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From French possession to independence

In 1960, Chad became independent from France, with the exception of the northern part, which remained under French military control until 1964. From independence to the present day, the country has experienced political turmoil as a result of alternating governments and conflicting political-military movements. A constant factor are the contradictions and conflicting relationships between the Arab, cattle-breeding Muslim population in the poor, desert north and the Christian-animist farmers in the relatively prosperous south.

The history of Chad over the past forty years can be roughly divided into four periods based on the reigns of successive presidents. Who came to power was not so much the result of internal political differences as of foreign influence: the decisive factor was which party acquired the military and financial support of Libya on the one hand and France on the other.

Period Tombalbaye

From 1960 to 1975, François Tombalbaye, leader of the Parti Progressiste Tchadien (PPT), was president. He came from the South. In 1962, he banned all political parties except the PPT, which met with great resistance from politically influential people in the North. Throughout his reign, he had to contend with military op- erations and opposition in the North of the country. In 1965, a real rebellion broke out against him. The political party FROLINAT (Front de Libération Nationale du Tchad), founded in the North in 1966, with its military branch FAN (Forces Armes du Nord) under Hissène Habré, was an important party in this struggle. In 1968, France intervened on the side of the government, while Libya actively supported FAN. Tensions between Chad and Libya ran high when Libya annexed the so-called Aozou strip in the north in 1973. In 1975, President Tombalbaye was killed in a coup.


The period 1975-1982 with first Malloum (from the North) and then Kamougue (from the South) as president is known as the bloodiest in Chad's history. Military groups with changing coalitions (Habré sometimes together with Malloum against the Libyans and then separately from Malloum supported by the Libyans) and changing preferences with France constantly fought each other.

From 1982 to 1990 Hissène Habré was in power. A national reconciliation attempt with southerners on key issues could not prevent the outbreak of new riots. Especially the North, where Libya still laid claim to the Aozou strip and continued to support rebel military-political groups, was plagued by violence.

Habré was succeeded in 1990 by Idriss Déby, a member of the influential Zaghawa tribe of the north and former commander-in-chief of Habr é's military unit. Since then, his Mouvement Patriotique du Salut (MPS) has dominated Chadian politics. Upon taking office in 1990, Déby announced a number of reforms, including the introduction of a multi-party system. The first presidential elections in Chad, in 1996, were won by Déby, as were those of 2001. Even under Déby, the situation in Chad remains unsettled.

21th century

In 2004, many refugees from Darfur come to Chad and Chadian troops clash with pro-Sudanese forces. In May 2006, Déby is again declared president after an earlier constitutional amendment allowed him to run in the elections again. In August 2007, the opposition agreed to postpone parliamentary elections until 2009. In January 2008, the EU agrees to a peacekeeping operation to protect Darfur refugees in Chad. Unrest continues in 2008 between Sudan and Chad. In January 2009, eight rebel groups form an alliance under Timan Erdimi.

In February 2010, President Deby and al-Bashir of Sudan meet for the first time in six years. They wanted to normalise relations between their countries. In April 2010, the border between the two countries was opened. In April 2011, Idriss Deby won the presidential election. In 2012, Deby tried to form alliances with neighbouring countries to fight Boko Haram Islamists. In July 2013, former leader Hissene Habre was arrested in Senegal. His trial began in July 2015 and in May 2016 he was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court supported by the African Union. In February 2017, President Deby announced that the elections that were supposed to take place this year would be postponed due to lack of funds. In September 2017, Amnesty International accused the government of brutal and harsh treatment of its critics. President Déby is killed in April 2021 during an operation to repel a rebel advance on the capital. General Mahamat Déby will hold the presidency until the next elections in late 2022.


Elmar Landeninformatie

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated June 2024
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