Mali, landlocked country of western Africa, mostly in the Saharan and Sahelian regions. Mali is largely flat and arid. The Niger River flows through its interior, functioning as the main trading and transport artery in the country. Sections of the river flood periodically, providing much-needed fertile agricultural soil along its banks as well as creating pasture for livestock.

Although Mali is one of the largest countries in Africa, it has a relatively small population, which is largely centred along the Niger River. The Bambara (Bamana) ethnic group and language predominate, with several other groups—including the Fulani (Fulbe), Dogon, and Tuareg—also present in the population. Agriculture is the dominant economic sector in the country, with cotton production, cattle and camel herding, and fishing among the major activities.

Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire (after which Ghana is named), the Mali Empire (after which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire. During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy, literature, and art. At its peak in 1300, the Mali Empire covered an area about twice the size of modern-day France and stretched to the west coast of Africa. 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. Shortly thereafter, following Senegal’s withdrawal from the federation, the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali. After a long period of one-party rule, a coup in 1991 led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state.

“Un Peuple, Un But, Une Foi” (French)
“One People, One Goal, One Faith”

Anthem: “Le Mali” (French) / “Mali” (English)

“Le Mali” Listen to the Malian national anthem
French lyricsEnglish translation
1. A ton appel Mali
Pour ta prospérité
Fidèle à ton destin
Nous serons tous unis
Un Peuple un But une Foi
Pour une Afrique Unie
Si l’ennemi découvre son front
Au dedans ou au dehors
Debout sur les remparts
Nous sommes résolus de mourir

Pour l’Afrique et pour toi Mali
Notre drapeau sera liberté
Pour l’Afrique et pour toi Mali
Notre combat sera unité
O Mali d’aujourd’hui
O Mali de demain
Les champs fleurissent d’espérance
Les cœurs vibrent de confiance

2. Debout villes et campagnes
Debout Femmes Jeunes et Vieux
Pour la Patrie en marche
Vers l’avenir radieux
Pour notre dignité
Renforçons bien nos rangs
Pour le salut public
Forgeons le bien commun
Ensemble au coude à coude
Faisons le chantier du bonheur


3. La voie est dure très dure
Qui mène au bonheur commun
Courage et dévouement
Vigilance à tout moment
Courage et dévouement
Vigilance à tout moment
Vérité des temps anciens
Vérité de tous les jours
Le bonheur par le labeur
Fera le Mali de demain


4. L’Afrique se lève enfin
Saluons ce jour nouveau
Saluons la liberté
Marchons vers l’Unité
Dignité retrouvée
Soutient notre combat
Fidèles à notre serment
De faire l’Afrique unie
Ensemble, debout mes frères
Tous au rendez-vous de l’honneur.
1. At your call, Mali,
So that you may prosper,
Faithful to your destiny,
We shall all be united,
One people, one goal, one faith
For a united Africa.
If the enemy should show himself
Within or without,
On the ramparts,
We are ready to stand and die.

For Africa and for you, Mali,
Our banner shall be liberty.
For Africa and for you, Mali,
Our fight shall be for unity.
Oh, Mali of today,
Oh, Mali of tomorrow,
The fields are flowering with hope
And hearts are thrilling with confidence.

2. Stand up, towns and countryside,
Stand up, women, stand up young and old,
For the Fatherland on the road
Towards a radiant future.
For the sake of our dignity
Let us strengthen our ranks;
For the public well-being
Let us forge the common good.
Together, shoulder to shoulder,
Let us work for happiness.


3. The road is hard, very hard,
That leads to common happiness.
Courage and devotion,
Constant vigilance,
Courage and devotion,
Constant vigilance,
Truth from olden times,
The truths of every day,
Happiness through effort
Will build the Mali of tomorrow.


4. Africa is at last arising,
Let us greet this new day.
Let us greet freedom,
Let us march towards unity.
Refound dignity
Supports our struggle.
Faithful to our oath
To make a united Africa,
Together, arise, my brothers,
All to the place where honour calls.

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