), officially the Republic of Mali (French: République du Mali), is a landlocked country in West Africa. The sovereign state of Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara Desert, while the country's southern part, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Senegal rivers.
In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan.
French Sudan (then known as the Sudanese Republic) joined with Senegal in 1959, achieving independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation.
The name was originally derived from the Mandinka or Bambara word mali, meaning "hippopotamus", but it eventually came to mean "the place where the king lives".
Guinean writer Djibril Niane suggests in Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali (1965) that it is not impossible that Mali was the name given to one of the capitals of the emperors.
Some of Mali's prominent natural resources include gold, being the third largest producer of gold in the African continent, Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire (for which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire.
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