Mali - Country history and economic development

300. Mali becomes part of the great Ghana empire of West Africa.

1076. Muslim Almoravids from Mauritania invade the Ghana empire and set up a capital at Kumbi 200 kilometers (124 miles) north of present-day Bamako.

1350. Sundiata Keita, leader of the Mandinka people, founds the Mali empire and converts to Islam as a gesture to his northern neighbors and trading partners.

1464. The Songhai, an Islamic empire originating in western Sudan, makes raids, eclipses the empire of Mali, and embarks on a systematic conquest of the Sahel.

1591. The Songhai empire collapses after an invasion from Morocco and an ensuing revolt by its subject peoples.

1880. French begin to subjugate the interior of Mali, then called Sudan.

1893. French appoint a governor to Sudan.

1959. Former French colony of Sudan merges with Senegal to form the Federation of Mali.

1960. Federation of Mali attains independence from France. Two months later, Senegal secedes. The Republic of Mali is proclaimed on 22 September led by President Modibo Keita with a single political party, Union Soudanaise-Ressemblement Democratique Africain (US-RDA). Keita's Marxist regime severs links with France.

1962. Mali withdraws from CFA franc zone.

1967. Agreement is reached with France for Mali's return to the CFA franc zone.

1968. Keita dissolves National Assembly. Young officers stage successful coup d'etat in November, suspending the constitution and banning all political activity. Lieutenant Moussa Traoré assumes the presidency.

1974. New constitution is approved by referendum providing for the establishment, after 5-year transition period, of a 1-party state.

1976. Union Democratiqe du Peuple Malien (UDPM) is announced as the new ruling party and the only legal party.

1977. Keita dies in detention. Hostile demonstrations from supporters of the old regime and proponents of multiparty democracy occurs.

1979. Presidential and legislative elections are held in June, with Traoré as sole candidate for presidency, winning 99 percent of the vote cast while a single list of UPDM candidates are elected to the legislature.

1981. Constitutional amendment increases the president's term from 5 to 6 years and decreases that of national assembly from 4 to 3 years. The Traoré government undertakes a program of economic liberalization in cooperation with the World Bank and western donors.

1982. Legislative election occurs in June with a single list of UDPM candidates.

1983. Severe drought occurs.

1985. Traoré is re-elected president as sole candidate with 98 percent of the vote cast.

1992. In January the Alliance pour la Démocratie au Mali (ADEMA) wins the country's first multiparty elections. In April Alpha Oumar Konare, ADEMA's leader, is elected president, and a cross-party government is formed.

1994. In January the CFA franc is devalued by 50 percent, raising prices of imports in local currency and reducing import quantities, while at the same time increasing the local revenue from sale of exports and increasing export quantities.

1997. First round of the legislative elections are won by ADEMA but annulled by the constitutional court because of badly organised ballotting, with ballot papers not available, polling stations not open at the designated times, and voters unsure of where they should vote. In the face of a widespread opposition boycott, Konare is re-elected in May. ADEMA wins the re-run of the legislative elections in August. The radical opposition comes together under the umbrella of the Collectif des Partis Politiques de l'Opposition (Collective of Political Opposition Parties, COPPO).

1999. Konare convenes a national forum which is boycotted by the opposition. ADEMA wins the majority of the country's seats in the second round of municipal elections, which are also boycotted by the opposition.

2000. Mali is granted debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries program.

2001. Railway from Bamako to the coast at Dakar in Senegal reopens. Dam at Tallo in central Mali to improve irrigation for rice cultivation is opposed by local and environmental groups.

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