Mali (German [Mali], French [mali], officially the Republic of Mali) is a landlocked country in West Africa. The 1.24 million sq km state is populated by 14.5 million people. Its capital is Bamako. Most of the population lives in the southern part of the country, which is crossed by the two streams Niger and Senegal. The North extends deep into the Sahara and is colonized extremely thin. In the area of today's Mali throughout history there were three kingdoms that controlled the trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire, after the modern state is named, and the Songhai Empire. In the golden age of Mali Islamic scholarship, mathematics, astronomy, literature and art flourished. In the late 19th century, Mali became part of the French colony Sudan. Together with the neighboring Senegal, Mali Federation in 1960 reached its independence. Shortly thereafter broke the Federation, and the country declared independence under its present name. After a long one-party rule by a military coup in 1991 led to the adoption of a new constitution and the establishment of a democratic multi-party state. In January 2012, the armed conflict escalated again in northern Mali. In the course of the Tuareg rebels proclaimed the secession of the state of Azawad from Mali. The conflict has been further complicated by the coup of March 2012 and subsequent fighting between Islamists and Tuareg. Given the territorial gains of the Islamists, the operation began Serval on 11 January 2013 and recaptured the majority of the North in the course of which Malian and French troops. The UN Security Conference supports the peace process with the deployment of MINUSMA. The main industries are agriculture, fishing and increasingly mining. Among the most important mineral resources include gold, of which Mali is the third largest producer in Africa, and salt. About half the population lives below the poverty line. In cultural fields Mali can boast long traditions. Especially in music, dance, literature and visual arts it leads an independent cultural life, which is known far beyond its borders. The country is in the Human Development Index on the 179th place.
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