Poorly studied ancient settlements have been found in what is now Chad. The kingdoms of Kanem-Bornu, Baguirmi, and Ouaddai rose and fell in the region. The slave trade was active in the area. Arab slavers drove captives north to markets in North Africa, After the Portuguese began establishing trading posts along the Atlantic coast (15th century), Arab slasvers began supplying the Atlantic slave trade as well. The French as part of the Scranble for Africa penetrated the area. The local Muslim leaders resisted French control leading to battles with the French Foreign Legion. The region became a French governorship (1905). The French established French Equatorial Africa (FEA) was established which included four territories (Chad, Gabon, Oubangui Chari and French Congo) as well as the Cameroon mandate (1910). There was still resistance from Muslimn forces in Chad for some time. Chad became a colony after World War I (1920). French forces in the FEA and Chad in particular was an early supporter of the Free French movenment during World War II. When the FEA was disolved after World War II (1950), Chad became a member of the French Community. The country achieved full independence (1960). Fighting broke out between the Muslim north and east against the Chritian southern-led government (1965). The French attempted to negotiate in an effot to avoid the conflict, but without success. A military coup was staged to create a government that could end the fighting (1975). There were some transient governmental compromises. Fighting broe out agasin (1980). The Government asked Libya to help negotiae a peace which it did, but fighting broke out again (1982). Fighting conontinued until a settlement was reached (1988). Instability, however continued, General Idriss Deby ousted the ruling government, with the idea of instituting a multiparty democracy. Deby won elections (1996). The intermitent civil war as impeded the country's ability to address the country's develomental needs.
Archaeologists have only recently begun to work on the pre-history of the West Africa and the Sahael in particular. The Sahael is today clearly defined as the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition between the Sahara desert in the North and the more watered Sudanian Savannas in the south. These zones have varied over time as a result of climate change, affecting the history of the area.
Chad is one of several potential sites for the development of humankind. Archeologists ghave discovered a seven-million-year-old human-like skull, now known as the Toumaï ('Hope of life') skull. Modern Chad possesses some of the richest archaeological sites in the Sahel/Sahara. It is not known with any certainty why this is. It perhaps reflects the limited study of the region by archeologists, although longistic studies suggest this may habe been an especially imotant area. And even much late Chad was in the middle of a broad expanse of land, stretching from the Atlatic to the Red Sea. that was well watered and condusive to hyman settlement. And similar conditions extended east of the Red Sea to the Indus River.
Early humans appeared to have reached West Africa (around 12,000 BC). At the time, the Sahara was not a baren desert, but a vast savannah. Archaeologists have found microlithic tool industriess. Microliths are small stone tool, commonly made of flint or chert which were materials relatively easy to work.
Cave paintings before the development of the Shara depict large game animals (elephants, rhinoceroses, giraffes, and cattle) in the Tibesti and Borkou regions. Recent linguistic research suggests that African languages south of the Sahara Desert (except Khoisan) originated in prehistoric times in a narrow band between Lake Chad and the Nile Valley. The origins of Chad's peoples, however, remain unclear. Linguistic evidence is suggestive , but far from conlusive. Archeology in the Sagra/Sahel is still t an early phase and extremist Islamic ctivity is making in a potentially dangerous place to work.
Several archaeological sites have been identified, but not studied or only partially studied Archeplogists believe that other potentially valuable sites have not yet been mapped.
Rock art associated with the 'Round Head' style has been found in the Ennedi region (before the 7th seventh millennium B.C.). The tools used for rock carving and the images depicted may be the oldest Neolithic industries yet discovered in the Sahara. Archeologists believe that the pottery and other Neolithic activities in Ennedi pre-date similar ctivities in the Nile Valley.
The population was not at the time concentrated in the Nile. Before the formation of the Sahara, the areas of modern Chad and other Sahran/Sahelian states enjoyed adequate precipitation and ground water.
The archeological work is still tenative and the dates only rough estmates.
The area was a vast savannah where pastoral tribes tended herds and used chiseled stone blades and spears. People lived and farmed around the shores of lakes in the north central basin of the Sahara.
The tribesmen of Guinea and the forested regions of the coast were without microliths for thousands of years, suggesting a more primitive culture. They utilized bone tools. Anatomically modern humans reached West Africa (about 5,000 BC). Sedentary farming began to replace simple hunter-gatering. There is evidence of domesticated cattle and limited agriculture focusing on cereal crops. Important changes began to occur with more sophisticated tools appearing such as fish hooks and harpoons (about 3000 BC). Desertification becomes increasing pronounced and the Sahara Desert appeared. It is at this time that ancient Egypt rises in the east as people displaced by desertification migrated toward the Nile, a perpetual source of water. There was nothing like the Nile in the west. An important migration of Sahelian hearders and farmers encountered the gatherers of the Guinea region including what is now southeastern Mali. Flint for tool making was more available and this mnade the use of microliths in hunting much easier. This migration occurred as at time of widespreas desertification and almost certainly was aesult of the desertification and appearance of the Sahara. One result was the isolation of West Africa from the cultural and technological developments in Europe and the African Mediterranean coast. European peoples migrated into and populated what is now North Africa--The Magreb. This is the origins of the Berber people.
