N’Djaména, Chad

Reference work entry


Formerly Fort–Lamy, N’Djaména is the capital of Chad and the Chari–Baguirmi Prefecture. It is located on an alluvial plain on the Chari River near its confluence with the Logone River on the southwestern border next to Cameroon. The plain is flooded during the rainy season, July to Sept. It is the cultural, economic and administrative centre of Chad. The majority of the country’s population live in N’Djaména and most of them are Muslim.


Fort-Lamy was established in 1900 by French forces on the site of the battle of Kousseri. The battle saw the defeat of the Sudanese warrior Rabih az-Zubayr, who had occupied lands east of Lake Chad. The name Fort-Lamy was chosen in recognition of a French colonial officer who died in the fighting.

The Kotoko settlement remained largely unchanged until Chad won independence in 1960. In 1973 it was re-named N’Djaména and from 1980–81 it was occupied by Libyan troops.

Modern City

Following a long period of civil war life is slowly returning to normal and N’Djaména is gaining its reputation as a friendly city. It lies at the centre of areas where cotton is grown, cattle raised and fish caught. An important market site, it has a refrigerated slaughterhouse with meat packing a major industry. There are also light–industry factories dealing in cigarettes, soap and beer. Roads are poor but paved and gravel–surfaced roads link the capital with Nigeria, The Sudan, the Central African Republic, Guélendeng, Sahr and Cameroon. Buses run to Sahr, the southern capital. There is no railway so the international airport at N’Djaména is vitally important. Cars may be hired. The University of Chad was established in 1971 and the National School of Administration in 1963. The National Institute of Human Sciences (1961) is affiliated to the National Museum (1963).

Places of Interest

The National Museum has collections of palaeontology and ethnography. The Great Mosque, built between 1974 and 1978 is the main focus in the city and serves the Muslim population. The cathedral was built by the French in colonial times. The historic quarter’s daily market is a good place to buy Chadian rugs and jewellery.

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© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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