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Area: 1.28 million sq km
Population: 11.2 million
Languages: French, Arabic
Religions: Islam, Christian
GNI per capita: US$530
Currency: 1 CFA (Communaute Finance Africaine) franc = 100 c
Chad, part of France's African holdings until 1960, endured three decades of civil warfare as well as invasions by Libya before a semblance of peace was finally restored in 1990.
Chad's post-independence history has been marked by instability and violence stemming mostly from tension between the mainly Arab-Muslim north and the predominantly Christian and animist south. 
Most of Chad is a large basin bordered by mountains and highlands in the north, east, and south. A vast inland sea once filled this depression, of which Lake Chad is a unique remnant.
The country has three primary climatic regions. In the arid north, vegetation is limited to scattered oases; the tropical south is characterized by woodlands and grasslands; the semi-arid middle region is comprised of drier grasslands and sparse vegetation. The dry season typically runs from November to May, while the rainy season lasts from June to October.
A largely semi-desert country, Chad is rich in gold and uranium and stands to benefit from its recently-acquired status as an oil-exporting state. Unfortunately, years of drought, famine, and war have led to an isolated economy and a weak infrastructure. Despite the country’s large size, only one-third of the land is suitable for agriculture. With an economy based primarily on subsistence farming and raising livestock, Chad is heavily dependent on foreign aid.