Mopti is a town and an urban commune in the Inner Niger Delta region of Mali. The town is the capital of the Mopti Region. Situated 460 km northeast of Bamako, the town lies at the confluence of the Niger and the Bani Rivers and is linked by an elevated causeway to the town of Sévaré; the urban commune, which includes both Mopti and Sévaré, had a population of 114,296 in the 2009 census. Mopti lies on the right bank of the Bani River, a few hundred meters upstream of the confluence of the Bani with the Niger River. Between August and December when the rivers flood the Inner Niger Delta, the town becomes a series of islands connected by raised causeways. During this period the only road access to the town is along a 12 km causeway that links Mopti to Sévaré. Mopti lies to the west of the Dogon Plateau and is 66 km northwest of Bandiagara and 76 km north-northeast of Djenné; the town is the administrative center of the Mopti Cercle. The urban commune of Mopti includes the towns of both Mopti and Sévaré.
The commune is surrounded by the rural commune of Socoura. At the time of the 2009 census the population of the Mopti commune was 114,296. For administrative purposes the commune is subdivided into 11 quartiers: Komoguel I, Komoguel II, Toguel, Bougoufié, Mossinkoré, Taïkiri, Médina Coura, Sévaré I, Sévaré II, Sévaré III; the seat of the commune, the Hôtel de Ville de Mopti, is in Komoguel I. The town of Mopti derives its name from the Fulfulde word for gathering; the name replaced the earlier Bozo name of Sagan. Unlike towns such as Djenné, Timbuktu and Gao, Mopti was a village until the French conquest at the end of the 19th century and did not play an important role in the history of the region. In April 1828 the French explorer, René Caillié, stopped at Mopti on his journey by boat from Djenné to Timbuktu. In his account he described the village, which he called Isaca, as having 700-800 inhabitants with the houses constructed of sun-dried mud bricks; the inhabitants herded livestock and fished with cotton nets.
Large quantities of the dried fish were traded in other markets. The women made a "beautiful kind of pottery" which they sold in Djenné and to boats heading for Timbuktu. Two centuries the cultivation of rice is still important to the local economy, dried fish are exported over a large part of West Africa and pottery is still shipped from the port. At the time of Caillié's visit the village was part of the Massina Empire, controlled by Seku Amadu from his base at Hamdullahi, 21 km to the southeast. In 1862 Umar Tall captured Hamdullahi and for a short period the village became part of the Toucouleur Empire. In 1893 French forces under Louis Archinard occupied the region which became part of the French Sudan. At the time of the French conquest Mopti consisted of several separate settlements on small areas of higher ground that remained above the water during the annual flood. French soldiers exploring the Niger on gunboats described Mopti as consisting of a pair villages on the bank of the river 2 km apart with a third village inland.
According to the French colonial army officer, Capitaine Lucien Marc, in 1902 Mopti was a "miserable village" with a few huts. Between 1905 and 1912 the French colonial forces constructed a 12 km dyke connecting Mopti with Sévaré to allow access to the town by road when the Niger was in flood; the village expanded in the first decade of the 20th century, by the 1930s the commercial area on the river and the Komoguel district had been developed. The French colonial administration initiated the rebuilding of the great mosque in 1933, basing the design on that of the Great Mosque of Djenné. Due to the limited land available, Mopti became more densely built than most Malian cities with many multi-story buildings and narrow streets; the islands were much smaller than they are today. In 2002, Mopti was one of several Malian cities to host the Cup of African Nations tournament. A large, modern stadium was constructed for this event. During the 2012 Northern Mali Conflict, when Islamists took over most of Northern Mali, Mopti was one of the most northerly towns that remained under government control.
Amadou Toumani Touré, a former president of Mali, is a native of Mopti. The Great Mosque is an example of Sudano-Sahelian architecture; the present building was constructed on the site of an earlier mosque dating from 1908 but sources differ on the exact date. The web site of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention gives a period of between 1933 and 1935 while the Aga Khan Development Network gives the later period of between 1936 and 1943; the design was based on that of the Great Mosque of Djenné and is constructed using sun-dried mud bricks which are covered with a layer of banco. In restoration work carried out in 1978, the upper parts of the building were covered with a layer of cement but this proved to be problematic as rain water penetrated the cement layer and created large fissures in the underlying mud structure. In the restoration carried out between 2004 and 2006 funded by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, the cement layer was removed and the building restored to its original form; the mosque was added to the UNESCO Tentative List of World Heritage Sites in March 2009.
