A virtual guide to Chad, a landlocked country in northern Central Africa, bordered by Cameroon in the south-west, by the Central African Republic in the south, by Libya in the north, by Niger in the west, by North Sudan in the east and it has a border with Nigeria across Lake Chad.
Chad occupies an area of 1,284,000 km², making it slightly larger than 2.5 times the size of Spain, or slightly more than three times the size of California. The landscape of the country varies, extensive arid plains in the Sahelian belt in the centre, a desert zone in the north, mountains in the northwest, lowlands in the fertile Sudanian Savanna zone in the south.
Chad has a population of 11.3 million people (2009 census). The capital and largest city are N'Djamena, spoken languages are French and Arabic (both official), over 120 languages and dialects in use by 200 distinct groups, Chadian Arabic is lingua franca.
Chad, part of France's African holdings until 1960, endured three decades of civil warfare, as well as invasions by Libya before a semblance of peace, was finally restored in 1990. The government eventually suppressed or came to terms with most political-military groups, settled a territorial dispute with Libya on terms favourable to Chad, drafted a democratic constitution, and held multiparty presidential elections in 1996 and 1997.
In 1998, a new rebellion broke out in northern Chad, which sporadically flares up despite two peace agreements signed in 2002 and 2003 between the government and the rebels. Despite movement toward democratic reform, power remains in the hands of an ethnic minority.
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Repúblique du Tchad
Short form: Chad
ISO Country Code: td
Local Time = UTC +1h
Country Calling Code: +235
Capital City: N'Djamena (pop. 1 million est.)
Other Cities: Sarh, Moundou, Abéché, Faya-Largeau, Doba.
Independence: 11 August 1960 (from France).
Location: Northcentral Africa, south of Libya
Area: 1,284,000 km² (496,000 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Chad has three distinct zones. In the South, a tropical zone with wooded savannas and large equatorial forest. The Center is dominated by the Sahel zone with steppes, thorn bushes and baobab trees; in the North, the Saharan desert zone.
Climate: The Northern desert is very dry throughout the year; the central plain is hot and dry, with a brief rainy season from mid-June to mid-Sept.; southern lowlands are warm and more humid with seasonal rains from late May to early October.