Chad, officially the Republic of Chad, is a country in northern Central Africa. With more than 120 languages and dialects spoken, Chad has a diverse population. With these 53 interesting facts about Chad, let’s explore more about its history, culture, people, economy, civil war, Lake Chad, hardship and hunger.

About Chadian culture, history and people

1. Chad attained its independence from France on August 11th, 1960.

2. Chad is the largest of the 16 landlocked countries in Africa. It is also the 21st largest nation in the world. The other fifteen landlocked countries in Africa are: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Botswana, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Swaziland, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Sudan (newly established).

3. The country (historically, the area surrounding Lake Chad) has been inhabited since at least 500 B.C.

4. The Chadian and Libyan conflict took place between 1978 and 1987.

5. People of Chad use Kakaki, a long metal trumpet in traditional ceremonial music. The instrument signifies power and is always played by men.

6. The Sahara Desert covers much of northern Chad and occupies roughly 1/3rd of the country’s total area.

7. Grains including milletsorghum, and rice are staple foods of Chad.

8. The country has seen long-lasting conflicts between Muslims and Christians.

9. The Tibesti Mountains are home to some of the best camel racing in the world.

Did you know?

10. The country has never been able to make it to the FIFA World Championships. However, they have had some popular soccer players.

11. For every 23,600 people in Chad, there is only one Chadian doctor available.

12. Chad has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. 1,100 mothers die per 100,000 births.

13. Chad is also known as “The Babel Tower of the World.“

14. The country was a part of France’s until 1960.

15. The design of the flag of Chad was based on the flag of France.

16. The goat and lion are the national symbols of Chad.

17. The country has also seen three decades of civil war.

Interesting facts about Lake Chad

18. The country is named after Lake Chad. Surprisingly, the lake is the largest wetland in Chad and the second largest in Africa.

19. It is also the world’s seventeenth largest lake.

20. The lake has drastically reduced in size in recent times. In the 1960s, it covered an area of 25,000 square kilometers, which has reduced to 1,350 kilometers today.

21. The lake is an important source of water for millions of people in the four neighboring countries. The lake was once the center of Africa’s lucrative salt trade.

22. The best time to visit the Lake Chad is between August and December. During this time, the water level in the lake is at its highest and visitors have a chance of sighting a crocodile or hippo.

The Ounianga Lakes in northern Chad
Interesting facts about Chad: The Ounianga Lakes in northern Chad. Image credit – David Stanley

23. The only television station in the country—Tele-Tchad—is state owned. Radio is the main source of media coverage.

24. There were more than 250,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad during 2011, as estimated by the UN.

25. Sadly, Chad is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world.

26. Crude oil has been the primary source of the country’s economy since 2003. Earlier, cotton played a significant role in bringing wealth to the nation.

27. Chad is home to some of the most important African Archaeological sites dating back earlier than 200 BC. These sites are mainly in the Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti Region.

28. America is one of Chad’s largest investors.

29. 1971 – the University of Chad was founded.

30. Bili bili (millet beer) and fruit juices are Chad’s traditional drinks.

31. Chad’s landlocked location results in high transportation costs for imported goods.

32. Majority of Chad’s fuel is supplied by one local refinery.

33.$4 billion pipeline linking Chad’s oilfields to terminals on the Atlantic coast was completed in 2003.

34. Idriss Deby is Chad’s current president. He assumed office for the first time in 1990.

35. It is common in Chad for men to have more than one wife.

36. More than two thirds of young women will have been married in Chad before they turn 18.

Chad on map with neighboring countries
Interesting facts about Chad: Chad on map

Fun facts about Chad for kids

37. The people of Chad are called Chadian.

38. Chad has ample reserves of gold and uranium.

39. The Central African Franc (XAF) is the currency of Chad. It was introduced in 1945.

40. Chad, by land area is world’s 21st largest country.

41. The country is also called “The Dead Heart of Africa” because of its closeness to the deserts.

42. In terms of area, it is the fifth largest country in Africa.

43. Islam arrived in the country in 1085. More than 200 ethnic groups reside in Chad.

44. Lakes of Ounianga are a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Chad. The Lakes of Ounianga comprises a total of 18 lakes. These lakes fentire different colors (blue, green, red) that vary due to the differences in their chemical compositions.

45. The country’s highest peak – Emi Koussi, at 3,415 meters – lies in northern Chad.

46. Zakouma National Park is Chad’s first national park and has been nominated by the Chadian government to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

47. The Nile perch, one of the largest freshwater fish, is native to Lake Chad. It can reach a maximum length of up to 2 meters and weigh up to 200 kg.

48. Albert Pahimi Padacké became the Prime Minister of Chad on February 15th, 2016.

Facts about poverty and hunger in Chad

49. About 87% of Chad’s rural population lives below the poverty line. 

50. There were more than 400,000 severely food-insecure people living in the rural regions of Chad in 2015.

51. Presently, Chad is home to at least 20,000 Nigerian refugees, 100,000 Central African Republic refugees and 360,000 Sudanese refugees.

52. Only 1/3rd of the country’s adult population is literate. 

53. UNICEF estimates that 147,000 children in Chad currently suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition.

Quick/fast facts about Chad

Capital CityN'Djamena
12°06′N 16°02′E
Largest CityN'Djamena
12°06′N 16°02′E
Total area1.284 million sq km
Population11,631,456 (July 2015 est.)
Official LanguageArabic and French
BordersNiger, Libya, the Sudan, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, and Nigeria.
CurrencyCentral African CFA franc (XAF)
ReligionIslam, Christianity and others.
Life expectancy 49.81 years(2012)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Time ZoneWAT (UTC+1)
Terrainbroad, arid plains in center, desert in north, mountains in northwest, lowlands in south
Natural resourcespetroleum, uranium, natron, kaolin, fish (Lake Chad), gold, limestone, sand and gravel, salt
Agricultural land39.6%
Birth rate36.6 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Death rate14.28 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Sex ratio0.93 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
Government typepresidential republic
Independence11 August 1960 (from France)
National symbolgoat (north), lion (south); national colors: blue, yellow, red
National anthem"La Tchadienne" (The Chadian)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$2,600 (2015 est.)
Industriesoil, cotton textiles, brewing, natron (sodium carbonate), soap, cigarettes, construction materials
Exports$4.139 billion (2015 est.)
oil, livestock, cotton, sesame, gum arabic, shea butter
Imports$3.331 billion (2015 est.)
machinery and transportation equipment, industrial goods, foodstuffs, textiles
Internet country
Internet users314,000
percent of population: 2.7% (July 2015 est.)
Calling Code+235
Drives on theRight