The Republic of Mali is a country in West Africa. The landlocked country is bounded by Mauritania, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Cote D'Ivoire, Burkina Faso. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa and one of the hottest countries in the world, because the thermal equator crosses Mali. The capital and largest city is Bamako, one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa. 1,2 million people live in Mali. Mali’s official language is French, but Bambara is the most frequently spoken language in Mali.

Some history facts - in the late 19th century Mali was a France colony and it became part of the French Sudan. After almost a century of French rule, Mali joined with Senegal to achieve independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation. Shortly Senegal withdrew from the Federation and the country became the Republic of Mali. After a long one-party rule, a military coup in 1991 led to the adoption of a new constitution and the establishment of a democratic multi-party state. Since the dawn of the 21st century, many multiple military and political rebellions against of the Mali central government. Mali was politically stable until the military coup in March 2012.

The Order of the Gold Medal of Independence is the highest title and was conferred upon Malian citizens in recognition of contributions made to the independence of Mali, another African state, or Africa in general.


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