Mali is one of the largest countries in Africa and in its territory is the legendary city of Timbuktu. Country rich in history and ethnic and cultural diversity is located in northwest Africa. Join us to know 50 Curiosities of Mali, the ancient country of gold and salt. Discover more of this country.
With no access to the sea, it is the eighth largest country on the African continent. The desert to the north and the savannah to the southwest cover its geography that hides important riches in gold, uranium and salt. However, its population, which is close to 19.5 million people, is one of the poorest in Africa, dedicated especially to agriculture.
50 Curiosities of Mali
1. Mali is one of the hottest countries in the world as it is crossed by the thermal equator.
2. With scarce rainfall, droughts are very frequent.
3. One of the curiosities of Mali is that it has three very different areas. The first is the Saharan zone, which is very arid in the north, the second semi-arid in the Sahel, and the third, where crops abound and the majority of the country's population lives.
4. The territory of Mali is crossed by the Senegal and Niger rivers that make the south of the country the most fertile region.
5. By rock paintings found, it is believed that the Mali region was already inhabited in 50,000 BC.
6. Millennia later three important empires were established in the territory: Ghana, Songhai and Mali. Mathematics, astronomy, art and literature flourished in them.
Manuscripts of Timbuktu
7. The political situation in Mali is very complicated. It was a French colony since the 19th century, a century later it joined the Sudan to achieve the independence of France and in 1960 it became the Federation of Mali. In 1991 it became a democratic state. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the northern Tuareg tribes have led various rebellions merging finally with the Ansar Dine Islamic group. France and the United Nations helped since 2013 in the fight against that group and in 2015 a peace treaty was signed. Despite this, it is considered that Mali is still an insecure country as new Islamist groups have emerged.
8. Southern Mali is mined gold galore. It is the third largest gold producer in Africa after South Africa and Ghana.
9. Despite having so much gold, Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world. Its population subsists with less than $ 1,500 per year.
10. Women have an average of 6 children, which makes their birth rate the third highest in the world.
11. It is believed that Mali, which in 2018 will exceed 19.5 million inhabitants, will have doubled its population in 20 years.
12. Polygamy is legal in Mali and is practiced frequently, being relatively normal for a man to have two wives. The future husband has the obligation to declare his preference for polygamy or monogamy before getting married and if at the time he chose monogamy, he needs the consent of the first wife to contract a second link. Far from disappearing, polygamy remains firmly established in the country even among the most educated people or young people. However, there have been many problems with Malian immigrants to Western nations such as France; that is even studying enacting tougher laws against polygamy.
13. Mali is a transit country and currently channels a large part of illegal migration to Europe, which is why human trafficking in its territory is increasing.
14. 10% of Mali's population is nomadic.
15. One of the curiosities of Mali is that although it is a country without coast, fishing is one of its main sources of wealth with more than 200 species of fish.
16. The Niger River has an interior delta with seventeen bird protection areas, ten of which include wetlands. The species of herons that you can see in the inner delta of the Niger are remarkable.
African manatee from Mali
17. In times past in Mali, it was common to hunt manatees in the Niger River to consume their meat. Because they are in danger of extinction, their capture has been prohibited.
18. In Mali, there is also one of the only two desert elephants that, due to the action of the guerrillas and the traffickers, is also in danger of extinction. There is international project to save those elephants.
19. The Mali flag It has three stripes: green, yellow and red. The green is for the fertility of the earth, the yellow symbolizes the gold and the purity of this mineral and the red represents the blood shed during the independence of France.
20. Bamako is the capital of Mali . It has a population of approximately 2.5 million inhabitants and is on the banks of the Niger River.
21. Bamako is one of the fastest growing capitals in Africa.
22. One of its attractions are the colorful markets that fill its streets.
23. North of Bamako, the capital of Mali, is the largest national park and reserve: the Bouche du Baoulé National Park. Unfortunately, there are only monkeys in it because the action of man has ended with the giraffes, gazelles, chimpanzees and lions that lived in it.
24. There are other important national parks in the country such as those of Wongo and Kouroufring and the Bafing Biosphere Reserve, which houses the Bafing Chimpanzee Sanctuary.
25. Another of the curiosities of Mali It is the city of Timbuktu. It is a city of legend with centuries of history and three important mosques.
