The Slovaks are a nation and West Slavic ethnic group native to Slovakia who share a common ancestry, culture and speak the Slovak language. In Slovakia, c. 4.4 million are ethnic Slovaks of 5.4 million total population. There are Slovak minorities in Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and sizeable populations of immigrants and their descendants in the United States and the United Kingdom, collectively referred to as the Slovak diaspora; the name Slovak is derived from *Slověninъ, plural *Slověně, the old name of the Slavs. The original stem has been preserved in all Slovak words except the masculine noun; the first written mention of adjective slovenský is in 1294. The original name of Slovaks Slovenin/Slovene was still recorded in Pressburg Latin-Czech Dictionary, but it changed to Slovák under the influence of Czech and Polish language; the first written mention of new form in the territory of present-day Slovakia is from Bardejov. The mentions in Czech sources are older; the change is not related to the ethnogenesis of Slovaks, but to linguistic changes in the West Slavic languages.
The word Slovak was used later as a common name for all Slavs in Czech and Slovak language together with other forms. In Hungarian "Slovak" is Tót, an exonym, it was used to refer to all Slavs including Slovenes and Croats, but came to refer to Slovaks. Many place names in Hungary such as Tótszentgyörgy, Tótszentmárton, Tótkomlós still bear the name. Tóth is a common Hungarian surname; the Slovaks have historically been variously referred to as Slovyenyn, Sclavus, Slavus, Winde, Wende, or Wenden. The final three terms are variations of the Germanic term Wends, used to refer to any Slavs living close to Germanic settlements; the early Slavs came to the territory of Slovakia in several waves from the 5th and 6th centuries and were organized on a tribal level. Original tribal names are not known due to the lack of written sources before their integration into higher political units. Weakening of tribal consciousness was accelerated by Avars, who did not respect tribal differences in the controlled territory and motivated remaining Slavs to join together and to collaborate on their defense.
In the 7th century, Slavs founded larger tribal union: Samo's empire. Regardless of Samo's empire, the integration process continued in other territories with various intensities; the final fall of the Avar Khaganate allowed new political entities to arise. The first such political unit documented by written sources is the Principality of Nitra, one of the foundations of common ethnic consciousness. At this stage in history it is not yet possible to assume a common identity of all Slovak ancestors in the territory of eastern Slovakia if it was inhabited by related Slavs; the Principality of Nitra become a part of a common state of Moravians and Slovaks. The short existence of Great Moravia prevented it from suppressing differences which resulted from its creation from two separate entities, therefore a common "Slovak-Moravian" ethnic identity failed to develop; the early political integration in the territory of present-day Slovakia was however reflected in linguistic integration. While dialects of early Slovak ancestors were divided into West Slavic and non-West Slavic, between the 8th and 9th centuries both dialects merged, thus laying the foundations of a Slovak language.
The 10th century is a milestone in the Slovak ethnogenesis. The fall of Great Moravia and further political changes supported their formation into a separate nation. At the same time, with the extinction of the Proto-Slavic language, between the 10th and 13th centuries Slovak evolved into an independent language; the early existence of the Kingdom of Hungary positively influenced the development of common consciousness and companionship among Slavs in the Northern Hungary, not only within boundaries of present-day Slovakia. The clear difference between Slovaks and Hungarians made adoption of specific name unnecessary and Slovaks preserved their original name, used in communication with other Slavic peoples. In political terms, the medieval Slovaks were a part of the multi-ethnic political nation Natio Hungarica, together with Hungarians, Germans and other ethnic groups in the Kingdom of Hungary. Since a medieval political nation did not consist of ordinary people but nobility, membership of the privileged class was necessary for all these peoples.
