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Who Were The First Settlers In Mali?

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The Republic of Mali is a country in Western Africa situated in the savanna region on the border of the Sahara Desert; the first settlers in the region are considered to be the 'Mande', an ethnic group believed to have descended from people living in the Central Saharan and Sahel savanna region.

The Mande people of Western Africa established several powerful and wealthy kingdoms in the past like the Kingdom of Ghana (700-1075), the Kingdom of Mali (1235-1546) and the Songhai Empire (1450-1590); the kingdoms were a major link in the trans Saharan trade routes and are credited with giving a distinct cultural identity to the region.

The Mande are believed to have been the first people on the African continent to practice weaving and according to recent archeological evidence had established stone settlements where they practiced agriculture, the first in Africa outside the Nile Valley. The region constituting present day Mali was occupied by the French in 1884 and was a part of the French colonial empire until the country gained independence on June 20, 1960.

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