northernmost and largest préfecture of Chad, with an area of 231,795 square miles (600,350 square km). Its capital is Faya (formerly Largeau). The terrain is primarily arid desert with a sparse population of nomadic and seminomadic Arab, Amazigh (Berber) (Berber), and Teda peoples.

      The region was historically important as a crossroads in the trans-Saharan trade between West Africa and Cyrenaica (Libya); the hajj route from West Africa to Mecca in Saudi Arabia also passed through it. In the early 1900s it came under French control when the resistance of the Sanūsī brotherhood (Sanūsīyah) was somewhat subdued. The French considered the region ungovernable, and, following Chad's independence in 1960, BET remained under French military administration. The French finally withdrew from the area in January 1965, and the region was incorporated into the Chad republic. BET's nomadic groups resented the excessive and rather corrupt actions of the Chadian administration and military, and clashes soon erupted. Later that year, the death of a Chadian soldier in the village of Bardai prompted the army to carry out brutal reprisals against civilians, which fueled a rebellion against the government. Pop. (2000 est.) 101,800.

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Universalium. 2010.

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