Like other nations, the Slovaks began to transform into a modern nation from the 18th century under the idea of national romanticism. The modern Slovak nation is the result of radical processes of modernization within the Habsburg Empire which culminated in the middle of the 19th century; the transformation process was slowed down by conflict with Hungarian nationalism and the ethnogenesis of the Slovaks become a political question regarding their deprivation and preservation of their language and national rights. In 1722, Mich
A mosque is a place of worship for Muslims. Any act of worship that follows the Islamic rules of prayer can be said to create a mosque, whether or not it takes place in a special building. Informal and open-air places of worship are called musalla, while mosques used for communal prayer on Fridays are known as jāmiʿ. Mosque buildings contain an ornamental niche set into the wall that indicates the direction of Mecca, ablution facilities and minarets from which calls to prayer are issued; the pulpit, from which the Friday sermon is delivered, was in earlier times characteristic of the central city mosque, but has since become common in smaller mosques. Mosques have segregated spaces for men and women; this basic pattern of organization has assumed different forms depending on the region and denomination. Mosques serve as locations for prayer, Ramadan vigils, funeral services, Sufi ceremonies and business agreements, alms collection and distribution, as well as homeless shelters. Mosques were important centers of elementary education and advanced training in religious sciences.
In modern times, they have preserved their role as places of religious instruction and debate, but higher learning now takes place in specialized institutions. Special importance is accorded to the Great Mosque of Mecca, Prophet's Mosque in Medina and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. In the past, many mosques in the Muslim world were built over burial places of Sufi saints and other venerated figures, which has turned them into popular pilgrimage destinations; the first mosque was built by Muhammad in Medina. With the spread of Islam, mosques multiplied across the Islamic world. Sometimes churches and other temples were converted into mosques, which influenced Islamic architectural styles. While most pre-modern mosques were funded by charitable endowments, modern states in the Muslim world have attempted to bring mosques under government control. Increasing government regulation of large mosques has been countered by a rise of funded mosques of various affiliations and ideologies, many of which serve as bases for different Islamic revivalist currents and social activism.
Mosques have played a number of political roles. The rates of mosque attendance vary depending on the region; the word'mosque' entered the English language from the French word mosquée derived from Italian moschea, from either Middle Armenian մզկիթ, Medieval Greek: μασγίδιον, or Spanish mezquita, from Arabic: مَـسْـجِـد, translit. Masjid, either from Nabataean masgĕdhā́ or from Arabic Arabic: سَـجَـدَ, translit. Sajada ultimately from Aramaic sĕghēdh; the first mosque in the world is considered to be the area around the Ka‘bah in Mecca, now known as Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarâm. A Hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari states that the Kaaba was the First Mosque on Earth, the Second Mosque was the Temple in Jerusalem. Since as early as 638 AD, the Sacred Mosque has been expanded on several occasions to accommodate the increasing number of Muslims who either live in the area or make the annual pilgrimage known as Ḥajj to the city. Others regard the first mosque in history to be the Quba Mosque in present-day Medina since it was the first structure built by Muhammad upon his emigration from Mecca in 622, though the Mosque of the Companions in the Eritrean city of Massawa may have been constructed at around the same time.
The Islamic Prophet Muhammad went on to establish another mosque in Medina, now known as the Masjid an-Nabawi, or the Prophet's Mosque. Built on the site of his home, Muhammad participated in the construction of the mosque himself and helped pioneer the concept of the mosque as the focal point of the Islamic city; the Masjid al-Nabawi introduced some of the features still common in today's mosques, including the niche at the front of the prayer space known as the mihrab and the tiered pulpit called the minbar. The Masjid al-Nabawi was constructed with a large courtyard, a motif common among mosques built since then. Mosques had been built in Iraq and North Africa by the end of the 7th century, as Islam spread outside the Arabian Peninsula with early caliphates; the Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala is one of the oldest mosques in Iraq, although its present form – typical of Persian architecture – only goes back to the 11th century. The shrine, while still operating as a mosque, remains one of the holiest sites for Shia Muslims, as it honors the death of the third Shia imam, Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Hussein ibn Ali.
The Mosque of Amr ibn al-As was the first mosque in Egypt, serving as a religious and social center for Fustat during its prime. Like the Imam Husayn Shrine, nothing of its original structure remains. With the Shia Fatimid Caliphate, mosques throughout Egypt evolved to include schools and tombs; the Great Mosque of Kairouan in present-day Tunisia was the first mosque built in northwest Africa, with its present form serving as a model for other Islamic places of worship in the Maghreb. It includes naves akin to a basilica; those features can be found in Andalusian mosques, including the Grand Mo
Djenné is a town and an urban commune in the Inland Niger Delta region of central Mali. The town is the administrative centre of the Djenné Cercle, one of the eight subdivisions of the Mopti Region; the commune includes ten of the surrounding villages and in 2009 had a population of 32,944. The history of Djenné is linked with that of Timbuktu. Between the 15th and 17th centuries much of the trans-Saharan trade in goods such as salt and slaves that moved in and out of Timbuktu passed through Djenné. Both towns became centres of Islamic scholarship. Djenné's prosperity depended on this trade and when the Portuguese established trading posts on the African coast, the importance of the trans-Saharan trade and thus of Djenné declined; the town is famous for its distinctive adobe architecture, most notably the Great Mosque, built in 1907 on the site of an earlier mosque. To the south of the town is Djenné-Djenno, the site of one of the oldest known towns in sub-Saharan Africa. Djenné together with Djenné-Djeno were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.
