Last modified: 2004-12-29 by zeljko heimer
Keywords: chad | africa | pan-african | spain | france | libya | central african republic | ethiopia | uganda | sky | hope | agriculture | desert | prosperity | unity |
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by Zeljko Heimer
Flag adopted 6 November 1959, coat of arms adopted 11 August 1970.
Vertical tricolour of blue-yellow-red.
The French Navy flag book L'Album, 2000 [pay00] gives this colour approximation for the Chad flag:
blue Pantone 281c - CMYK 100-70-0-35
yellow Pantone 116c - CMYK 0-10-95-0
red Pantone 186c - CMYK 0-90-80-5
This gives blue slightly darker then that given for Romania (both are approximations made by Armand du Payrat, the editor of the Album, based on flag reported in use).
Zeljko Heimer, 29 March 2003
The blue-yellow-red colours of Chad are a combination of the blue-white-red of France, the former colonial power, and the green-yellow-red of the Pan-African (e.g., Ethiopian) ones. Cf. Central African Republic whose colors are blue-yellow-red and green.
Similarly Andorra's blue-yellow-red is a combination of the national colours of France and Spain. Accidentally, the flag is the same as the flag of Romania.
Roy Stilling, 10 October 1995
The flag of Chad was adopted by law # 59/13 on 11 June 1959 (that is more than one year before independence). Source: Vagnat & Poels, 2000 [vap00],
Smith, 1976 [smi76]
Ivan Sache, 11 April 2003
Full name: Republic of Tchad (République du Tchad).
Location: Central Africa.
Status: Independent Republic.
Chad is the fifth largest country in Africa (1,284,000 sq. km; 1,700 km from north to south; 1,000 km from east to west).
The country is located in Central Africa and bordered by Libya (north), Central African Republic (south), Sudan (east),
and Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon (west).
In 1997, the population of Chad was estimated 7,166,000 (density 5.6 per sq. km). According to the 1993 census, only one fifth of the Chadians live in urban areas, the most important cities being N'Djamena (the capital city, formerly known as Fort-Lamy, 530,000), Moundou (280,000), and Bongor (200,000). The ethnolinguistic composition of the population is very diverse. The three most important groups represent only 50% of the total population: Sara (27.7%), Sudanese Arabs (12.3%), and Mayo-Kebbi (11.5%). Muslims are slightly dominant (54%), whereas 35% of the Chadians are Christians. The official languages are French and Arabic and there is no official religion.
Ivan Sache, 11 April 2003, based on Presentation of Chad & Encyclopaedia Universalis Yearbook
A short history:
A bit longer history:
The first inhabitant of Chad whose remained have been preserved is Abel, discovered in January 1995 by the French paleontologist Michel Brunet. Abel even predates the famous Lucy, found in Ethiopia. Lucy's "father" Yves Coppens admitted that the centre of early appearance of modern humans must now be considered to be Chad. Rock paintings and engravings found in the Tibesti and the Ennedi demonstrate a more recent but still very ancient populating of the area. Chad has been for centuries a contact zone between the Arabs from Northern Africa and the inhabitants of subSaharan Africa. Therefore, the history of Chad is characterized by ethnical and religious disputes which are not solved yet. Chad was not only a crossroad of transSaharan commercial trails, but had also its own wealth, mainly salt and copper mines.
The oldest known kingdom in Chad was found in Kanem by the Sefawad dynasty in the XIth century. Around 1100, the rulers ("mai") were converted to Islam, which spread all over the area. The kingdom had a big army, a powerful administration and a flourishing economy. However, internecine quarrels and religious dissenssions undermined the Sefawad power. The Boulala, vassals of Kenam, revolted. In the XIVth century, the Sefawad fled from Kanem because of repeated attacks by Arab tribes. The Sefawad restored their power in Bornou, west of lake Chad, in the XVth century. Mai Idris (1497-1519) invaded Kanem and incorporated it to his kingdom, which stretched from Kano (now in Nigeria) to Darfour. Other kingdoms were founded in the area, namely Ouaddai (XIVth century) and Baghirmi (XVIth century), which were vassals of Kanem-Bornou. The main resource of this kingdom was slave trade with Arabia, which motivated conquest wars.
In the middle of the XIXth century, the Fulani ruler Ousman dan Fodio founded the Caliphate of Sokoto (now in Nigeria) and called for jihad. Fodio attacked the kingdom of Kanem-bornou but was repelled by Prime Minister Muhamad Amin al-Kanemi. The Prime Minister modernized the monarchy and confiscated the power, which he transmitted to his son Umar. He built a new capital city, Kouka (now in Niger). During the troubles, Ouaddai regained its autonomy and annexated Baghirmi. At the same time, the Sinussi confrery became very popular in the area. In 1860, all these rival kingdoms had fallen into decline. In 1879, Rabah, a slave merchant from Sudan, conquered Ouaddai. He ruled over the east of Chad and maintained an army of 35,000. Commerce of ivory and slaves allowed him to buy modern guns and ammunition and to found a vast empire.
