Chad is a land-locked country in north central Africa measuring 1,284,000 square kilometers (496,000 sq. mi.), roughly three times the size of Texas. Chad is in central Africa, south of Libya. Chad has 5,968 km of border against Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Niger, Nigeria, and Sudan. Chad has four climactic zones: it has broad, arid plains in center, desert in north, dry mountains in northwest, and tropical lowlands in south. Only 3% of Chad is arable land and none of it has permanent crops. Environmental hazards in Chad include hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds occur in north, periodic droughts, and locust plagues. Lake Chad, which is in Chad and Cameroon, was once the second-largest lake in Africa but has shrunk dramatically during the last few decades and is now down to less than 10% of its former size.
From the 11th to the 15th century, the state of Kanem was the dominant force in the region, occupying much of the area that makes up present-day Chad. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the state of Borno, which had its center on the other side of Lake Chad (in present-day Nigeria), exercised a major influence. A gradual process of Islamization took place in the region from this time, especially during the 16th and 17th centuries during the kingdoms of the Bagirmi and Ouaddai. The slave trade was a key component of their economies and as this declined from the early 19th century onwards, so did the kingdoms. In the 1880s, riven by internecine feuding, they were conquered by the Sudanese warlord Rabih al-Zubair. The Europeans arrived a few decades later, in the latter stages of their carve-up of the African continent.
Chad was first defined as a national territory in 1910, as one of the four making up French Equatorial Africa. Chad achieved independence in 1960 with François Tombalbaye, leader of the Parti Progressiste Tchadien (PPT), as Prime Minister. Its history since then has been characterized by political instability and tensions, largely due to religious and cultural divisions between the Muslim north and Christian/animist south – a pattern that may be found in many other African countries, including Nigeria and Sudan.
Idriss Déby. Since 1990, Déby has managed to stabilize the political situation to some extent and install a working democratic constitution. Déby himself was elected to the presidency by a comfortable majority in 1996. That result was repeated, despite some complaints over irregularities, at the most recent poll in May 2001. Déby’s political vehicle, the Mouvement Patriotique du Salut (MPS), controls the National Assembly, with a sizeable opposition party in the form of the Union pour le Renouveau et la Démocratie (URD) led by Wadal Abdelkader Kamougue. The main extra-parliamentary opposition is the Mouvement pour la Démocratie and la Justice au Tchad (MDJT), led by Déby’s ex-Defence Minister, Youssouf Toigimi, which launched an armed rebellion in the northern Tibesti region in October 1998, although its potency has diminished following serious injuries to Toigimi suffered in August 2002.
Chad is an ethnically diverse West African country. Each of its regions boasts its own unique varieties of music and dance. The Fulani people, for example, use single-reeded flutes, while the ancient griot tradition uses five-string kinde and various kinds of horns, and the Tibesti region uses lutes and fiddles. Waza are a musical ensemble consisting of long royal trumpets, used in coronations and other upper-class ceremonies throughout both chad and Sudan; similar ensembles are known as malakat in Ethiopia and kakaki in Nigeria, Niger and Burkina Faso .
The national anthem of Chad is "La Tchadienne," written in 1960 by Paul Villard and Louis Gidrol with help from Gidrol's student group.
Following independence, Chad, like most other African countries, quickly began producing some popular music, primarily in a style similar to the soukous music of the Democratic Republic of the Congo . Styles of Chadian popular music include sai, which used rhythms from the southern part of Chad .This style was popularized by a group called Tibesti. Other bands include the Sahel's International Challal and African Melody, while musicians include the Sudanese-music-influenced guitarist Ahmed Pecos and Chadian-French musician Cl?©ment Masdongar The Teda live in the area around the Tibesti Mountains. Their folk music revolves around men's string instruments and women's vocal music. String instruments like the keleli are used to "speak for" male performers, since it is considered inappropriate for a man to sing in front of an adult woman.
Traditional Chadian instruments include the hu hu (string instrument with calabash loudspeakers), kakaki (a tin horn, maracas, lute, kinde (a bow harp) and various kinds of horns . Other instruments include the flute and drums music of the Kanembu and the balaphone, whistle, harp and kodjo drums of the Sara people, while the Baguirmians are known for drum and zither music, as well as a folk dance in which a mock battle is conducted between dancers wielding large pestles.