26. Timbuktu was an obligatory stop for salt caravans and for centuries salt was worth almost as much as gold.
27. In the past, Mali was a great commercial and cultural center. In the city of Timbuktu there is still the University of Timbuktu which was one of the oldest and most famous universities in Africa and the Middle East.
28. This Islamic university was established between the 15th and 16th centuries and was a center for Islamic scholars who also had a thriving book trade. Many of those copies are still preserved, especially the Greek texts.
29. Another of the curiosities of Mali It is the Great Mosque of Djenné, the largest adobe building in the world.
30. In Gao you can see a strange building from the XVI century very similar to a step pyramid. It is really a grave.
31. One of the current problems in Mali is water pollution. Even the fruit should be washed with chlorinated water or other means of disinfection before being consumed.
32. One of the curiosities of Mali is that your official language is French and yet the language of Mali The most talked about is the Bambara. In addition there are a dozen other national languages.
33. The traditions of Mali They are very varied since in the country you can find more than ten ethnic groups; among them the Bambara (34%), the Fulani (15%), the Sarakole (11%) or the Senufo (10%), which are the most numerous.
34. Among the traditions of Mali there is the clothes that they use daily and that receives the name of "boubous". They are loose tunics, very colorful and comfortable.
35. The traditional fabric is called "bogalanfini" and is only woven in this part of Africa . It is handmade and dyed with plants from the region. The drawings are made following fermented mud patterns.
36. Women use matching fabrics with the tunics to cover their heads.
37. The drawings of the "bogalanfini" are as distinctive as those of the Scottish tartans, but they do not belong to clans, but belong to populations, regions or specific artists.
38. In Mali, "wari" is played a lot, a board game that consists in capturing the chips or "seeds" of the opponent. It is practiced between two people.
39. Dance is another of the curiosities of Mali . It is very important is the traditional celebrations and is accompanied by some characteristic masks.
40. The Dogones, an ethnic group that lives in the center of the country, have more than 75 different ritual masks for their traditional dances.
41. In Mali, as in other countries in the area, it is easy to find "jelis" or "griots". They are storytellers who are usually accompanied by music. They are the repositories of the oral tradition of the country.
42. There are also women in Mali who act as griots and are known as "yelimusas".
43. Unfortunately in Mali, female ablation is practiced, especially among the Dogons.
44. The Dogons, who we have already said live in the center of Mali, are an ethnic group with strong and deep-rooted customs and religious beliefs. When women have menstruation they are considered impure and are separated from the group for 5 days in those who live in a cabin built for that purpose. Even the kitchen utensils are exclusive to them.
Village of the Dogones
45. The Mali food It is based on millet and rice, to which in the north they add couscous. They usually water the vegetables with sauces made with vegetables such as spinach or peanuts.
46. The maafe or peanut stew, a dish typical of many West African countries, originated in Mali. The Mandinga and the Bambara of Mali were its creators. It can be made with meat from various animals and is watered with a tomato and peanut sauce.
47. In addition to the Mali food You can try the typical drink that is the Djablani. It is made with hibiscus juice or baobab mixed with ginger. Apparently it's very, very refreshing.
48. Although it is a country with a Muslim majority, alcoholic beverages are not prohibited, although the locals discourage their consumption.
49. The infant mortality rate is the ninth highest in the world. They die before completing one year 69 of every thousand children born normal. This figure is very high. In Spain, 3'3 per thousand die and in Mexico 11'6.
50. Mali has important issues to resolve before becoming a modern country. Among them the female genital mutilation and the protection of children's rights.
Other curiosities of Africa | By countries
Have you been surprised by these curiosities of Mali , a country rich in history and with great ethnic diversity? If you are fascinated by African countries you may want to know more curiosities of Africa ? Then, explore the following list with the most amazing information of the African continent distributed by countries. Expand your knowledge and let yourself be surprised!
- Curiosities of Egypt
- Curiosities of Equatorial Guinea
- Curiosities of Morocco
- Curiosities of Kenya
- Curiosities of Madagascar
- Curiosities of Cape Verde
- Curiosities about Angola
Did you know these curiosities of Mali ? Have you been surprised to learn that in it you can find the largest adobe building in the world or that it is the third largest gold producer in Africa and despite this, it is one of the poorest countries in the continent? We have loved discovering all these curiosities about Mali! If you know some curious Mali data that we have not mentioned, share it with us and we can expand the list!
Images: Ferdinand Reus ,