This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book introduces Chad's physical environment, which has suffered tremendous transformation and degradation as a result of agricultural production and other human activities. It examines the historical factors that are partly responsible for the present situation: the characteristics of the precolonial state and stateless societies; the nature of French conquest and pacification, including the consequences of the inconsistent colonial policies in the North and the South. The book focuses on the evolution of Chadian politics in the postcolonial period. It highlights the changes that led to a single-party state under southern president Francois Tombalbaye's leadership and the roots of the present conflict in Chad. The book reviews Chad's relations with the rest of the world and assesses the behavior of its leaders in their search for military and economic assistance.