Mopti is Mali's most important port. Fishing and agriculture (particularly rice production
The Bambara are a Mandé ethnic group native to much of West Africa southern Mali, Burkina Faso and Senegal. Today they make up the largest Mandé ethnic group in Mali, with 80% of the population speaking the Bambara language, regardless of ethnicity. According to the Encyclopedia of Africa, "Bambara means "unbeliever" or "infidel"; the Bamana originated as a royal section of the Mandinka people. They are founders of the Mali Empire in the 13th Century. Both Manding and Bambara are part of the Mandé ethnic group, whose earliest known history can be traced back to sites near Tichitt, where urban centers began to emerge by as early as 2500 BC. By 250 BC, a Mandé subgroup, the Bozo, founded the city of Djenne. Between 300 AD and 1100 AD, the Soninke Mandé dominated the Western Mali; when the Mandé Songhai Empire dissolved after 1600 AD, many Mandé-speaking groups along the upper Niger river basin turned inward. The Bamana appeared again in this milieu with the rise of a Bamana Empire in the 1740s, when the Mali Empire started to crumble around 1559.
While there is little consensus among modern historians and ethnologists as to the origins or meaning of the ethno-linguistic term, references to the name Bambara can be found from the early 18th century. In addition to its general use as a reference to an ethno-linguistic group, Bambara was used to identify captive Africans who originated in the interior of Africa from the upper Senegal-Niger region and transported to the Americas via ports on the Senegambian coast; as early as 1730 at the slave-trading post of Gorée, the term Bambara referred to slaves who were in the service of the local elites or French. Growing from farming communities in Ouassoulou, between Sikasso and Ivory Coast, Bamana-age co-fraternities began to develop a state structure which became the Bambara Empire and Mali Empire. In stark contrast to their Muslim neighbors, the Bamana state practised and formalised traditional polytheistic religion, though Muslim communities remained locally powerful, if excluded from the central state at Ségou.
The Bamana became the dominant cultural community in western Mali. The Bambara language, mutually intelligible with the Manding and Dyula languages, has become the principal inter-ethnic language in Mali and one of the official languages of the state alongside French. Although most Bamana today adhere to Islam, many still practise the traditional rituals in honoring ancestors; this form of syncretic Islam remains rare allowing for conversions that in many cases happened in the mid to late 19th century. This recent history, contributes to the richness and fame of Bamana ritual arts. Bamana share many aspects of broader Mandé social structure. Society is patrilineal and patriarchal, though no women wear a veil. Mandé culture is known for its strong fraternal orders and sororities and the history of the Bambara Empire strengthened and preserved these orders; the first state was born as a refashioning of youth Tons into a warrior caste. As conquests of their neighbors were successful, the state created the Jonton, or slave warrior caste, replenished by warriors captured in battle.
While slaves were excluded from inheritance, the Jonton leaders forged a strong corporate identity. Their raids fed the Segu economy with goods and slaves for trade, bonded agricultural laborers who were resettled by the state. Traditionally, Mandé society is caste-based, with nobility and vassals. Bamana political order created a small free nobility, set in the midst of endogamous caste and ethnic variation. Both castes and ethnic groups performed vocational roles in the Bamana state, this differentiation increased with time. For instance, the Maraka merchants developed towns focused first on desert side trade, latter on large-scale agricultural production using slaves captured by the state; the Jula specialised in long-distance trade, as did Fula communities within the state, who added this to cattle herding. The Bozo ethnicity were created out of war captives, turned by the state to fishing and ferrying communities. In addition to this, the Bamana maintained internal castes, like other Mandé peoples, with Griot historian/praise-singers, priests and other specialist vocations remaining endogamous and living in designated areas.
