Commune and town
View of Ségou
|• Total||37 km2 (14 sq mi)|
|Elevation||294 m (965 ft)|
|• Density||3,500/km2 (9,100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+0 (GMT)|
Ségou (Bambara: ߛߋߓߎ tr. Segu) is a town and an urban commune in south-central Mali that lies 235 kilometres (146 mi) northeast of Bamako on the right bank of the River Niger. The town is the capital of the Ségou Cercle and the Ségou Region. With 130,690 inhabitants in 2009, it is the fifth-largest town in Mali.
The village of Ségou-Koro, 10 km (6.2 mi) upstream of the present town, was established in the 17th century and became the capital of the Bambara Empire.
In the middle of the 19th century there were four villages with the name of Ségou spread out over a distance of around 12 km (7.5 mi) along the right bank of the river. They were, starting from the most upstream, Ségou-Koro (Old Ségou), Ségou-Bougou, Ségou-Koura (New Ségou) and Ségou-Sikoro. The present town is on the site of Ségou-Sikoro.
The village of Ségou-Koro prospered after Biton Mamary Coulibaly became king in 1712 and founded the Ségou (or Bamana) Empire. Mungo Park became the first European known to have visited the village in 1796.The empire gradually declined and was conquered by El Hadj Umar Tall's Toucouleur Empire in 1861, then by the French Army Colonel Louis Archinard in 1890.
Ségou has contested origins. Some claim that the word Ségou come from "Sikoro", meaning to the foot of a shea butter tree. Others argue that it was named after Cheikou, a marabout who founded the city, while still other theories support the claim that Ségou was founded by the Bozo fishermen coming from the north, who established their villages along the Niger River.
The 11th century CE saw an influx of the Soninke people, who were trying to escape from the expansion of the Ghana Empire, with Mandinka populations following. It is believed that Kaladjan Koulibaly, founder of the Bambara Kingdom's Koulibaly dynasty established the first sedentary villages here at his time. The later Diarra dynasty moved the capital of the Bambara Kingdom to Ségou.
Ségou Koro is located about ten kilometres from Ségou, on the road to Bamako. Segou Koro was created by the founder of the Bambara dynasty. During the 17th century, Bambara coming from Djenné, led by Kaladjan Koulibaly settled along the Niger River.Danfassari, Koulibaly's son continued his father's work by building his city there. After Koulibaly's death, his eldest grandson Mamari—also known as Biton—ruled the city and made it flourish. Today the town in some ways conserves the tradition and architecture of the ancient city.
The Bambaras from Djenné with Kaladjan Koulibaly established their nation along the Niger River and founded the town of Ségou-Koro, the capital of the Bambara state. Bortolot (2003) says that Ségou evolved from a simple social structure, characterized by hunting and farming, to a more complex city dominated by a dynasty system.
One of Koulibaly's descendants, Mamary Coulibaly, became the chief of the Bi-Ton and later took the name Biton. Biton spread terror, organised the army, and restructured the association into a city. He expanded the territory from Segou Koro to Timbuktu. Under his rule, the Macina and Djenné trading centers became a part of Ségou. Timbuktu was not part of Ségou. It remained autonomous and paid tribute to Biton.
After Biton's death in 1755, one of the Coulibaly family slaves, Ngolo Diarra, obtained power to control the Bambara kingdom and established the Diarra dynasty. Ngolo Diarra ruled Ségou until the 19th century. He moved the kingdom's capital from Segou-Koro to Ségou-Sikoro, close to the site of the current city. Diarra continued Biton's conquest and extended the kingdom from Guinea to Timbuktu.
In March 1861, the Muslim Toucouleur leader, El Hadj Oumar Tall, conquered the town.On his death in 1864, he was succeeded by his son Ahmadu Tall. Ahmadu had to deal with Bambara rebellions and challenges from his brothers but he continued to rule until 1890 when the town fell to French forces led by Colonel Louis Archinard.
Ségou is situated 235 km from Bamako, on the right bank of the Niger River. The urban commune is bordered to the east by the commune of Pelengana, to the west by the commune of Sébougou and to the south by the commune of Sakoïba.
The commune is subdivided into 15 quartiers: Alamissani, Angoulême, Bagadadji, Bougoufié, Comatex, Dar Salam, Hamdallaye, Médine, Mission Catholique, Missira, Ségou Coura, Sido Soninkoura, Somono, Sokalakono, Bananissabakoro.
