Facts About Chad

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Chad is a land locked country in Central Africa. Formerly a part of the French West African territories, it is now and independent republic. It is country of tremendous natural beauty, with geographical regions ranging from hyper arid desert to well watered tropical vegetation. In recent years the country has achieved relative political stability, but is battling corruption and bureaucracy to lift itself out of the ‘Heavily Indebted Extremely Poor Nation’ status.

FACT 1: The Republic of Chad is also known as Republique de Tchad and Jumhuriyat Tshad. The shortened form of the name is Chad, Tchad or Tshad. It became independent of France in 1960. The next three decades were marked by Civil War and incessant invasions by northern neighbour, Libya. The country adopted a democratic constitution in 1996, and Presidential elections were held in the same year.

FACT 2: The elections of 1996 and 2001 were considered by independent observers to be flawed. The President Idriss Deby conducted a referendum to amend the constitutional term limits. He was re-elected in 2006, once again in a controversial election. During this period there was political unrest and sporadic rebellions. These finally petered out in 2008, and the re-election of President Deby for a fourth term in 2011 was accepted by independent observers as a fair re-election.

FACT 3: Chad is the largest of Africa’s 16 land locked countries. It is about 3 times the size of California. The country shares a border with Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Cameroon, Central African Republic and Cameroon.

FACT 4: The people are called Chadians. The population is comprised of many ethnic groups, of which the Sara has the highest representation of 27.7%, followed by Arab 12.3%. French and Arabic are the official languages. Sara is the widely spoken in the South. In addition there are numerous other languages and dialects.

FACT 5: Various religions are followed. 53.1 % of the population is Muslim and 20.1% are Catholic. 7.3% of the population still practise animism and 3.1% are atheists.

FACT 6: Between 11,000 and 5,000 years ago the Sahara desert was a thriving ecosystem of green savannah. The last remnants of this Green Sahara stand in the North East of Chad. Set in a backdrop of hyper arid desert, is Chad’s breath-taking patchwork of 18 highly coloured lakes. The Lakes of Ounianga range from freshwater to saline to hyper saline lakes.

FACT 7: The district has been declared a World Heritage Site. The lakes are fed by a unique underwater hydrological system. This system is still under study. The lakes vary in colour from shades of blue and green to reddish brown, depending on their chemical composition.

FACT 8: Lake Chad lies on the border shared with Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon. The surface area of the lake varies from season to season and from year to year. At its maximum surface area t is the largest lake in Africa. It is land locked and has no outlet. It is Chad’s primary source of fresh water. Unfortunately due to human activities the lake is shrinking and efforts are afoot to save it.

FACT 9: The capital of Chad is N’Djamena, situated close to Lake Chad. The country’s flag has 3 vertical bands, starting with blue on the hoisting side, yellow in the middle and res at the far end. These are the countries national colours. The red and blue are taken from the French flag and the yellow and orange are Pan-African colours. The blue represents the fertile well watered Southern Chad and the yellow the arid, desert of the north. Red symbolises progress, unity and sacrifice.

FACT 10: The goat and the lion are national symbols.

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