Chad is a landlocked country in Central Africa with many regions. Lake Chad, which the country is named for, is the largest wetland in the country, which also has a desert zone, an arid belt and a fertile savanna zone. Chad is bordered by Nigeria, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Libya, and Niger and it is the 5th largest country by size in Africa.
Chad has over 200 ethnic and linguistic groups.The people of Chad are usually classified according to their geographic region. The Sara live in the south and represent the largest ethnic group. In the Sahel, sedentary people live with nomadic ones like the Arabs, who are the second largest ethnic group. Nomads, particularly the Toubous, live in the north.
The largest ethnic groups, based on the 1993 census, were: Sara (28%), Arab (12%), Mayo-Kebbi (11%), Kanem-Bornou (9%), Ouaddai (9%), Hadjarai (7%), Tandjile (7%), Daza (6%) and Fitri-Batha (5%).
Chad Religion, Economy and Politics
The country of Chad is pretty divided in terms of religion with 51.8% practicing Islam, 43.8% practicing some form of Christianity, and the remaining 4.4% being atheist, agnostic, or practicing something else. Within the Muslim community, 58% are Sunni, 11% are Shia, 4% Ahmadi, and 23% are nondenominational. Of the Christians, 54% are Protestant and 46% are Catholic.
Chad is one of the most corrupt and poorest countries on earth and most of its people are impoverished and live as herders and farmers. The Fund for Peace considers Chad a failed state. Polygamy is very common in Chad with 39% of women in such a union. It is also sanctioned by law. Violence against women is common in Chad, as is female genital mutilation. Despite being prohibited, more than 45% of women undergo the procedure, which is more common among certain ethnic groups like the Arabs. The life expectancy in Chad is just 47 years old.
Chad Population History
The land of present-day Chad was conquered by Rabih al-Zubayr from Sudan in the late 1800s, but his reign was short-lived and the French took control of the area in 1913. Chad fought with the French during World War II, but after the war, the country began to experience some civil unrest and several political parties began to form, which eventually ousted the president and rendered the central government completely ineffective in the early 1980s, but they settled into democracy by the 90s. In the early 2000s, Chad experienced a sudden rush of immigration from Sudan due to the fighting in Darfur.