Iron age technology reached the area (about 1300 BC). Iron required advanced metalurgy, but had the advantage that it was a very common element. This meant that the
smelting and forging of iron tools and weapons was possible. This led to both improved weapns and tools. Iron farming implements allowed farmers to expand agricultural harvests resulting in surplus crops. This made possible the development of urban populations, first city states and eventualy impressive expansive empires. Similar developments occurred to the north, but the Sahara had meant that these developments occurred largely in isolation. The Sub-Saharan Africans and the Europeans/North Africans eventually came in contact during ancient times. This is not well documented, but the contact appears to be brought about by Phoencian traders sailing south out of the Mediterranean. This is not documnted. We do know that contact was made with Carthage. There was also a trans-Saharan trade in gold with the Sahara Berbers. [Herodotus] Such trade was limited until the camel was introduced. Chad's geographic position astride major trans-Saharan trade routes has had a makor impact ion its historical development. Trade routes crossed the Sahara in Chad both north and south and eat and west. Trade across the Sahara would have been limited had it not been for the Cammel, The dromedary, or one-humped camels, is native to the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. They were introduced to the Sahara as part of trade caravans from the Arabian Peninsula (about 200 AD). Unlike the horses it replaced, the camel was perfectly suited to the harsh Sahara climate. Its soft feet also allowed it to easily move over sand. The camels of course did not carry the slaves, but the caravans with whih they moved could not have crossed the Sahara wthout the camels. As a result, Mediterranean goods have been found in burial pits as far south as northern Nigeria. West Africans exported gold, cotton cloth, metal ornaments, and leather goods north across the trans-Saharan trade routes, in exchange for copper, horses, salt, textiles, and beads. Eventually ivory, slaves, and kola nuts were added to the trade. Poorly studied ancient settlements have been found in what is now Chad. The kingdoms of Kanem-Bornu, Baguirmi, and Ouaddai rose and fell in the region.
The indigenous Sao people who lived along the Chari river during the first millennia CE were absorbed by the Kamen-Bornu and Baguirmi kingdoms (which stretched from Lake Chad deep into the Sahara) and the region became a crossroads for the trans-Saharan trade routes. Following the collapse of the central kingdoms, the region became something of a backwater -- ruled by local tribes and regularly raided by Arab slavers.
Chad was to the east of the great empires of the western Sahel (Ghana, Mali, and Songhai) but trade from the west reached what is now Chad, crossing the Sahara and Sahel west to west. The gradual consolidations of small chiefdoms led to the evolution of a series of kingdoms and empires in central Chad. This began at the end of the first melrnium (about 900 AD). Small states began to form across central Chad, primrily in the sahelian area between the arid desert of the north and the better watered savanna of the south. For the next 1,000 years, these many states and the tribes of the 'stateless' people on the periphery dominated the p;olitical life of what is now Chad. The study of this period is just beginning, but these seems to states organized by native Africans ahnd not Arabic-speaking people from the north which some authors had suggested. Most of these states began as small kingdoms in the pre-Islamic period. The king was commonly considered a demi-god with both temporal and spiritual powers. These concepts changed as Islam became more established. Because of the intense competion, these states had to be milataristic to survive. All the states of any importance were thus militaristic. These kingdoms and empires were founded on the wealth generated by raids, payment of tribute, and control of trade routes. There were communities living throughout Chad, although sparse in the Saharan north. Chad's known history is, however primarily that of the Muslim people of central Chad. There were limits on expansion posed by geography which is why they were primarily concentrated in central Chad. To the north was the forboding Sahara. To the south were forests and the tsetse fly. Both complicated the use of cavalry which was important for military operations. While they could not expand north nd south, they did control the vital trans-Saharan trade routes that passed through the region formed. This was thesingle mopst important source of wealth and thus power. the economic basis of these kingdoms. Arabic-speaking people, including mrchants, did clearly played a role in these early states, introducing Islam among other maters. The most important were Kanem-Borno, Bagirmi, and Wadai. Europens beginning with the Portuguese aooeared off the coast of West Africa (mid-15th century). They were followed by other Europeans. They for the most part did not move inland. This was especially the case woth Chad. It would be the French who would colonize Chad, but this did not begin until the late-19th century.
The slave trade was active in the area. Arab slavers drove captives north to markets in North Africa, After the Portuguese began establishing trading posts along the Atlantic coast (15th century), Arab slasvers began supplying the Atlantic slave trade as well.
The French as part of the Scranble for Africa penetrated the area. The local Muslim leaders resisted French control leading to battles with the French Foreign Legion. The French declared the area pacified (1911). It took a few more years to occupied the north (1914). The French initially placed control of the region under a governor-general in Brazzaville (Congo) (1905). Soon after, the French decided to create a federationto the larger federation --French Equatorial Africa (Afrique Équatoriale Française--FEA) (1910). This included four territories (Chad, Gabon, Oubangui Chari and French Congo) as well as the Cameroon mandate. There was still resistance from Muslimn forces in Chad for some time. Chad became a separate colony after World War I (1920). French forces in the FEA and Chad in particular were an early suppoter of the Gen. DeGulle's Free French Movenment during World War II. When the FEA was disolved after World War II (1959), Chad became a member of the French Community.
The country achieved full independence (1960). Fighting broke out between the Muslim north and east against the Chritian southern-led government (1965). The French attempted to negoiate in an effot to avoid the conflict, but without success. A military coup was staged to create a government that could end the fighting (1975). There were some transient governmental compromises. Fighting broke out agasin (1980). The Government asked Libya to help negotiate a peace which it did, but fighting broke out again (1982). Fighting conontinued until a settlenent was reached (1988). Instability, however continued, General Idriss Deby ousted the ruling government, with the idea of instituting a multiparty democracy. Deby won elections (1996). The intermitent civil war as impeded the country's ability to address the country's develomental needs.
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Cloth and textiles] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Topics]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing national pages:
[Return to the Main Chad page]
[Return to the Main African country history page]
[Algeria] [Angola] [Burkina Faso] [Cameroon] [Central African Republic] [Congo] [Ethiopia] [Gabon] [Ivory Coast] [Kenya] [Lesotho] [Libya]
[Mali] [Niger] [Nigeria] [Somalia] [South Africa] [Sudan] [Uganda] [Zimbanwe]