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Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Cote d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west.
Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara. The country's economic structure centers around agriculture and fishing. Some of Mali's natural resources include gold, uranium, and salt.
Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire (from which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire. 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) gained independence in 1959 with Senegal, as the Mali Federation. A year later, 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 1991 coup led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state.