29.05.

1900: Why was the Capital of Chad Named after a Frenchman?

1900: Why was the Capital of Chad Named after a Frenchman?
Photo Credit To https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Notables_in_Fort_Lamy,_Chad.jpg

Today, the capital of Chad is called N’Djamena, but from the time it was founded to 1973 it was called Fort-Lamy.

On this day in 1900, the capital of the African Republic of Chad was founded. Today, the city is called N’Djamena, but from the time it was founded up until 1973 it was called Fort-Lamy. It was originally named after the French officer Amédée-François Lamy, who heroically died in a battle that took place only a month before the founding of Fort-Lamy. Specifically, Amédée-François Lamy, an army officer, led the French army that defeated the cruel African slave trader Rabih az-Zubayr. Rabih az-Zubayr was a very unusual ruler who based his “state”, i.e. “empire” on an army of slaves (for example, to build his palace, in the absence of water, he allegedly used blood mixed with sand).

Said battle is referred to as the Battle of Kousséri, and both Major Lamy and slave trader Rabih az-Zubayr were killed in it (Rabih’s severed head was even put on a stake). The French, therefore, founded the city named Fort-Lamy in honor of their deceased compatriot after that battle. It was not until about 73 years later that the Chadian President Tombalbaye changed the name of the city to N’Djamena (taken from the old Arab name of a nearby village). Of course, the name change was a part of the removal of the French colonial heritage (Chad territory was a French colony until 1960).

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