The Sahel area where Chad is located has been inhabited for ages. Several tombs in the Tibesti Mountains have found remains dating back to 4900 BCE.
Among the three traditional pilgrimage and slave routes, the two pass through Chad. Before the colonial era, the warriors in the north had made the people of the south slaves. By the end of the 18th century, European missionaries had inverted the Saras in the south; they received education and joined the Europeans in the conflict with the “Norwegians”.
According to Countryaah, France invaded Chad in 1885 after the Berlin Conference, but it was the Foreign Legion that completed the conquest in 1920, and the Islamic population was subjected to violent repression.
The colonizers introduced cotton cultivation in 1930. Each farmer received a strip of land and was forced to produce a given quantity sold by the French. Self-sufficiency agriculture in the south was rescheduled under the constraint of economies of scale. The destruction of the traditional economy led to famine; one had excess cotton but a lack of basic food.
When Chad was declared independent in August 1960, leaders from the southern regions took power after negotiating with the French since 1956. The first president, Francois Tombalbaye, leader of Chad’s Progressive Party, PTT, was unable to unite the country whose borders were an expression of the colonizers’ abuses.
Chad’s National Liberation Front, FROLINAT, founded in 1966, was defeated by French forces. FROLINAT emerged as a result of social tensions and after a peasant uprising in the south facing Cotonfran, a French company that had a monopoly on cotton exports. FROLINAT had its primary political base among the people of the north.
In 1970, FROLINAT controlled 2/3 of the country and in 1972 the siege of the capital began. Tombalbaye died in 1975 in connection with a coup d’état, inspired by the French, who led General Felix Malloum to power. The resistance movement’s offensive continued and France tried to exploit the faction of the movement, which at that time was composed of more than 10 groups.
France provided assistance to Hisséne Habré against FROLINAT President Goukouni Oueddei, who in return received assistance from Libya’s Muamar-al-Khaddafi. Habré led the Armed Northern Forces, FAN, and Oueddei led the People’s Army, FAP.
- AllCityPopulation: Find Chad demographics including latest population, life expectancy, age structure, and urbanization.
In 1977, Paris sent 3,000 soldiers and fighter planes to Chad. The French government stated that the French forces in Chad would remain neutral compared to the two rival armed groups in FROLINAT. At the same time, Malloum’s government appointed Habré as prime minister.
The 11 largest groups jointly formed in 1979 a transitional government, GUNT. Habré was appointed Minister of Defense, but it was not a solution that hampered France, which sought to defend both the strategic interests of the Mahgreb and partly because of the deposits of uranium and oil that had been found during the 1960s. In March 1980, Habré resigned, broke out of the alliance, and embarked on a civil war that consolidated his position of power in the South.
GUNT split into three groups. In May 1980, Oueddei, who led the FAP, requested Libya for help and sent 2,000 soldiers.
After Habré’s forces had bombed N’Djamena, about 100,000 fled to other countries. Following the failed negotiations led by the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Libyan forces reached the capital in October 1980. In December, Habré fled to Cameroon.