Like most other African societies, they held slaves war prisoners from lands surrounding their territory. With time, the collapse of the Bamana state, these caste differences have eroded, though vocations have strong family and ethnic correlations; the Bamana have continued in many places their tradition of caste and age group inauguration societies, known as Ton. While this is common to most Mandé societies, the Ton tradition is strong in Bamana history. Tons can be by age, or vocation. While these societies continue as ways of socialising and passing on traditions, their power and importance faded in the 20th century; the Bamana people adapted many artistic traditions. Artworks were created both to define cultural and religious difference. Bamana artistic traditions include pottery, weaving, iron figures, masks. While the tourist and art market is the main destination of modern Bamana a
Ounjougou is the name of a lieu-dit found in the middle of an important complex of archaeological sites in the Upper Yamé Valley on the Bandiagara Plateau, in Dogon Country, Mali. The Ounjougou archaeological complex consists of over a hundred sites; the analysis of many layers rich in archaeological and botanical remains has enabled establishment of a major chronological and environmental sequence crucial to understand settlement patterns in the Inland Niger Delta and West Africa. Ounjougou has yielded the earliest pottery found in sub-Saharan Africa. A recent transformation of the Yamé River made possible the discovery of the archaeological richness of Ounjougou. Indeed, a major flood changed the configuration of the watercourse by redesigning its much lower path, leading to strong regressive erosion in the surrounding Quaternary formations; this vertical incision, responsible for spectacular gullies now visible in the area, has created natural sections exceeding 10 meters in height. The stratigraphic sequence revealed contains many archaeological layers attributable to a broad chronological range extending from the Lower Paleolithic to the present.
The Ounjougou sequence is notable for a series of rich Holocene layers rich in well-preserved organic remains, offering the opportunity to directly address the relationship between human occupations and climatic and environmental variability throughout a long sequence. Ounjougou was first discovered in 1994. Research carried out at the Ounjougou site complex between 1997 and 2004 led to the proposal of an initial scenario for the history of human settlement in the Dogon Country which, still contained several archaeological or sedimentary gaps. From 2005, research was progressively expanded to the Bandiagara Cliff and the Séno Plain with the aim of testing the settlement model defined at Ounjougou and understanding the different gaps shown in the Yamé Valley sequence. Many Pleistocene and Holocene sites were discovered. Fieldwork in the Dogon Country was interrupted in 2011 due to unstable security conditions. Today, the term Ounjougou is associated with the research undertaken within the international program "Human population and palaeoenvironment in Africa", created in 1997.
This program is coordinated at the University of Geneva by the laboratory Archéologie et Peuplement de l'Afrique at the Anthropology Unit, Department of Genetics and Evolution. A high resolution Palaeolithic sequence could be established at Ounjougou, in particular due to 50 OSL dates in strict association with the geomorphological analysis of the formations. Moreover, some sedimentary gaps observed in the Ounjougou Pleistocene sequence appear to coincide with abrupt Heinrich climatic events during isotopic stage 3; the earliest evidence of human occupation is seen at several sites in the complex in the form of a lithic industry composed of quartzitic sandstone polyhedrals and sub-spheroids associated with worked cobbles. The technological and typological aspects of these artifacts suggest an early phase of the Palaeolithic and have been observed in stratigraphic context in lenses of coarse sands indurated with iron oxide adhering to bedrock. An OSL date of the Final Middle Pleistocene, around 180,000 years, was obtained for the deposits overlying these formations, forming a terminus ante quem for this lithic industry.
Its technical characteristics, suggest an age of at least 500,000 years ago. Although having widespread archaeological visibility, the Acheulean has until now been absent in the Ounjougou zone and the Dogon Country in general; this may indicate the existence in West Africa of regions unfrequented by Acheulean populations, although well represented in neighboring regions. All of the other Pleistocene lithic industries at Ounjougou are chronologically associated with the Middle Palaeolithic. A Levallois core with preferential removals, found isolated in stratigraphic context, is the first evidence for the Middle Paleolithic at Ounjougou; the OSL date on the context places this core around 150,000 BP during the Late Middle Pleistocene. Middle Palaeolithic occupations in the Ounjougou zone, all open-air sites, become more common during the Upper Pleistocene: 25 different typo-technological groups were identified between 100,000 and 22,000 BP, with a particular concentration during isotopic stage 3 between 50,000 and 30,000 BP ).
The industries between 100,000 and 20,000 BP are diverse. The appearance of blade production around 65,000 BP, followed by discoidal reduction around 60,000 BP, the appearance of foliate bifacial pieces around 50,000 BP and the disappearance of Levallois technique around 30,000 BP are the most notable events during the sequence. In the Middle Paleolithic sequence we note the occurrence of a quartz cobble industry with characteristics comparable to an early Palaeolithic; the study of several sites at Ounjougou has enabled description of a new industry with massive tools and pieces obtained by bipolar-on-anvil percussion. The existence of this kind of assemblage was subsequently confirmed by the excavation of a rock shelter on the Bandiagara escarpment; the diversity of Middle Paleolithic industries and their succession without obvious logic suggests regular renewal of human groups in the region. Between 20,000 and 10,000 BP we observe a significant hiatus due to the dry Ogolian period. At the onset of the Holocene, pottery appears early at Ounjougou, during the first half of the 10th millennium BC.
