It used to be a French colony, governed in a completely unorganized way; since the zone was seen only as a source of slaves and cotton, it was almost ignored by the administration and, save for the south, had to content itself with the dregs of other regions under French control.
The country went independent in 1960, but has been in an eternal wave of civil wars since then. The deplorable French mandate, plus all the ethnic groups fighting for power, resulted in continuing disputes amongst themselves: each time one of the groups manages to hold control of the capital (and, de facto, the country), the other groups start another civil war to try to topple the actual group in power. Just to spice things up, once in a while external groups decide to join the civil wars, like France in The '80s, Libya (which ended in a complete disaster for Gaddafi, since the government got the support of almost all the warring factions to expel the Libyans from their country) and, more recently, the war in Darfur has spilled over to the eastern region, causing an influx of Sudanese immigrants.
As a consequence of the things previously mentioned, Chad is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world. Despite being an economic and social basketcase, it still managed to beat Libya in a nearly decade-long war.
Lake Chad, a vital source of water for the region not only of Chad, but also its neighbors Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger, is known for its many size fluctuations throughout history. Unfortunately, between 1963 to 1998, it had been shrinking at an alarmingly fast rate (as you can see on the map, nowadays the water is only present in Chad and Cameroon). It has been declared an ecological catastrophe by the FAO, since its not only worsening the drought that seems to threaten the region, but also putting in danger the flora and fauna of the place. However, according to satellite images taken in 2007, the lake's regular period of nadir seems to have ended and it is slowly growing in size again.
The country doesnt receive much publicity and not many people are aware of the critical conditions going on in it; neighboring countries like Sudan or Libya tend to focus all the international attention. In fact, one of the only western mentions of the country is in a throwaway gag in Cats & Dogs. As for the video games, the situation is only marginally better, as Chad appears several times in the Delta Force series (as a campaign in 1, 2 and Xtreme). The country itself has a slow film industry as a result of the war and the lack of cinemas (turns out theres only one). Some Chadian films, however, managed to reach the western audience - for example, Daratt.
Compare the depressingly large number of impoverished, failing African nations, such as Somalia and Niger. Compare/Contrast the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is essentially the same scenario in a resource-rich country.
Chad in Fiction
- Professional Wrestler Jaka, known for his work in CHIKARA, is billed from Chad. In contrast to past "African" wrestlers such as "The Madman From The Sudan" Abdullah The Butchernote and Kamala The Ugandan Giantnote , he's actually talkative.
The Chadian flag