Chad History Timeline

Chad History

Chad is a landlocked state in Central Africa. The country borders Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west. The northern part of Chad is located in the Sahara Desert.

According to Homosociety, Chad is divided into three major geographical regions: a desert zone in the north, a dry Sahel belt in the middle and a more fertile savannah in the south. The country is named after Lake Chad, which is the largest wetland in Chad and the second largest in Africa. Chad’s highest mountain is Emi Koussi, an inactive volcano in Tibesti, with its 3,414 meters above sea level is the highest point in Chad and in the Sahara, and the largest city is the capital N’Djamena. Chad is inhabited by over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups. The official languages ​​are French and Arabic and Islam is the most widespread religion in the country.

In the beginning of the seventh millennium BC. moved large groups of people into the Chad sinking. At the end of the first millennium BC. came and fell a number of states and empires in Chad’s Sahel belt, all of which focused on control of the trans – Saharan trade routes that passed through the region.

Some of the most important archeological sites in Africa are found in Chad, primarily in the Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti region. Some of the sites are from before 2000 BC. The Chadian decline has for over 2000 years been an agricultural community with permanent settlements. The area became a meeting place for various civilizations, the first of which was the legendary Sao, known through artefacts and oral traditions. The Saois were an African civilization that lived near the Chari River south of Lake Chad in the territory that later became part of Cameroon and Chad.

In recent years, the Darfur conflict has spread across the border from Sudan and destabilized the country. Ethnically motivated violence has increased in eastern Chad in recent years, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has expressed concern that a genocide like the one in Darfur could break out in Chad.

There are many active political parties in Chad, but power is in the hands of President Déby and his Mouvement patriotique du Salut party. Chad continues to be plagued by politically motivated violence and constant attempts at coups. It is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in Africa. Most Chadians live in poverty and run farms and livestock for their own use. The traditional cotton industry was the country’s main source of export earnings until 2003, when crude oil took over.


700 – 1376 – Kanem Kingdom was a pre-colonial African empire consisting approximately of present-day Chad and Libya. At the height of its power, it consisted of an area that not only covered most of Chad, but also parts of southern Libya and eastern Niger. The history of the Kanem kingdom from the 1200s onwards is mainly known from the Girgam Chronicle which was rediscovered in 1851 by the German explorer Heinrich Barth (16 February 1821 – 25 November 1865), who was a German explorer and African scientist. He participated in 1849-1855 in a British expedition through the Sahara to western Sudan and as the only surviving leader he reached back to Tripoli in 1855. The trip had stretched over 20,000 km and provided increased knowledge about the Sahara, Sudan and the upper reaches of the Benue River. In 1858 Barth published “Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa”.

1891 – France invades Chad, and the expansion of French colonial power leads to the formation of the Territoire Militaire des Pays et Protectorates du Chad in 1900.

1920 – France gains complete control of the territory that became the colony. The French government in Chad was characterized by a policy which was absent in relation to the unification of the area, and by slow modernization.

1929 – France introduces large-scale cotton production. The colonial administration in Chad was critically understaffed, and had to rely on the use of less attractive workers from the French state administration. The French presence was minimal in the northern and eastern part of the colony, only in the south was an effective government exercised, a neglect which affected the education system.

1960 – Under François Tombalbaye, Chad becomes independent, but his policies arouse discontent in the Muslim north of the country, culminating in the outbreak of a long-running civil war in 1965.

1975 – Tombalaye is overthrown and killed, but the uprising continues.

1979 – Rebels conquer the capital, ending southern hegemony. The rebel leaders, however, came into conflict until Hissène Habré defeated his rivals.

1987 – Armed groups, many from the north of the country, fight for power. The dissolution of Chad’s government led to the collapse of France’s position in the country. Libya invaded Chad to fill the vacuum of power that had arisen and became involved in the civil war. The invasion ended catastrophically for Libya when French-backed President Hissène Habré, with a united Chad in the back, drove the Libyan army out of Chad. Habré consolidated his dictatorship through a system of power based on corruption and violence, and an estimated 40,000 people were killed under his rule. The president favored his own ethnic group, the Dazas, and discriminated against the Zaghawans, who were his former allies.

1987 – Chad has only 30 km of paved roads. Subsequent projects have, however, improved the road network so that it covered 550 km in 2004. However, the road network still has limitations and the roads remain unusable for several months a year. Because the country does not have its own railway network to the sea, Chad is highly dependent on Cameroon’s railway to the Atlantic Ocean, for the export and import of goods to and from the port of Douala. N’Djamena has an international airport with direct routes to Paris and several African cities.

1990 – Hissène Habré is overthrown by her general Idriss Déby. Déby tried to reconcile rebel groups, and reintroduced the multi-party system.

1996 – The people approve a new constitution in a referendum, and the same year Déby easily won a presidential election with several candidates. Five years later, he was re-elected for a new term of five years.

1999 – However, Franco-Chadian relations deteriorate when the allocation of drilling rights for oil is granted to the American company Exxon.

2003 – Chad begins oil extraction with the hope that the country will finally be able to achieve peace and prosperity. Instead, increased internal antagonisms led to the outbreak of a new civil war. ExxonMobil is the leader of a consortium that also includes Chevron and Petronas, which has invested $ 3.7 billion in the extraction of presumably one billion barrels of oil in the south of the country.

2005 – Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2005 identifies Chad as the world’s most corrupt country.

2005 – Human rights organizations and opposition parties support a boycott of the referendum, which gave Déby the right to stand for re-election for a third term, an election in progress, while irregularities in voting and government-led censorship of independent media were reported. Correspondents regarded the 2006 presidential election as a mere formality, as the opposition viewed the election as a farce and boycotted it.

2006 – Déby is re-elected for a third term in an election that is boycotted by the opposition.

2006 – Rebels tried to capture the capital, and again in 2008, but failed both times.

2006 – July 14. The World Bank and Chad signed a declaration committing the Chadian government to earmark 70% of its spending on poverty reduction programs.

2007 – the country had, according to Transparency International’s corruption index, a score of 1.8 on a scale from one to ten (where ten is least corrupt). Only Tonga, Uzbekistan, Haiti, Iraq, Myanmar and Somalia had a lower score. Critics of President Déby have accused him of discriminating against and favoring people of the same ethnic background.

Chad History