Portal:Mali

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Mali (/ˈmɑːli/ (About this soundlisten); French pronunciation: ​[mali]), officially the Republic of Mali (French: République du Mali), is a landlocked country in West Africa. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi). The population of Mali is 19.1 million. 67% of its population was estimated to be under the age of 25 in 2017. Its capital is Bamako. The sovereign state of Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara Desert, while the country's southern part, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Senegal rivers. The country's economy centers on agriculture and mining. Some of Mali's prominent natural resources include gold, being the third largest producer of gold in the African continent, and salt.

Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire (for which Ghana is named), the Mali Empire (for which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire. During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy, literature, and art. At its peak in 1300, the Mali Empire covered an area about twice the size of modern-day France and stretched to the west coast of Africa. In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan. French Sudan (then known as the Sudanese Republic) joined with Senegal in 1959, achieving independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation. Shortly thereafter, following Senegal's withdrawal from the federation, the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali. After a long period of one-party rule, a coup in 1991 led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state.

In January 2012, an armed conflict broke out in northern Mali, in which Tuareg rebels took control of a territory in the north, and in April declared the secession of a new state, Azawad. The conflict was complicated by a military coup that took place in March and later fighting between Tuareg and other rebel factions. In response to territorial gains, the French military launched Opération Serval in January 2013. A month later, Malian and French forces recaptured most of the north. Presidential elections were held on 28 July 2013, with a second-round run-off held on 11 August, and legislative elections were held on 24 November and 15 December 2013.

Selected article

Mosque Bamako.jpg

Bamakó, population 1,690,471 (2006), is the capital and largest city of Mali, and currently estimated to be the fastest growing city in Africa (6th fastest in the world). It is located on the Niger River, near the rapids that divide the Upper and Middle Niger Valleys, in the southwestern part of the country. Bamako is the nation's administrative center, with a river port located in nearby Koulikoro, and a major regional trade and conference center. Bamako is the 7th largest West African urban center after Lagos, Abidjan, Kano, Ibadan, Dakar and Accra. Manufactures include textiles, processed meat and metal goods. There is commercial fishing on the Niger River. Bamako is located at 12°39′N 8°0′W / 12.650°N 8.000°W / 12.650; -8.000. The name Bamako comes from the Bambara word meaning "crocodile's back".

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Bamako
Credit: Robin Taylor
A view of Bamako, Mali, with the Presidential Palace in the background

Selected biography

Sundiata Keita (Mandinka, Malinke, Bambara: [sʊndʒæta keɪta]) (c. 1217 – c. 1255) was a puissant prince and founder of the Mali Empire. The famous Malian ruler Mansa Musa, who made a pilgrimage to Mecca, was his great-nephew.

Written sources augment the Mande oral histories, with the Moroccan traveller Muhammad ibn Battúta (1304–1368) and the Tunisian historian Abu Zayd 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Muhammad ibn Khaldun al-Hadrami (1332–1406) both having travelled to Mali in the century after Sundiata’s death, and providing independent verification of his existence. The semi-historical but legendary Epic of Sundiata by the Malinké/Maninka people centers on his life. The epic poem is primarily known through oral tradition, transmitted by generations of Maninka griots (djeli or jeliw).

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