistair. “A Very Short History of Chad.” ThoughtCo. (accessed August 29, 2021).
  16. What you need to know about the Lake Chad Basin