LAND: 495,752 square miles of landlocked territory in central Africa extending from borders of the equatorial forest in the south to the Sahara are Libya, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Sudan.

PEOPLE: Overlapping ethnic and religious differences among the 4.4 million inhabitants, but roughly split into Sudanic Moslems in the northern stretches and Negroid animists and Christians in the south. French is the official language, but Chadian Arabic is recognized in the schools and numerous tribal languages also are spoken.

ECONOMY: Chad is severely underdeveloped, almost exclusively based on agriculture. Cotton farming and processing and livestock raising are the main activities. There are reports of uranium deposits in the north but the area has not been explored enough to ascertain the worth of mineral resources.

HISTORY: Part of French Equatorial Africa from 1910 and a French colony until independence in 1960. Strife between north and south continued almost without letup until a provisional government was agreed on at Lagos last year. This government, which was composed of all the country's warring political factions quickly disintegrated, however, in disputes between two of its members President Goukouni Oueddei and Defense Minister Hissene Habre. The civil war continues, and thousands of Chadians have taken refuge in neighboring Cameroon.