Djenné is situated 398 km northeast of 76 km southwest of Mopti. The town sits on the floodplain between the Niger and Bani rivers at the southern end of the Inland Niger Delta; the town has an area of around 70 ha and during the annual floods becomes an island, accessed by causeways. The Bani river is crossed by ferry. For administrative purposes the town forms part of the commune of Djenné which covers an area of 302 square kilometers and consists of the town and ten of the surrounding villages: Ballé, Gomnikouboye, Kamaraga, Kéra, Soala, Syn and Yenleda; the population figures include these villages. The commune is bounded to the north by the communes of Ouro Ali and Derary, to the south by the commune of Dandougou Fakala, to the east by the communes of Fakala and Madiama and to the west by the commune of Pondori; the town is the administrative center of the Djenné Cercle, one of eight administrative subdivisions of the Mopti Region. The weather is dry throughout much of the year. Average daily maximum temperatures in the hottest months and May, are around 40 °C.
Temperatures are cooler, though still hot, from June through September, when all of the annual rainfall occurs. Only the winter months of December and January have average daily maximum temperatures below 32 °C. Between December and March the warm dry north-easterly Harmattan wind blows from the Sahara; when it blows the dust-laden wind reduces visibility and creates a persistent haze. The annual rainfall is around 550 mm but varies from year to year. August is the wettest month. In Djenné the annual flood produced by Bani and Niger rivers begins in July and reaches a maximum in October. During this period the town of Djenné becomes an island and the Souman-Bani channel that passes just to the east of the town fills and connects the Bani and Niger rivers; the year-to-year variation in the height of the flood leads to a large variation in the area of land, flooded. This has important consequences for the local agriculture; the drought that began in the early 1970s resulted in a big reduction in the volume of water flowing in the Niger and Bani rivers.
The effect on the Bani was severe as the reduction in flow was much greater than the reduction in rainfall. The annual discharge of the river has not returned to the volumes experienced in the 1950s and 1960s, it is only during the flood season that the Bani river between Djenné and Mopti is navigable. At other times of the year, sandbars lie close to the water surface; when the French explorer René Caillié made the journey to Mopti in a small boat in March 1828, he was "obliged several times to unload the vessel in order to pass over sandbanks." In 2006 the Talo Dam was constructed on the Bani River to irrigate parts of the floodplain near the town of San. The dam is located 43 km west of San and 110 km upstream from Djenné; the dam functions as a weir in that water can flow over the top of the retaining wall. The construction of the dam was controversial; the environmental impact assessment commissioned by the African Development Bank was criticised for not taking into account the hydrological impact downstream of the dam.
The 0.18 km3 of water retained by the dam represents 1.3% of the average annual discharge of the river. From the published information it is unclear how much of the total discharge will be diverted for irrigation and, of the diverted water, how much will drain back into the river; the downstream effect of the dam will be to delay the arrival of the annual flood and to reduce its intensity. In May 2009 the African Development Bank approved funding for an irrigation dam/weir to be built on the Bani near Soala, a village within the commune situated 12 km south of Djenné; the dam is one element in a 6-year 33.6 billion CFA franc program that includes the building of a dam on the Sankarani River near Kourouba and the extension of the area irrigated by the Talo dam. The proposed Djenné dam will retain 0.3 km3 of water more than the Talo dam. It will allow the "controlled flooding" of 14,000 ha of the Pondori floodplain to allow the cultivation of rice and the irrigation of an additional 5,000 ha for growing'floating grass' for animal feed.
