2,000 years ago, several state formations
began to take shape around the Niger River. The
northwestern part of today's Mali was from the 6th
century in Ghana. During the 13th century, the kingdom
of Mali emerged in the districts surrounding Bamako. The
Mali kingdom operated caravan trading across the Sahara
and Islam gradually became the dominant religion. In
1545 the capital of the kingdom was conquered by the
Kingdom of Songhai. During the second half of the 19th
century, French colonizers began to push east from the
coast. The French gradually defeated the local rulers.
The first known traces of human settlements in the
area of today's Mali date from the Stone Age. There
are remains of hunter cultures that are about 12,000
years old. More permanent settlements were built around
8,000 years ago.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Mali, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
During the African Iron Age, which began in the first
century of our era, several state formations began to
take shape around the Niger River. Northwestern part of
today's Mali was from the 600s in the mighty Ghanaian
kingdom which was raised by the Soninke people and had
its heyday between the 700s and 1000s.
During the 13th century, the even more powerful
kingdom of Mali emerged in the tracts surrounding the
country's present capital Bamako in the southwest. The
core of the Mali kingdom was the Malinque people, who
now live in several West African countries. In the
1300s, the empire reached its greatest extent, from the
Atlantic coast in the west to present-day Nigeria in the
east. To the north, the kingdom extended deep into the
Sahara Desert. Mali conducted caravan trading across the
Sahara, including the Muslim kingdoms in North Africa.
Islam gradually became the dominant religion among the
rulers and traders in the Mali kingdom.
Mali began to weaken in the early 15th century and in
1545 the capital was conquered by Songhai, a Muslim
royal dynasty with its center in the city of Gao in the
eastern part of present-day Mali. Songhai became bigger
and more powerful than the Mali kingdom. A military
fleet guarded the Niger River. The administration was
expanded and large areas of land were cultivated.
Timbuktu became a religious and cultural center with
In 1591, Muslim forces from the Morocco area invaded.
It was the beginning to the end of the great kingdoms of
West Africa. A long period of dissolution and disorder
followed. Caravan traffic through the desert was lost in
importance and Mali ended up in the backwater as the
traders searched for the coasts. At the same time, Islam
gained increased influence in the region through wars
between Muslims and non-Muslim African people.
During the second half of the 19th century, French
colonizers began to penetrate east from Senegal on the
west coast of Africa. The French gradually defeated the
local rulers of Mali and at the turn of the century,
French Sudan, as the French called the area, came to be
incorporated into the colony of French West Africa. By
tax collection, the population was forced into money
management. The peasants were ordered to grow peanuts,
rubber and cotton for export.
In 1946, a political party was formed in Bamako that
turned against French colonial politics. Among the
founders was Modibo Ke´ta, who would become Free Mali's
first president. In 1958, French Sudan became an
autonomous republic within the French Commonwealth. The
following year it merged with Senegal in the Mali
federation, but only two months after independence in
1960, the federation was dissolved in two independent
Mali celebrates the 50th anniversary of the country's independence from
Mauritania and France jointly carry out an operation into Mali to try to free
a Frenchman taken hostage by Aqim. The effort fails, and a day later, the
Islamist group announces that the Frenchman has been executed for revenge.
Appeal against Aqim
Military from Mali and Mauritania jointly strike a camp in western Mali,
where the Islamist group has long been active. The military uses, among other
things, attack aircraft against the terrorist stronghold, and then states that
the camp has been knocked out and control of the area has been regained. The
number of dead and wounded is unknown.
The United States participates in military exercise
The United States conducts "Operation Flintlock" together with Mali, Burkina
Faso, Mauritania and Senegal. The purpose is to work together to eliminate the
threat posed by militant Islamists in the area.