Mali is celebrating 58 years since it gained independence from France on this day in 1960.
The eighth-largest country in Africa has such a rich history as one of the regions that were part of three of Africa’s prominent kingdoms: Ghana Empire, Mali Kingdom and the Songhai Empire. All these engaged in trans-Saharan trade in gold, salt, and other commodities.
After the disintegration of the Songhai Empire, Mali lost its lustre as a trading post. In the 19th century, it fell under the control of France with the name Upper River, and by 1905, it formed part of French Sudan.
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With the passage of the Loi Cadre (Reform Act) in 1956 by the French National Assembly, the pressure for African countries under France to become independent intensified. In French Sudan, the Rassemblement Démocratique Africain party (RDA) led by Modibo Keita became the most vocal in the fight for independence.
In 1957, elections were held and RDA emerged the winner and by 1958, French Sudan had declared itself an independent territory called the Sudanese Republic. This would change in 1960 when it joined forces with Senegal to form the Mali Federation- a territory whose establishment had started in March 1959.
The Federation lasted for a few months because the tension between the two countries made it difficult to maintain it. Besides, it was at this time that the discussion between France and its colonies in Africa were heightened. On August 20, Senegal declared itself independent from the Mali Foundation and French Sudan changed its name to The Republic of Mali.
Such rich history makes Mali an interesting place to visit. It is home to diverse cultures, interesting landmarks and cuisine that fascinates many people.
Scroll through for some of the places you must include on your bucket list if you plan to visit Mali.