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The Republic of Chad is located in North-Central Africa. It is a country that is similar in size to the state of Alaska. It is bordered by land on all sides; surrounding it are Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Libya, Niger, Nigeria and the Sudan. Its northern portion has a desert that extends to join the Sahara, and Lake Chad graces the country’s western border. Lake Chad has the impressive distinction of being the largest wetland area in the country, as well one of the largest in all of Africa.
At its beginning, Chad was a wet, sunny, fruitful land that was filled with varied wildlife, but over many years, war, internal conflict, and neglectful foreign influence served to ravage the country. At one time, it suffered as a French colony, dealing with the weight of taxes, quotas, and a decided lack of educational opportunities in the North. In more recent years, it has enjoyed a more peaceful existence, but it has never been far from conflict. Guerilla raids and armed clashes are still common in some regions. An independent country since 1960, Chad’s armed clashes often involve its own government and rebel forces.
There are three primary regions in Chad. Besides the desert in the northern section of the country, there is a Sahelian belt that is centrally located in the country and a southern savanna region. The country’s land areas span more than 495,752 square miles (1,284,000 square kilometers). Its largest city is also its capital, N'Djamena.
Chad is home to many different ethnic and language groups. In fact, these different groups are said to number in the 200s. The country has two official languages: Arabic and French. There are more than 9,000,000 people who call this African country home.
Most of Chad’s citizens, about 44 percent, are Muslims. Christianity follows next in line, coming in at about 33 percent of the population. Other citizens practice tribal religions.
Often the country is called the “Dead Heart of Africa” because of its dry, desert climate. However, it does have a wet season that extends from June until September. Most people agree that it is best to travel to Chad in other months, as many of its undeveloped roads become difficult to travel on during the wet months. From March until May, Chad’s temperatures can be quite high, averaging about 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius). However, the country sees dry, warm weather from December through most of February, as well as cool night temperatures during this time.