Bamako

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Bamako, population 1,809,106 (2009 Census, provisional), is the capital and largest city of Mali, and currently estimated to be the fastest growing city in Africa (sixth fastest in the world).[6] It is located on the Niger River, near the rapids that divide the Upper and Middle Niger Valleys, in the southwestern part of the country. Bamako is the nation's administrative center as well as a cercle, with a river port located in nearby Koulikoro, and a major regional trade and conference center. Bamako is the seventh largest West African urban center after Lagos, Abidjan, Kano, Ibadan, Dakar and Accra. Manufactures include textiles, processed meat, and metal goods. There is commercial fishing on the Niger River.

The name Bamako comes from the Bambara word meaning "crocodile river".[7]

Contents

History

The area of the city has been continuously inhabited since the Palaeolithic era for more than 150,000 years. The fertile lands of the Niger River Valley provided the people with an abundant food supply and early kingdoms in the area grew wealthy as they established trade routes linking across west Africa the Sahara and leading to northern Africa and Europe. The early inhabitants traded gold, ivory, kola nuts and salt.[8] By the 11th century the Empire of Ghana became the first kingdom to dominate the area. Bamako had become a major market town, and a centre for Islamic scholars, with the establishment of two universities and numerous mosques in medieval times.[8]

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