Lying 2.5 km south-east of the present town is the archaeological site of Djoboro. Exc
Inner Niger Delta
The Inner Niger Delta known as the Macina or Masina, is the inland delta of the Niger River. It is an area of fluvial wetlands and floodplains in the semi-arid Sahel area of central Mali, just south of the Sahara desert; the delta consists of the middle course of the Niger River, between the bifurcated Niger and its tributary, the Bani, which from here run north towards the desert. The Niger is the longest river in West Africa. Towns such as the river-port of Mopti, Sévaré and Djenné, with its mud-brick Great Mosque lie in the 400 km-long region; the Fulani and Dogon inhabit the Macina region and the surrounding area, which has a population of over 500,000. Most of the year the area has a hot and dry climate, with hot winds from the nearby Sahara raising the temperature up to 40°C. During the wet season, which lasts from July to September but lasts longer the further south one goes, the swamp floods into a lake and irrigates the land; when the dry season comes, the Macina turns into a network of channels.
Cattle, pearl millet, rice are its important agricultural products. The Macina inland delta provides water and fish for the Malians living there and during the wet season is a haven for large numbers of birds. Due to its proximity to the widening Sahel, there have been concerns that the Macina may be getting less rain every year. In the early 19th century, Seku Amadu founded a Massina Empire in the region, building a capital at Hamdullahi in 1820; the Massina fell to El Hadj Umar Tall's Toucouleur Empire in 1862, who in turn fell to the French army. The region became a part of the country of Mali on its independence in 1960; the Niger inland Delta lies in the Sahelian zone, has an ecosystem, dependent on the amount of flooding it receives. Precipitation in the water basins of the upper course of the Bani and Niger rivers makes for rising waterlevels downstream; the rising water floods varying parts of the low-level delta area, with the water rise determined by the amount of rain fallen upstream.
This in turn, is influenced by the northward movement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone. A delay exists between the peak amount of precipitation and the maximum water level in the inland delta area. While the wet season lasts three months from July till September, the western and southern edges of the delta area are not flooded until early to mid-October; the consequence is. Note that only the lowest patches are flooded annually: higher elevations receive flooding in more intermittent periods due to the changing degrees of waterlevel rises; this division in three zones, makes for patches that vary in their nature according to their proximity to a main body water and elevation. In turn, this affects land use in and around the inland delta, as human impact is driven by agriculture, both irrigated and rainfed and browsing of herds and flocks and the collection of wood for fuel, all dependent on the availability of water; the Inland Delta forms a green oasis in its semi-arid surroundings. Its vegetation growth is limited by the availability of water, thus giving patches more or longer subject to flooding a denser and more tree-like vegetation cover.
As said, flooding cycles follow the precipitation cycle. The vegetation cycle in its turn follows the flooding cycle with a certain delay: it takes days for grasses to germinate after flooding, but months before trees die of a lack of water when floodwater has once again receded; when classifying vegetation in a grass and tree layer, up to 80% of vegetation cover in the Sahel consists of grass. In the delta area however, water is more available and a larger proportion of cover consists of bushes and trees. Vegetation cover. Only low lying patches near a persistent water body are vegetated year-round; the area is not uniform: according to relief, proximity to a water body and soil type, different species exist. Three regions with characteristic species can be discerned: Southern Delta The low-lying floodplains can sustain aquatic plants and grasses including the grasses Acroceras amplectens and Echinochloa pyramidalis, burgu millet and the lovegrass Eragrostis atrovirens. Outer fringes - The grasslands on the edges of the watercourses, are grazed.
Plants include the beardgrass Andropogon gayanus, dūrvā grass Cynodon dactylon, the thatching grass Hyparrhenia dissoluta. Along the many watercourses, Mimosa asperata and Salix chevalieri grow above a Cyperus maculatus understory. Northern Delta Characterized by emergent sand ridges which sustain the palm trees Hyphaene thebaica and Borassus aethiopum, the gum arabic tree Acacia nilotica, Guarea senegalensis, Mimosa asperata and Ziziphus mauritiana; the delta is home to birds in large numbers including hundreds of thousands of wintering garganeys and ruffs and breeding colonies of cormorant, spoonbill and other waterbirds including the endangered West African subspecies of black crowned crane. Most large mammals have been removed from the area by the human population. Mammals remaining include the African manatee, known as the sea cow which lives in the rivers and feeds on underwater plants, and the rivers are rich in fish including two endemics. The construction of a large irrigation project upstream of the Inner Niger Delta threatens its ecology and the livelihoods of its inhabitants.
