September 22 is Independence Day in Mali. This national holiday commemorates the independence of Mali from France as the Republic of Mali in 1960.
Mali is a landlocked country located in West Africa. It was colonized by France in 1892. The colony was known as French Sudan and was administered as part of the Federation of French West Africa. The French obtained firm control over the area by 1905. In 1958, French Sudan was renamed the Sudanese Republic and was granted complete internal autonomy, joining the French Community.
In 1959, Senegal and the Sudanese Republic formed the Federation of Mali. On June 20, 1960, the Federation became fully independent from France. Two months later, Senegal withdrew from the Federation of Mali.
On September 22, 1960, the former Sudanese Republic gained independence as the Republic of Mali. Former Prime Minister of the Mali Federation Modibo Keïta became the first President of Mali.
Independence Day of Mali is widely celebrated across the country. The festivities include public speeches, wreath-laying ceremonies, parades, performances etc. The largest celebration is held in the capital city of Bamako. Independence Day is regarded as the national day of Mali.
Mali Independence Day History
Rallying under the banner of Islam and the leadership of Umar Tal who is a Muslim preacher, unified tribal groups came out during the 19th century. Umar formed an empire that extended from Tombouctou to Niger and Sénégal as he declared a holy war and armed his followers with guns. However, in 1893, the French defeated his son and successor, Ahmadu. South of Umar’s empire, the people of Mandinke united into an Islamic state under the leadership of Samory Touré. Samory and the people of Mandinke confronted the French troops as the French advanced into the area.
When Ahmadu and Samory were finally defeated, France took control of the area. Mali became part of the French colony of Haut-Sénégal-Niger in 1904.
After World War II, France banned any political activity in Africa. However, multiple parties eventually united to establish the Sudanese Union. The Sudanese Union became a force to reckon with during the 1950s. In 1956, France gave leaders from its colonial territories the autonomy they were seeking. When the reforms finally went into effect in 1957, the Sudanese Union was the main party.
A referendum was held, in 1958 whereby Sudan wanted to combine several French West African states in a new political federation but only Senegal and Sudan agreed and the formation of the Federation of Mali was completed in 1959.
In June 1960, Mali proclaimed its independence with Modibo Keita as president. In September, the federation broke up. Former French Sudan kept the name Mali and Keita remained president of the new Republic of Mali. After independence Mali were leaning towards socialist ideals when it comes to its policy of economic development.
Mali Independence Day Traditions, Customs and Activities
Mali and its people celebrate Independence Day with parades, political speeches, performances of traditional dances and patriotic hymns.