Mali History and Politics

Mali History

Prehistory and early history

Where the state of Mali lies today, people lived as early as the Stone Age. Until about 2000 BC BC the area that is now desert was much more humid and provided a good habitat for farming. From 5000 BC Most of the hunters and gatherers settled down and practiced agriculture. In the “Cattle Age” (4000-2000 BC) nomads wandered around with their herds of cattle. As the climate got drier, people moved south. Camels gained in importance because they can cope well with drought.

Trans-Saharan Trade

Between West Africa and the Mediterranean there has been a lively trade (trans-Saharan trade) since ancient times and then increasingly in the Middle Ages, which also led through the area of ​​today’s Mali. Slaves and salt were brought to the Mediterranean, horses, fabrics and weapons were given in return. From the 8th century, Islam spread to West Africa.

The great empires: Mali, Songhai and Bambara

There were three great empires on the territory of today’s Mali in the Middle Ages. The Ghana Empire is the oldest of the West African empires. It existed between the 4th and 11th centuries. But it only protruded into Mali in the south and east.

The Mali Empire was at the height of its power in the 13th century. It consisted of a large part of today’s national territory and was named after the old empire. You can see it on the map. The gold trade brought great wealth to the Mali Empire.

The Songhai Empire grew in importance in the same area in the mid-15th century. It went down at the end of the 16th century when Moroccans invaded. The empire fell apart.

In the 17th century a new empire was established by the Bambara people. Its capital was Ségou. Muslims of the Tukulor people (who resided in what is now Mauritania and Senegal) conquered the Bambara Empire in 1861. The residents were forced to convert to Islam. The Tukulor maintained the supremacy until the start of Kolonia lherrschaft.

Colonization: French Sudan

From 1880, France brought more and more regions in what is now Mali under its control. In 1890 the colony was called French Sudan. Several years passed before it was completely conquered.

The borders of the colonies were changed several times by the colonial rulers. That is why Mali and its neighboring countries still have strangely straight borders that seem quite unnatural – as if drawn with a ruler. They are not naturally created boundaries. French Sudan was part of the amalgamation of the French colonies in West Africa under the name of French West Africa.

Independence: 1960

In 1958 Mali became an autonomous republic and in 1960 it became fully independent, like many other African states during this period. Initially, the country and Senegal became independent as the Mali Federation, but the alliance broke up after just a few weeks.

On September 22, 1960, the former colony of French Sudan declared its independence under the name of the Republic of Mali. Modibo Keïta became the country’s first president and remained in office until 1968.

The way to democracy

Modibo Keïta was overthrown in a military coup in 1968. Moussa Traoré became the new president and remained in office until 1991. He established a police state. Opponents of his policies have been arrested and tortured. In 1991 he too was overthrown.

The leader of the coup, Amadou Toumani Touré, led the country towards democracy. Free elections took place in 1992. Alpha Oumar Konaré became president.

In 2002 he was replaced by Touré, who remained President of Mali until 2012. The country was politically stable during this period.

Revolt of the Tuareg rebels

In January 2012, the Tuareg rebels broke out in northern Mali, a country located in Africa according to ezinereligion. The Tuareg rebels took the region in northeast Mali, which includes Timbuktu and Gao. On April 6, 2012, they declared the independence of Azawad State.

“Operation Serval” began in January 2013: soldiers from France drove the Islamists out of all major cities in the region.

2012 military coup

Touré was overthrown in a military coup in March 2012. He was accused of not acting tough enough against the Tuareg rebels (see below). The coup was condemned internationally. Many people fled to neighboring countries.

Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta

In 2013, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was elected as the new President of Mali in new elections.

2020 military coup

In 2020 there was another coup. On August 19, the military took power and Keïta resigned. The National Committee for the Salvation of the People was established and took power under the leadership of Assimi Goita.

Mali History