The 100,000 ha project is an extension to the area irrigated by the Office du Niger through the Malibya canal. The extension, wh
French Sudan was a French colonial territory in the federation of French West Africa from around 1880 until 1960, when it became the independent state of Mali. The colony was formally called French Sudan from 1890 until 1899 and again from 1921 until 1958, had a variety of different names over the course of its existence; the colony was established as a military project led by French troops, but in the mid-1890s it came under civilian administration. A number of administrative reorganizations in the early 1900s brought increasing French administration over issues like agriculture and slavery. Following World War II, the African Democratic Rally under Modibo Keita became the most significant political force pushing for independence. French Sudan retained close connections with France and joined in a short-lived federation with Senegal in 1959, but ties to both countries weakened. In 1960, the French Sudan formally became the Republic of Mali and began to distance itself further from Senegal and France.
French Sudan formed as a set of military outposts as an extension of the French colony in Senegal. Though the area offered France little economic or strategic gain, the military advocated greater conquest in the region; this was due to a fascination with the great empires, such as the Mali Empire and the Songhay Empire that rose to prominence in the area, due to the promotional opportunities that military conquest offered for French military personnel. French conquest began in 1879, when Joseph Gallieni was dispatched to the area to establish a fort and survey the land for a railroad from Dakar in Senegal to the Niger River; this was followed with the establishment of a number of French forts and political alliances with specific leaders in the region in the early 1880s. The administrative structure of the area was still under control of the French Governor of Senegal, the most significant colonization were the military forts and outposts, including the important one established at Kayes in 1881 by Gustave Borgnis-Desbordes.
Though the civilian administration of the French governor of Senegal formally ruled the area, military officers in the region bypassed these leaders and answered directly to commanding officers in Paris. Desbordes took over more territory using inter-ethnic rivalries and political tension among leaders in the area to appoint French-supportive leaders. French civilian administrators struggled with the military leaders, the two forces went through a number of leadership changes over the territory, until Louis Archinard was appointed military governor in 1892. Archinard led military campaigns against Samori Ture, Ahmadu Tall, other resistant leaders in the region, with varying success. Archinard's campaigns were executed through direct military control, without civilian oversight; as costs increased, the French administration decided to replace Archinard's control over the area with a civilian governor, Louis Albert Grodet. The region was governed under a number of different names between 1880 and 1960.
The area was Upper River from 1880 until 18 August 1890, when it was renamed French Sudan, with its capital at Kayes. On 10 October 1899, French Sudan was divided, with the southern cercles joining coastal colonies, the rest split into two administrative areas called Middle Niger and Upper Senegal. In 1902, the region again was organized as a unified colony under Niger; the name changed again in 1904 to Upper Niger. In 1921, the name changed back to French Sudan. Borders and administration of the colony changed a number of times, and for the initial period, the colony vacillated between military administration and civilian administration from Senegal. In 1893, French Sudan formally came under civilian administration, which lasted until 1899. At that point, a reorganization of the colony split 11 southern provinces to other French colonies like French Guinea, the Ivory Coast and Dahomey; the area, not reorganized was governed in two administrations linked to other French colonies. Following this, the territory of the colony was reestablished in 1902.
Though the borders shifted there was little territorial change until 1933. At that point, the colony of the French Upper Volta dissolved, the northern territory was added to French Sudan. In 1947, Upper Volta was reestablished, the French Sudan borders became those that became the borders of Mali. Kayes was the original capital city from the 1890s until 1908, when the capital moved to Bamako, where it remains; the colony supported rain-fed agriculture, with limited irrigation for its first 30 years. The only cash crops were nuts gathered close to the railroad between Bamako. However, following successful tests of growing Egyptian cotton in West Africa during World War I, Émile Bélime began to campaign for the construction of a large irrigation system along the Niger river. Starting in 1921, significant irrigation projects around Koulikoro and at Baguinéda-Camp and the Ségou Cercle began to bring water; the French believed this project could rival the major cotton growing centers of Egypt and the United States.
