Mali (Fr. République de Mali)
- Eric Charry
(Fr. République de Mali)
Country in West Africa. It has a total area of 1.24 million km² and a population of 12·56 million (2000 estimate), 90% of whom are Muslim. An estimated several million Malians now live in neighbouring countries and Europe, especially in and around Paris. The vast extent of the landlocked country reaches from the woodland savanna of its southern borders with Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso, north along the Niger river towns of Bamako (the capital), Segou, Djenne, Mopti and Tombouctou (Timbuktu) at the Niger bend, and then almost 1000 km north into the heart of the Sahara desert, where it is bordered by Mauritania on the west and north-west, and Algeria on the east and north-east (fig.1 ).
The name Mali derives from the 13th–16th century empire that was one of the most extensive and wealthiest in Africa. A class of people known as jeli (Maninka or Malinké) or ...