Location: Mali is a land-locked state in West Africa. It was proclaimed an independent republic in 1960.
History: The area was part of the great Mali Empire, until the 15th century. In 1904, it became a French colony named French Union. In June 1960 it became independent and was named the Sudanese Republic. The Sudanese Republic federated with Senegal in the Mali Federation that year. Senegal then withdrew from this and the Sudanese Republic changed its name to the Republic of Mali on September 22, 1960. Amadou Toumani Traore was in power from 1968 to 1991.
Agreements were signed with Tuareg in surgents in the north '91, '92 and '94. A special administration for the Tuareg north was provided in 1992. In January '99, ex-President Traore was condemned to death for economic crimes.
Crops & Industry: The country is poor in natural resources. Only about 20 percent of the land is cultivable. The main crops are rice, millet, groundnuts and cotton. Livestock-raising is important and the processing of hides and skins remains the chief industry. There is extensive river-fishing and good export trade in dried and smoked fish.