Unlike other agricultural projects in French West Africa, the French Sudan irrigation project relied on families voluntarily resettling along lines established by the colonial authority. Unable to attract enough volunteers, the colonial authorities began to try forced resettlement to the cotton project; the Office du Niger was founded in 1926 as the main organizat
Auguste René Caillié was a French explorer and the first European to return alive from the town of Timbuktu. Caillié was born in western France in a village near the port of Rochefort, his parents died while he was still young. At the age of 16 he left home and signed up as a member of the crew on a French naval vessel sailing to Saint-Louis on the coast of modern Senegal in western Africa, he stayed there for several months and crossed the Atlantic to Guadeloupe on a merchantman. He made a second visit to West Africa two years when he accompanied a British expedition across the Ferlo Desert to Bakel on the Senegal River. Caillié returned to Saint-Louis in 1824 with a strong desire to become an explorer and visit Timbuktu. In order to avoid some of the difficulties experienced by the earlier expeditions, he planned to travel alone disguised as a Muslim, he persuaded the French governor in Saint-Louis to help finance a stay of 8 months with the nomadic people in the Brakna region of southern Mauritania where he learned Arabic and the customs of Islam.
He failed to obtain further funding from either the French or the British governments, but encouraged by the prize of 10,000 francs offered by the Société de Géographie in Paris for the first person to return with a description of Timbuktu, he decided to fund the journey himself. He worked for a few months in the British colony of Sierra Leone to save some money travelled by ship to Boké on the Rio Nuñez in modern Guinea. From there in April 1827 he set off across West Africa, he arrived in Timbuktu a year and stayed there for two weeks before heading across the Sahara Desert to Tangier in Morocco. On his return to France, he was awarded the prize of 10,000 francs by the Société de Géographie and helped by the scholar Edme-François Jomard, published an account of his journey. In 1830 he was awarded the Gold Medal by the Société de Géographie. Caillié settled near his birthplace, he suffered from poor health and died of tuberculosis aged 38. René Caillié was born on 19 November 1799 in Mauzé-sur-le-Mignon, a village in the department of Deux-Sèvres in western France.
His father, François Caillé, had worked as a baker but four months before René was born he was accused of petty theft and sentenced to 12 years of hard labour in a penal colony at Rochefort. He died there in 1808, at the age of 46. René's mother, Élizabeth née Lépine, died three years in 1811 at the age of 38. After her death, René and his 18-year-old sister, Céleste, were cared for by their maternal grandmother. In the introduction to his Travels through Central Africa to Timbuctoo, Caillié described how as a teenager he had been fascinated by books on travel and exploration:... and as soon as I could read and write, I was put to learn a trade, to which I soon took a dislike, owing to the reading of voyages and travels, which occupied all my leisure moments. The History of Robinson Crusoe, in particular, inflamed my young imagination: I was impatient to encounter adventures like him. Caillié left home at the age of 16 with 60 francs, he made his way to the port of 50 km from Mauzé-sur-le-Mignon on the River Charente.
There he signed up as a crew member on the Loire, a French naval storeship, to accompany the frigate Méduse and two other vessels on a voyage to reclaim the French colony of Saint-Louis from the British under the terms of the 1814 and 1815 Paris Treaties. The four ships left their anchorage near the Île d'Aix at the mouth of the Charente River in June 1816; the Méduse went ahead of the Loire and was wrecked on the Bank of Arguin off the coast of present-day Mauritania. A few survivors were picked up by the other vessels; the shipwreck received a large amount of publicity and was the subject of a famous oil painting, The Raft of the Medusa, by Théodore Géricault. When the three remaining French ships arrived at Saint-Louis they found that the British governor was not ready to hand over the colony so the ships continued southwards and moored off the island of Gorée, near Dakar. Caillié spent some months in Dakar only a village, before returning by ship to Saint-Louis. There he learned that an English expedition led by Major William Gray was preparing to leave from the Gambia to explore the interior of the continent.
