On this day August 11, 1960

French colonial expansion led to the creation of the Territoire Militaire des Pays et Protectorats du Tchad in 1900. By defeating and killing Rabih az-Zubayr on April 22, 1900, at the Battle of Kousséri, France removed a major obstacle to its colonisation of Chad. French rule in Chad was characterised by an absence of policies to unify the territory and sluggish modernisation.

By 1920, France had secured full control of the colony and incorporated it as part of French Equatorial Africa. The French primarily viewed the colony as an unimportant source of untrained labour and raw cotton; France introduced large-scale cotton production in 1929.

The colonial administration in Chad was critically understaffed and had to rely on the dregs of the French civil service. Only the south was governed effectively; French presence in the north and east was nominal. The educational system suffered from this neglect.

After World War II, France granted Chad the status of overseas territory and its inhabitants the right to elect representatives to the French National Assembly and a Chadian assembly. The largest political party was the Chadian Progressive Party (PPT), based in the southern half of the colony. Chad was granted independence on August 11, 1960 with the PPT’s leader, François Tombalbaye, as its first president.

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