Mali History Timeline

Mali History Timeline

Mali, officially the Republic of Mali is a landlocked state in West Africa. Mali is the seventh largest country in Africa, bordering Algeria to the north, Niger to the east, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast to the south, Guinea to the southwest and Senegal and Mauritania to the west. The plains of the Sahel divide the country in the middle. In the southwest and in the inland delta there is savannah and fertile soil. The climate is tropical, but in the south, the rivers make the climate in Niger and Senegal cooler and more humid.

According to ethnicityology, Mali’s biggest environmental problem is drought. Desertification leads to soil erosion, and to forest areas and meadows being reduced. Another major problem is the lack of clean drinking water. Mali’s plant and animal life is also threatened by drought, in addition to poaching and the destruction of natural areas. Authorities have established protected areas, but do not have enough resources to control poachers or illegal logging.

Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world.

Until 2012, Mali was one of the most politically and socially stable countries in Africa.


600-1500s. Between the 6th century and the end of the 16th century, Mali was part of three kingdoms. The oldest of these kingdoms was the Ghanaian kingdom, which was dominated by the Soninkers, a man-speaking people.

12th century. Timbuktu, a Tuareg town north of the Niger River, is the capital of Mali. The city was a commercial hub and served as the region’s intellectual center, with a university that has at times employed up to 25,000 researchers and students.

1200-1400s. The Mali Empire, along with the Ghanaian Empire (ca. 500-1000) and the Songhai Empire (1400-1591), were among the most important of the pre-colonial Sudanese central kingdoms. The empire fell into disrepair as a result of an internal intrigue and was supplanted by the Songhai Empire in the 15th century. The fall of the Songhai Empire marked the end of the region’s role as a trading center.

about 1490. The Dogon people, a people who were slaves to Muslim tribes in the region, migrated north in Africa but refused to convert to Muslim. They wanted to keep their own religion and culture. Today, most dogons are purely Muslim, but have by and large preserved their ancient culture and original animistic beliefs. Read here about the Dogons’ interest in the star Sirius. And here a skeptical angle. And one more here.

13-17. century – Blood was an important part of the rituals of the African Mali Empire from the 13th to the 17th century, as the researchers from the Center for Research and Restoration for the Museums of France have finally proved. The researchers sampled eight statuettes from the Dogon and Bamana tribes. The studies showed that seven out of the eight contained, among other things, parts of hemoglobin, which are found in blood. This is probably animal blood, which was an important part of the ceremonies. ( Ill.Vid. 8/2008 )

1591 – The country is invaded by Muslim forces from Morocco. This was the beginning of a period of great unrest, and fighting between Muslims and non-Muslim African peoples.

19th century. Mali came under French control late in the century.

1905 – Most of the area is under French control as part of French Sudan.

1959 – Mali and Senegal join the Federation of Mali.

1960 – June 20. The federation gained independence from France. Senegal withdrew from the federation the same year.

1968 – A group of young officers seize power through a coup. They installed Moussa Traoré as dictator.

1992 – Alpha Oumar Konaré wins Mali’s first multi-party election. Following his re-election in 1997, President Konaré set in motion political and economic reforms and fought corruption.

1992-95 – Mali tried an economic adjustment program, which resulted in economic growth and less imbalance. The program improved social and economic conditions and led Mali to join the WTO on 31 May 1995.

2002 – Amadou Toumani Touré wins the election. He was a former general and leader of the military in the 1991 uprising of democracy.

2012 – January. A group of Tuaregs from the National Movement for a Free Azawad (MNLA) began an uprising in northern Mali, for an independent state in the Azawad area. They are soldiers who have fought for Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. They were heavily armed with weapons brought from the Libyan civil war chaos, and in March were joined by radical Islamists in the group Ansar Dine (“Defenders of the Faith”).

Mali History Timeline