The Republic of Mali is a large, northwest African country with 14 million citizens, who live in a terrain bordered and landlocked by seven other nations, including Algeria, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania. Mali stands at the crossroads of global exchange in Africa, weaving a hybridity of Arab, West African, and European cultures enmeshed through centuries of trade, conquest, empire, and colonial relationships. Though poverty-stricken and consisting of predominantly nonarable desert, Mali is considered to be one of the most democratic nations in Africa, with free and fair elections, an open and variegated press, and a successfully practicing multiparty republic. Formerly called the French Sudan under colonial rule and later the Sudanese Republic, at independence in 1960, the nation of Mali faced a two-decade dictatorship and ...

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