In the middle of XIXth century, European explorers such as Heinrich Barth, Clapperton and Nachtigal visited central Sudan. In 1891, Monteil reached lake Chad from Senegal. France then decided to conquer Chad in order to connect its other possessions in Africa. On the pretext that Rabah was an esclvagist, France sent three missions from Algeria, Niger and Congo in order to get rid of him. The three missions joined near the lake Chad in 1899, and Rabah was defeated and killed in Kousseri in 1900. Rabah's empire disappeared but the Senussi resisted the French "pacification" until 1917. In 1900, a Decree created the "Territoire militaire des pays et protectorats du Tchad" (Military Territory of the Chad Countries and Protectorates"), which was integrated to the Oubangui-Chari colony (now the Central African Republic). In 1920, Chad became an autonomous colony ruled by a civil administration. In 1923, the border with Sudan was fixed. Six years later, the Tibesti was incorporated to Chad. In 1936, an agreement between France and Italy planned the cession of the Aozou stripe, in the north of the country, to the neighbouring Italian Libya. The agreement, however, never came into effect. France hardly developed the Chad colony. Cultivation of cotton was imposed in the south and several Chadians were forced to work for the building of the Congo-Ocean railway, which caused several revolts.
During the Second World War, the Governor of Chad was Félix Eboué (1884-1944), former Governor of Guadeloupe (1936) and first black man to have been appointed colonial Governor. In August 1940, Eboué decided to rally de Gaulle and Chad was the first colony to join the Free France ("France Libre"). Chad was an important starting point for the military operations led by Leclerc in the Libyan desert (1941-1943).
After the war, Chad elected representatives to the (French) Constituant Assemblies (1945-1946) and to the National Assembly (1946). The fight for independence was started by Gabriel Lisette, the founder of the Chadian Progressist Party in 1946, and Félix Tombalbaye. Chad gained independence on 11 August 1960.
Tombalbaye forced Lisette to exile and established an authoritarian regime, which turned into a dictatorship once the Chadian Progressive Party had became the single party. The regime violently repressed the revolt of the northern Muslims in 1963. An armed insurrection bursted out in 1965 and the Chad National Liberation Front (Frolinat) was founded in 1966, leading a vast national rebellion movement. In spite of the French help and division among the rebels, Tombalbaye could not get rid of the insurrection. In 1972, he asked for Libyan support and promised Colonel Qaddafi to cede him the Aozou stripe as a reward. Qaddafi did not help the Chadian government but occupied the Aozou stripe, where uranium and manganese had been found. In 1973, Tombalbaye tried to tighten a few screws by promoting the "chaditute".
Tombalbaye was killed during a coup in 1975 and General Félix Malloum succeded him, increasing the dictatorship. The rebels launched a new campaign in 1977 and one of their leaders, Hissene Habre, was appointed Prime Minister in 1978. However, the civil war got even stronger in 1979 and was internationalized because of the French military intervention and the Libyan mediation. A new national union government, presided by Goukouni Oueddei, Habre's historical rival, and supported by Libya, was set up in 1979. Libya intervened militarily in December 1980 and the war between Habre's and Oueddei's factions resumed. In 1982, Habre seized N'Djamena and was appointed President of the Republic. He was supported by France in his reconquest of the north of the country. France did not fight directly against Libya but ensured a military protection up to the 16th parallel. In 1987, the reconquest of the north of the country was achieved and the Libyan base of Maaten-es-Serra was destroyed.
In 1990, Idriss Deby, supported by Libya, overthrew Habre. A national reconciliation conference restored democracy and multipartism in 1993. The Aouzou stripe was definitively allocated to Chad in 1994 by the International Justice Court. In 1996, a new Constitution was passed and Deby won the presidential election. He was reelected on May 2001.
Ivan Sache, 11 April 2003, based on History of Chad
The Constitution of 16 April 1962 stated the:
"The national emblem is the tricolour flag, blue, gold and red in vertical bands."
This flag was evidently inspired by the French Tricolore flag and the pan-African colours, which were altered (blue instead of green) to avoid confusion with flags of the neighbouring countries.
Official symbolics of the colours is:
- Blue: sky, hope, agriculture and the south of the country (waters);
- Yellow: sun, north of the country (desert);
- Red: progress, unity, sacrifice.
I rencently bought an issue of the Afrique contemporaine review. That issue includes the full text of the newest (14 April 1996) constitution of Chad.
Here are the flag and coat-of-arms related parts: