Daniel Halliday
Aug 4 · Last update 6 mo. ago.
How did Mali's history lead it to its current tense and violent elections?
How did Mali go from one of the richest pre-colonial empires in the world to a country so wrought with lasting politically violent tensions?
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Violence here follows from the Tuareg independence movement and a push for an independent state
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There was a slow and steady decline in the Malian Empire which has lead to its current circumstances
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French colonisers failure to eradicate slavery and bring together a divided country
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The empire ended, Mali is simply named after this historic empire
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Violence here follows from the Tuareg independence movement and a push for an independent state

The Tuareg fight for independence arguably goes back to rebelling against French colonialism in 1881. Tuareg territory and culture was dismantled through colonialism, and there have been a long run of rebellious pushes for independence in the post-colonial era. Violence surrounding the latest elections in Mali took place originally as a protest against the re-election of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. However this violence was arguably more pronounced due to the long history of ethnic tensions following the latest move for Tuareg independence in the country that ended in 2013.

In the late 19th Century as French colonialism pushed through central Sahara, the former French soldier Paul Flatters lead the Flatters expedition to investigate the possibility of a trans-Saharan railroad. The expedition ended in a massacre committed by Tuareg groups (the Kel Ahaggar, the Awlad Sidi Shaykh and the Senussi) and marked the start of a bloody French campaign in North Africa. Numerous battles continued and massacres occurred on both sides as the French pushed to take over the region, and Tuareg groups such as the Kel Ahaggar in southern Algeria fought hard to resist French colonialism. All Tuareg tribes slowly fell victim to superior French weaponry and signed Treaties in Mali and Niger ceding power to France in 1905 and 1917 respectively, as a result the Tuareg’s confederate tribal system that spanned five North African countries was dismantled and split between Niger, Mali, Algeria, Libya, and Burkina Faso.

Tuareg territory remained divided up amongst post-colonial states following independence movements across North Africa throughout in the 60’s. This led to conflicts over resources between Tuareg and neighbouring people groups as restrictions were placed on nomadisation because of population growth and the exacerbation of desertification by human activity in the region. This lead many Tuaregs to settle and take up farming or settle in towns and cities, seeking jobs instead of traditional herding. Tuaregs have been leading rebellions for independence since the 60’s, something which has risen to prominence repeatedly as the result of a resurgence of Berber culture throughout North Africa in the 1990’s, and again through the rise of Islamism from 2012 onward.

everything.explained.today/Paul_Flatters bradshawfoundation.com/tuareg globalresearch.ca/the-crisis-in-mali-a-historical-perspective-on-the-tuareg-people/5321407

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Daniel Halliday
May 7
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DH edited this paragraph
The Tuareg fight for independence arguably goes back to rebelling against French colonialism in 1881. Tuareg territory and culture was dismantled through colonialism, and there have been a long run of rebellious pushes for independence in the post-colonial era. Violence surrounding the latest elections in Mali took place originally as a protest against the re-election of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. However this violence was arguably more pronounced due to the long history of ethnic tensions following the latest move for Tuareg independence in the country that ended in 2013.
There was a slow and steady decline in the Malian Empire which has lead to its current circumstances

Present day Mali is home to some of the largest and most prosperous African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade including the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire and the Songhai Empire, collectively spanning from around the 8th to the 16th centuries. The region reached its peak around the 14th century as part of the Mali Empire, becoming famous as a centre mathematics, arts, literature, and astronomy due to its economical flourishing. The empire however slowly declined losing first territory to subsequent foreign rulers, until suffering to famine and colonialism in later centuries, both have left this once great empire to a fiercely divided country in the present day.

Mali’s Empire is well known from the Hajj of Mansa Musa, the Emperor of Mali, thought to be one of the richest men in history, who carried out a pilgrimage from Timbuktu to Mecca in 1324, building a mosque every Friday and giving unthinkable amounts of gold to peasants on the way. Musa’s unimaginable wealth is thought to have been a combination of a comprehensive tax system and a large amount of natural resources, namely gold and salt. His trade and generosity was also so great that his pilgrimage is reported to have devalued the price of gold in Egypt and Arabia for 12 years. Musa returned to Mali in 1325 and continued to have mosques and palaces built in Timbuktu and Gao, even converting Sankoré University to have one of the largest libraries in the world before his death in 1337.

However after generations of weak emperors throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, the Songhai Empire rose to prominence as Mali declined. The Mali Empire continued to lose its once massive territories in subsequent generations until a famine in the 19th century devastated the region. This was followed by French colonial rule in the latter part of the century and independence from French rule in 1960. After a period of one party rule of the country a coup in 1991 gave rise to the current multiparty system in Mali.

web.archive.org/web/20131214115452/http://muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?ArticleID=371 blackpast.org/global-african-history/mali-empire-ca-1200

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Daniel Halliday
May 7
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DH edited this paragraph
Mali’s Empire is well known from the Hajj of Mansa Musa, the Emperor of Mali, thought to be one of the richest men in history, who carried out a pilgrimage from Timbuktu to Mecca in 1324, building a mosque every Friday and giving unthinkable amounts of gold to peasants on the way. Musa’s unimaginable wealth is thought to have been a combination of a comprehensive tax system and a large amount of natural resources, namely gold and salt. His trade and generosity was also so great that his pilgrimage is reported to have devalued the price of gold in Egypt and Arabia for 12 years. Musa returned to Mali in 1325 and continued to have mosques and palaces built in Timbuktu and Gao, even converting Sankoré University to have one of the largest libraries in the world before his death in 1337.
French colonisers failure to eradicate slavery and bring together a divided country

The period between the Empire of Mali and modern Mali is a vast amount of time with many changes taking place. However it is arguably under the years of French colonialism that disastrous policy put Mali’s current state of affairs in place. Controlling, subjugating and reorganising regions in what has become Mali has laid the foundation for a divided country to fester into violent rebellion, and the French military continues in efforts to stabilise this situation in Mali to this day.

The Ancient Mali Empire was thought to have been where Sufi Islam merged with indigenous animist beliefs that many ethnic groups still practice today. This was distinct from the Sunni Islam of the subsequent Tuareg Berber tribes that came to occupy a region of central Sahara that covers present day Mali, Algeria, Libya, Niger and as far south as Burkina Faso. By the twentieth century France had come to control most of North-West Africa during the ’scramble for Africa’, and the Tuareg territory, then divided into confederations, was dismantled and rearranged to fit today's modern country borders.

In 1905 France officially ended the slave trade in the French West African colony, and many slaves were given French sponsored land to move away from their former masters. However, this decree was only maintained in the South West of the territory, and the Tuareg population of the North East carried on with slaves as a normal part of their households for decades later, only sharpening the ethnic, religious and and cultural divide further. These large differences coupled with a French colonial policy intended to not let Islam become too powerful a force in the country solidified these sharp ethnic and religious divides, which continue in the country to this very day as France is still fighting Islamic terrorism here presently. French colonialism and ongoing foreign policy has therefore laid the foundation for current conflict and strife for regional autonomy in the country.

clingendael.org/pub/2015/the_roots_of_malis_conflict/2_rebellion_and_fragmentation_in_northern_mali southfront.org/mali-french-colonialism-a-la-gauche thebrokeronline.eu/Blogs/Sahel-Watch-a-living-analysis-of-the-conflict-in-Mali/Five-strategic-failures-of-the-French-intervention-in-Mali

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Daniel Halliday
May 7
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DH edited this paragraph
The period between the Empire of Mali and modern Mali is a vast amount of time with many changes taking place. However it is arguably under the years of French colonialism that disastrous policy put Mali’s current state of affairs in place. Controlling, subjugating and reorganising regions in what has become Mali has laid the foundation for a divided country to fester into violent rebellion, and the French military continues in efforts to stabilise this situation in Mali to this day.
The empire ended, Mali is simply named after this historic empire

There are few parallels to be drawn between the historical Empire of Mali and the current Republic of Mali. The Empire of Mali rose to dominate the trans-Saharan gold, salt and slave trade in the early 14th century. It became the second largest empire in the world geographically at the time, smaller only than the Mongol Empire, and arguably the richest, due to the abundance of gold mines in the region. This however came to an end long before the modern Republic of Mali, which took its name from the Historic Empire following countless regional name changes under French colonial rule.

Although these states share a name they haven’t even shared the same territory, the territory that is today known as Mali is only part of what made up this historical empire. What started with the Ghana Empire, came to be the Mali Empire in the 11th and 12th centuries, but was eventually overtaken and lost territory to the Songhai Empire during the 16th century, only to lose Timbuktu to a Moroccan invasion in 1599 and finally Niani to the Bambara Empire in 1751. The modern borders of the Republic of Mali where drawn up in 1891 when the region was colonised originally as French Sudan.

The latest violence surrounding the Mali elections were amidst the backdrop of a recent history of violent tensions, but a large reason for this violent protest was also police mistreatment and the failure of president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta to improve security in the country since 2013. But this is not a issue that is remotely linked to the old Empire of Mali, the true lineage of which ended with the death of Mansa Mahmud Keita IV circa 1610, and the territory later split between chieftains forced to pay tribute to later dynasties. Again the link between the two nations is questionable...

rightforeducation.org/2017/02/short-history-mali-empire britannica.com/place/French-West-Africa san.beck.org/1-13-Africa1500-1800.html

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Daniel Halliday
May 6
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DH edited this paragraph
The latest violence surrounding the Mali elections were amidst the backdrop of a recent history of violent tensions, but a large reason for this violent protest was also police mistreatment and the failure of president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta to improve security in the country since 2013. But this is not a issue that is remotely linked to the old Empire of Mali, the true lineage of which ended with the death of Mansa Mahmud Keita IV circa 1610, and the territory later split between chieftains forced to pay tribute to later dynasties. Again the link between the two nations is questionable...
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