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Mali (/ˈmɑːli/ (About this soundlisten); French pronunciation: ​[mali]), officially the Republic of Mali (French: République du 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 (480,000 sq mi). The population of Mali is 18 million. Its capital is Bamako. The sovereign state of 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 mining. Some of Mali's prominent natural resources include gold, being the third largest producer of gold in the African continent, and salt.

Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire (for which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire. During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy, literature, and art. At its peak in 1300, the Mali Empire covered an area about twice the size of modern-day France and stretched to the west coast of Africa. In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan. French Sudan (then known as the Sudanese Republic) joined with Senegal in 1959, achieving independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation. Shortly thereafter, following Senegal's withdrawal from the federation, the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali. 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.

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In the news

23 March 2019 – Northern Mali conflict
March 2019 attacks against Fulani herders
At least 134 Fulani herdsmen are killed in an attack on the villages of Ogossagou and Welingara by gunmen in Mali. (Reuters)
25 February 2019 – 2019 Piper PA-46 Malibu crash
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch of the United Kingdom issues an interim report revealing the pilot, David Ibbotson, held only a private pilots licence and could not transport paying passengers within the European Union. Ibbotson and Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala both died in the accident. Cardiff City FC announce "grave concerns" over Ibbotson's licence. (BBC)
9 February 2019 – 2019 Piper PA-46 Malibu crash
The family of pilot David Ibbotson launch a GoFundMe campaign to locate and recover his body, raising thousands of pounds within hours. Footballer Emiliano Sala's body was recently found in the wreckage and recovered two weeks after the plane first went missing. (BBC)



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