The region was confronted with the return of more humid conditions linked to a rapid return of the monsoons after the Younger Dryas and the development of an open grassland savanna on the Bandiagara Plateau. In this context, populat
Bandiagara Cercle is an administrative subdivision of the Mopti Region of Mali. The administrative center is the town of Bandiagara; the cercle is divided into 21 communes
Borko is a village and rural commune in the Cercle of Bandiagara of the Mopti Region of Mali. The village lies on the edge of the Dogon Plateau, 105 km northwest of Mopti and 73 km north-northwest of Bandiagara. In the 2009 census the commune had a population of 6,254; the village is set in a valley, is only accessible by one entrance. Plan de Sécurité Alimentaire Commune Rurale de Borko 2006-2010, Commissariat à la Sécurité Alimentaire, République du Mali, USAID-Mali, 2006, archived from the original on 2012-09-17, retrieved 2012-04-25
The Bandiagara Escarpment is an escarpment in the Dogon country of Mali. The sandstone cliff rises about 500 meters above the lower sandy flats to the south, it has a length of 150 kilometers. The area of the escarpment is inhabited today by the Dogon people. Before the Dogon, the escarpment was inhabited by the Toloy peoples. Many structures remain from the Tellem; the Bandiagara Escarpment was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1989. The Cliffs of Bandiagara are a sandstone chain ranging from south to northeast over 200 km and extending to the Grandamia massif; the end of the massif is marked by Mali's highest peak at 1,115 meters. Because of its archaeological and geological characteristics, the entire site is one of the most imposing in West Africa; the cave-dwelling Tellem, an ethnic group pushed out by the arrival of the Dogons, used to live in the slopes of the cliff. The Tellem legacy is evident in the caves they carved into the cliffs so that they could bury their dead high up, far from the frequent flash floods of the area.
Dozens of villages are located along the cliff, such as Kani Bonzon. It was near this village that the Dogons arrived in the 14th century, from there they spread over the plateau, the escarpment and the plains of the Seno-Gondo. According to local oral history, the Dogon were undisturbed by French colonial powers due to natural tunnels weaving through the Bandiagara Escarpment. Only the Dogon knew of the tunnels, were able to use them to ambush and repel aggressors. Today, local guides escort tourist groups along the escarpment to visit Dogon villages. A series of trails runs along the cliffs, hostels in each village provide food and lodging; the host villages receive income from the tourist tax. Large increases in tourism to the area are expected, as a new highway is constructed, putting pressure on local, traditional cultures. In addition, The Independent reports that looting of ancient artifacts is widespread in the area, poorly policed. To call attention to the issue of uncontrolled tourist visitation, the World Monuments Fund included the Bandiagara Escarpment in the 2004 World Monuments Watch.
In 2005, WMF provided a grant from American Express to the Mission Culturelle de Bandiagara for the development of a management plan. Beyond the protection of traditional buildings, the management plan calls for the regulation of new construction through the establishment of strict building guidelines, such as those that govern new development in historic districts around the world. After the 2012 war in Mali, central areas of the country, including the Dogon Plateau and Bandiagara Escarpment, have become dangerous. Terrorist groups operate in the area, violence between local ethnicities occurs on a daily basis; as of 2018 it is inadvisable to travel to this area for tourism, Malian security forces have been known to turn back those who attempt to do so. In March, 2018 an armed group attacked a hotel frequented by UN staff in the town of Bandiagara killing several people. Bandiagara UNESCO - Cliff of Bandiagara Thierry Joffroy and Lassana Cissé, "Culture at a Crossroads: For Mali’s Bandiagara Escarpment, extraordinary geology and human genius have conspired to create one of the world’s great cultural landscapes.
For the Dogon cliff-dwellers who live there, the future hangs in the balance." ICON Magazine, Fall 2005, p. 38-45
Three Trapped Tigers
Three Trapped Tigers are an instrumental experimental rock trio from London composed of keyboardist and vocalist Tom Rogerson, drummer Adam Betts, guitarist Matt Calvert. Formed in 2007, they have released two studio albums to date. Tom Rogerson – piano, vocalist Adam Betts – drums, electronics Matt Calvert – guitar, electronics Studio albumsRoute One or Die Silent Earthling CompilationsNumbers: 1-13 Extended playsEP EP2 EP3 Singles7/1 Noise Trade Reset threetrappedtigers on Facebook threetrappedtigers on SoundCloud