Mali, officially the Republic of Mali, is a landlocked country in West Africa, a region geologically identified with the West African Craton. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometres. The population of Mali is 18 million. Its capital is Bamako. 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 fishing. Some of Mali’s prominent natural resources include gold, being the third largest producer of gold in the African continent, and salt. About half the population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day. A majority of the population are Muslims. Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire, and the Songhai Empire. During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy, literature, and art.
Top Beautiful Places in Mali
Bamako is the capital and largest city of Mali, with a population of 1.8 million. In 2006, it was estimated to be the fastest growing city in Africa and sixth-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. The city proper is a cercle in its own right. Bamako’s river port is located in nearby Koulikoro, along with a major regional trade and conference center. Bamako is the seventh-largest West African urban center after Lagos, Abidjan, Kano, Ibadan, Dakar, and Accra. Locally manufactured goods include textiles, processed meat, and metal goods. Commercial fishing occurs on the Niger River. The name Bamako comes from the Bambara word meaning “crocodile tail”.
Timbuktu, also spelled as Tinbuktu, Timbuctoo and Timbuktoo, is an ancient city in Mali, situated 20 km north of the Niger River. The town is the capital of the Timbuktu Region, one of the eight administrative regions of Mali. It had a population of 54,453 in the 2009 census. Starting out as a seasonal settlement, Timbuktu became a permanent settlement early in the 12th century. After a shift in trading routes, Timbuktu flourished from the trade in salt, gold, ivory and slaves. It became part of the Mali Empire early in the 14th century. In the first half of the 15th century the Tuareg tribes took control of the city for a short period until the expanding Songhai Empire absorbed the city in 1468. A Moroccan army defeated the Songhai in 1591, and made Timbuktu, rather than Gao, their capital. The invaders established a new ruling class, the Arma, who after 1612 became virtually independent of Morocco. However, the golden age of the city, during which it was a major learning and cultural centre of the Mali empire, was over and it entered a long period of decline.
Djenné is a town and an urban commune in the Inland Niger Delta region of central Mali. The town is the administrative centre of the Djenné Cercle, one of the eight subdivisions of the Mopti Region. The commune includes ten of the surrounding villages and in 2009 had a population of 32,944. The history of Djenné is closely linked with that of Timbuktu. Between the 15th and 17th centuries much of the trans-Saharan trade in goods such as salt, gold and slaves that moved in and out of Timbuktu passed through Djenné. Both towns became centres of Islamic scholarship. Djenné’s prosperity depended on this trade and when the Portuguese established trading posts on the African coast, the importance of the trans-Saharan trade and thus of Djenné declined. The town is famous for its distinctive adobe architecture, most notably the Great Mosque which was built in 1907 on the site of an earlier mosque. To the south of the town is Djenné-Djeno, the site of one of the oldest known towns in sub-Saharan Africa. Djenné together with Djenné-Djeno were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.
The Boucle du Baoulé National Park lies in western Mali, in Kayes Region and Koulikoro Region, set up in 1982. It has an area of 25,330 km² but has little large wildlife. The park is known for its prehistoric rock art and tombs. It is part of the UNESCO “Bouce Du Baoule Biosphere Reserve”, along with Badinko Faunal Reserve to the southwest, Fina Faunal Reserve to the south, and Kongossambougou Faunal Reserve to the northeast
Bandiagara is a small town and urban commune in the Mopti Region of Mali. The name translates roughly to “large eating bowl”—referring to the communal bowl meals are served in. Bandiagara is 65 km east-southeast of Mopti. A seasonal river, the Yamé, flows in a northeasterly direction through the town. The population includes a number of different ethnic groups including Dogons, Fulani and Bambaras.