Kate Monk's Onomastikon

(Dictionary of Names)


Capital : Ndjamena

Size: 496 000 sq m Popn: 5 961 000


This area was called Kanem by the Arab settlers of the C7th to C13th and was later known as Bornu. The modern name is taken from Lake Chad which lies on the western border. It was most powerful under Muslim rule in the C16th and C17th. During the C19th, it was conquered by the Sudan and slave trade was the basis for the whole economy . This was ended in the 1880s by the French who were welcomed by the Southern tribes but the Senussi Empire was hostile and although Chad was a province of French Equatorial Africa from 1913 it was not proclaimed a colony until 1916 although even then the northern tribes were never entirely pacified.

In 1957, Gabriel Lisette's party won the elections but he was distrusted on account of his West Indian birth and was forced to surrender power to his friend François Tombalbaye who became President at independence in 1960. In response to the Libyan-supported rebel party, FROLINAT (the Chadian National Liberation Front) he instituted his own brand of cultural revolution and was killed in Gen. Felix Malloum's coup of 1975. French pressure gave former FROLINAT chief Hisséne Habré the Prime Ministership and in 1979 civil war sent Malloum into exile. Goukouni Oueddei overcame Acyl Ahmat to lead FROLINAT and became President with Habré as Defence Minister. Civil war between their supporters forced Habré to leave the country to continue his fight from Sudan.

Despite the presence of a peace-keeping force from 1981, Oueddei was defeated and left for Libya. The Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi (Khadhafi, Quadafi) sent troops to Chad on his behalf in the early 1980s and the conflict became more a Libya-Chad war than a factional one. With French support, Chad's army under Hassan Djammous was victorious in 1987 but Libyan aircraft continued to fly over Chad, border disputes still raged and Gadaffi's recognition of Habré's government was only to plan a trade for Libyan P.O.W.s in Chad. In 1989, a ceasefire was proposed by the Organiztion for African Unity and agreed between France, Chad and Libya and Habré and Gadaffi met in 1989. Habré was endorsed as president for another seven year term in December 1989 but was overthrown and reported killed by rebel forces in December 1990. The rebel leader Idriss Deby became president and although there were several coup attempts during 1991-2, they were put down with French support. Two new opposition parties were approved in 1992.

The people are Arabs and Tuareg in the North and Sara tribes in the South. French is the official language but Arabic is common in the North and there are many African tongues.

Chadian Names


Acyl Brahim Goukhouni Goukouni Haroun Hissein
Hisséne Idriss Mahamoud Ngarta    




Abdoulaye Ahmat Ardoum Deby Djammous Habre
Kabadi Malloum Nadjima Nahor Nandjina Oueddai
Terap Tombalbaye Yorassem      

This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.

Copies may be made for personal use only.

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