Bamako (bämäkōˈ) [key], city (1987 pop. 646,163), capital of Mali and of its Bamako region, SW Mali, on the Niger River. It is the nation's administrative center, as well as a river port, a junction on the Dakar-Niger RR, and a major regional trade center. Manufactures include textiles, processed meat, and metal goods. Bamako ships shea-nut oil, kapok, cotton, and peanuts. There is commercial fishing on the Niger. Bamako was a leading center of Muslim learning under the Mali empire (c.11th–15th cent.) but by the 19th cent. had declined into a small village. In 1883 it was occupied by French troops. In 1908, Bamako became the capital of the French Sudan (see Mali) and began to develop into a major city. As a result of a conference of Africans from French West and Equatorial Africa, held in Bamako in 1946, the Rassemblement démocratique africain, an important regional political party, was founded. Bamako is a picturesque city, with a botanical and zoological park and many decorative gardens. Bamako's educational institutions include schools of administration, medicine, and engineering. The city also has an international airport.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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