Caillié set off along the coast with two companions. He found the oppressive heat and lack of water exhausting, he abandoned his plan at Dakar and instead obtained a free passage on a merchantman across the Atlantic to Guadeloupe. Caillié found employment for six months in Guadeloupe. While there he read Mungo Park's account of his exploration of the Middle Niger in present-day Mali. Park had been the first European to reach the Niger River and visit the towns of Ségou and Bamako. An account of his first trip had been published in French in 1799. Park made a second expedition beginning in 1805 but was drowned in descending the rapids on the Niger, near Bussa, in present-day Nigeria. An account of the second trip had been published in English in 1815. Caillié returned to Bordeaux in France and travelled to Senegal where he arrived at end of 1818, he made a journey into the interior to the pre-colonial state of Bundu to carry supplies for a British expedition but he fell ill with fever and was obliged to return to France.
In 1824 he returned to Senegal for the third time with the desire to visit the African interior. The Paris-based Société de Géographie was offering a 10,000-franc reward to the first European to see and return alive from Timbuktu, believing it to be a rich and wondrous city. He
Mali the Republic of 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; 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 mining; some of Mali's prominent natural resources include gold, being the third largest producer of gold in the African continent, salt. Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire, the Songhai Empire. During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy 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 joined with Senegal in 1959. 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. In January 2012, an armed conflict broke out in northern Mali, in which Tuareg rebels took control of a territory in the north, in April declared the secession of a new state, Azawad; the conflict was complicated by a military coup that took place in March and fighting between Tuareg and rebels. In response to territorial gains, the French military launched Opération Serval in January 2013. A month Malian and French forces recaptured most of the north. Presidential elections were held on 28 July 2013, with a second-round run-off held on 11 August, legislative elections were held on 24 November and 15 December 2013.
The name Mali is taken from the name of the Mali Empire. The name was derived from the Mandinka or Bambara word mali, meaning "hippopotamus", but it came to mean "the place where the king lives"; the word carries the connotation of strength. Guinean writer Djibril Niane suggests in Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali that it is not impossible that Mali was the name given to one of the capitals of the emperors. 14th-century Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta reported that the capital of the Mali Empire was called Mali. One Mandinka tradition tells that the legendary first emperor Sundiata Keita changed himself into a hippopotamus upon his death in the Sankarani River, that it's possible to find villages in the area of this river, termed "old Mali", which have Mali for a name; this name could have been that of a city. In old Mali, there is one village called Malika which means "New Mali."Another theory suggests that Mali is a Fulani pronunciation of the name of the Mande peoples. It is suggested that a sound shift led to the change, whereby in Fulani the alveolar segment /nd/ shifts to /l/ and the terminal vowel denasalises and raises, thus "Manden" shifts to /Mali/.
Mali was once part of three famed West African empires which controlled trans-Saharan trade in gold, salt and other precious commodities. These Sahelian kingdoms had rigid ethnic identities; the earliest of these empires was the Ghana Empire, dominated by the Soninke, a Mande-speaking people. The empire expanded throughout West Africa from the 8th century until 1078, when it was conquered by the Almoravids; the Mali Empire formed on the upper Niger River, reached the height of power in the 14th century. Under the Mali Empire, the ancient cities of Djenné and Timbuktu were centers of both trade and Islamic learning; the empire declined as a result of internal intrigue being supplanted by the Songhai Empire. The Songhai people originated in current northwestern Nigeria; the Songhai had long been a major power in West Africa subject to the Mali Empire's rule. In the late 14th century, the Songhai gained independence from the Mali Empire and expanded subsuming the entire eastern portion of the Mali Empire.
The Songhai Empire's eventual collapse was the result of a Moroccan invasion in 1591, under the command of Judar Pasha. The fall of the Songhai Empire marked the end of the region's role as a trading crossroads. Following the establishment of sea routes by the European powers, the trans-Saharan trade routes lost significance. One of the worst famines in the region's recorded history occurred in the 18th century. According to John Iliffe, "The worst crises were in the 1680s, when famine extended from the Senegambian coast to the Upper Nile and'many sold themselves for slaves, only to get a sustenance', in 1738–1756, when West Africa's greatest recorded subsistence crisis, due to drought and locusts killed half the population of Timbuktu." Mali fell under the control of France during the late 19th century. By 1905, most of the area was under firm French control as a part of French Sudan. In early 1959, French Sudan and Senegal united to become the Mali Federation; the Mali Federation gained independence from France on 20 June 1960.
Senegal withdrew from the federation in August 1960, which allowed the Sudanes