Bamako is the capital and largest city of Mali, with a population of 1,810,366. In 2006, it was estimated to be the fastest-growing city in Africa and sixth-fastest in the world. It is located on the Niger River, near the rapids that divide the upper and middle Niger valleys in the southwestern part of the country. The name Bamako comes from the Bambara word meaning “crocodile tail”. Most of the country lies in the southern Sahara Desert, which produces an extremely hot, dust-laden Sudanian savanna zone. Desert or semi-desert covers about 65 percent of Mali’s area.
Historical, Cultural facts & Religion
Bamako, the capital of the Republic of Mali, which once prospered as one of three of the greatest black-ruled kingdoms in West Africa, was founded in the year 1640. Built on the banks of the Niger River, Bamako derives its name from “Bama” and “Ko,” meaning alligator and river. From the nomadic Tuareg, Fulani, Bozo fishers, Bambara, and Dogon farmers, each of Mali’s dozens of ethnic groups have their own unique languages and history, yet generally, interact amicably with each other. Most Malians are respectful to visitors who give equal respect to their religious and cultural beliefs. Mali is a Muslim-majority country, with more than 90 percent of the population adhering to the religion.
Brief City History
Bamako, the capital of Mali, located on the Niger River in the southwestern part of the country. When occupied for the French in 1880 by Captain Joseph-Simon Gallieni, Bamako was a settlement of a few hundred inhabitants, grouped in villages. It became the capital of the former colony of French Sudan in 1908, four years after the Kayes–Bamako segment of the Dakar–Niger Railway (now the Regie des Chemins de Fer du Mali) was opened. Bamako now spans both sides of the Niger River, which is navigable 225 miles (360 km) south, to Kouroussa, Guinea, from mid-June to mid-December. To the north, a canal around the Sotuba Rapids has opened the north-eastern section of the river to shipping as far as Gao (869 miles [1,398 km]). Cement and petroleum products are shipped downstream from Bamako, with rice and groundnuts (peanuts) coming upstream for transshipment via the railway. The city is also served by an airport.
Bamako is a bustling city with a large market, botanical and zoological gardens, an active artisan community, and several research institutes. It supports four colleges and houses the majority of Mali’s industrial enterprises. The city more than tripled in size from 1960 to 1970, largely because of rural migration from drought-stricken areas of the countryside. A traditional character prevails, however, and mud-brick buildings can still be seen throughout the city. Pop. (2009) 1,809,106.
Language (s) Written & Spoken
Mali is a multilingual country. The languages spoken there reflect ancient settlement patterns, migrations, and its long history. Ethnology counts more than 80 languages. Of these, French is the official language and Bambara is the most widely spoken.
Important Types of Commerce in Bamako
Mali’s great potential wealth lies in mining and the production of agricultural commodities, livestock, and fish. The most productive agricultural area lies along the banks of the Niger River, the Inner Niger Delta and the southwestern region around Sikasso.
Language Services US and others will provide working with Bamako
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