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Thursday, 10 March 2016

Mali

HISTORY

The Mali Empire, controlled what is today the nations of Mali, Niger, Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea, and The Gambia. It reached the height of power in the 14th century. Under the Mali Empire, the ancient cities of Djenné and Timbuktu were both centers of trade.

The city of Timbuktu was considered a center of education and Islamic learning and included the famous Sankore University.

The Empire of Mali was formed around 1235 AD  when a ruler named Sundiata Keita united the tribes of the Malinke peoples.

Mansa Musa I, the ruler of the Malian Empire was known as the "king of kings," During his reign from 1307-1332, he doubled the land area of Mali and it became a larger kingdom than any in Europe at the time.

Depiction of Mansa Musa from a 1375 Catalan Atlas of the known world (mapamundi), drawn by Abraham Cresques

During his rule Mansa Musa amassed a fortune of $370bn (£260bn) today, Some historians estimate that Mansa Musa may have been the wealthiest person in history. The king's outlandish wealth came from the Malian Empire's vast reserves of salt and gold, which serviced as much as half the world at the time. Dazzling African mosques built by Mansa Musa I still stand today.

In 1465 the Songhai Empire took control of Mali. It reached its peak under a ruler named Askia Mohammad I and its main city,

The Battle of Tondibi took place in Mali on March 13, 1591. The Moroccan forces of the Saadi Dynasty led by Judar Pasha defeated the Songhai Empire, despite being outnumbered by at least five to one.

The Mali Empire came to an end in 1610 with the death of the last Mansa, Mahmud IV.


Scottish explorer Alexander Gordon Laing became the first European to reach Timbuktu by crossing the Sahara from north to south in 1826. He was murdered just days before he planned to start his journey home.

In 1880, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan.

The Sudanese Republic was renamed Mali after the withdrawal of Senegal from the Mali Federation on September 22, 1960.


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.

FUN MALI FACTS

Mali is the world's 24th-largest country. It has 478,734 square miles (1,240,000 km² ) of land. It has a similar size to South Africa, and it is two times bigger than Texas.

Mali lies in the torrid zone and is among the hottest countries in the world. The thermal equator, which matches the hottest spots year-round on the planet based on the mean daily annual temperature, crosses the country.

It is one of the poorest countries in the world. 65% of Mali's land area is desert or something similar. Most economic activity is near the Niger River.

About 10% of the people are nomads and 80% of workers have jobs in farming and fishing. Cotton is the country's largest crop export and is exported west throughout Senegal and Ivory Coast.

Cotton processing at CMDT.By Olivier Epron - CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia Commons

Mali has two tax rates, 3% and 30%. People registering at the tax office are asked which they’d rather pay.

Most Malians wear flowing, colorful robes called boubous that are typical of West Africa.

Islam was introduced to West Africa in the 11th century and remains the predominant religion in much of the region. An estimated 90 percent of Malians are Muslim (mostly Sunni and Ahmadiyya, approximately 5 percent are Christian (about two-thirds Roman Catholic and one-third Protestant) and the remaining 5 percent adhere to indigenous or traditional animist beliefs.

After the 2012 imposition of sharia rule in northern parts of the country, Mali came to be listed in the Top 10 of the Christian persecution index published by Open Doors, which described the persecution in the north as severe.

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