Ségou has a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh). The city is irrigated by two important waterways: the Niger and the Bani River. Ségou has two seasons: a rainy season and a dry season. The rainy season starts in May and lasts about five months until September. Ségou's dry season includes a cold period and a period of heat. The average yearly rainfall is about 513 mm. The harmattan is the dominant wind in the dry season and it blows from north to south. The monsoon blowing from south to north-west is more frequent during rainy season (hivernage).
|Climate data for Segou, Mali (1961–1990)|
|Average high °C (°F)||31.9|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||24.2|
|Average low °C (°F)||16.4|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||0.3|
|Average precipitation days||0.2||0.1||0.4||2.0||4.9||8.6||14.1||17.1||11.2||3.3||0.2||0.1||62.2|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||281.2||256.1||275.1||253.1||264.4||253.9||248.7||231.0||241.5||272.4||264.8||271.7||3,113.9|
The Ségou Region's population was about 2,338,349 in 2009. With a rural population that is largely nomadic semi-sedentary or sedentary, the population consists of many ethnic groups, such as Bambara, Bozo, Fulani, Soninke, Malinke and Toucouleur.
Bambaras are mostly farmers and are the most numerous ethnic group. Their language is Bambara or Djoula. The Bozos are the second most populous ethnic group. They typically live near the shore of the Niger river, in small towns of small houses. The Bozo economy is based on fishing. Bozo people have a monopoly on the transport system because of their knowledge of the Niger, its shallows and seasonal lakes, and are regarded as the masters of water. The Somono, also fishermen, are not a distinct ethnic group but a mixture of Bambara, Bozo and Soninke. The Malinké, Maninka, and Mandinka are closely related to Bambaras: They share costumes, religious beliefs, and practices with the Bambaras. The Marka, Saracollé or Soninke are merchants and warriors. The Soninke people are great travelers and Muslims, and have largely conserved their traditions.
The Bambaras used to transmit their knowledge by oral tradition, hence much of their art and culture is unknown. Ségou's cultural heritage includes traditional musical instruments, wonderful griots, folkloric groups and the traditional masks and marionettes. The history of the Bambara state's traditional religious practices are ambiguous. They practice animism and fetishism as cultural practices, and also totemic and monism (cult of ancestors). The most famous Ségou handcrafts are based on pottery, weaving (blankets, wrappers and carpets), manufacturing of Bogolan (a distinctive variation of Mud cloth), painting and sculpture. Ségou is also regarded as the capital of Malian pottery with a large pottery district in Kalabougou situated on the left bank. Women make the pottery by hand with the clay coming from the Niger River and bring the finished works to the local Monday market.
The University of Ségou was founded in 2009.
Among the places of worship, they are predominantly Muslim mosques. : Roman Catholic Diocese of Ségou (Catholic Church), Église Chrétienne Évangélique du Mali (Alliance World Fellowship), Assemblies of God.There are also Christian churches and temples
Ségou has two architectural styles: French Colonial and traditional Sudanese and neo-Sudanese. The Sudanese style influenced public building and important residences. Monuments and great mosques are also built according to this style. Many of Sudano-Sahelian's kings built imposing palaces in the cities over which they ruled and most of these buildings are in red clay. The materials used for building are generally quite poor and many of the buildings need to be restored to maintain their state.
Today, Ségou is known for its pottery, its market and its fishing industry. Attractions in the old town of Ségou-Koro included a mosque, Coulibaly's tomb and an ancient tree. In the city center, the main landmark is the water tower.
The most important economic activities are fishing, cattle herding and small scale farming. The main crop is rice pearl millet but sorghum ( Sorghum bicolor ) and black-eyed peas are also grown. The yields are generally low.There are two factories processing cotton: Compagnie Malienne des Textiles (COMATEX) and Compagnie malienne pour le développement du textile (CMDT). Commerce consists mostly of the small scale exchange and sale of products from the primary sector, sold weekly at the large Sudano-Sahelian market, drawing customers from far outside of the city. The main products sold are vegetables, pottery, cotton, leather, fruit, ovens, cattle and cereals.
The headquarters of the Office du Niger is based in the town. The Office du Niger is a semi-autonomous government agency that administers a large irrigation scheme in the Ségou Region to the north of the Niger River.
Notable people from Ségou include Adame Ba Konare, Fanta Damba, Garan Fabou Kouyate, Mountaga Tall,and Bassekou Kouyate.
Maryse Condé's historical novel Segu tells the city's history from 1797 to its 1860 defeat by El Hajj Oumar Tall's army.
Ségou is twinned with:
Bamako is the capital and largest city of Mali, with a 2009 population of 1,810,366. In 2006, it was estimated to be the fastest-growing city in Africa and sixth-fastest in the world. It is located on the Niger River, near the rapids that divide the upper and middle Niger valleys in the southwestern part of the country.
The Music of Mali is, like that of most African nations, ethnically diverse, but one influence predominates; that of the ancient Mali Empire of the Mandinka. Mande people make up 50% of the country's population, other ethnic groups include the Fula (17%), Gur-speakers 12%, Songhai people (6%), Tuareg and Moors (10%) and another 5%, including Europeans. Mali is divided into eight regions; Gao, Kayes, Koulikoro, Mopti, Ségou, Sikasso, Tombouctou and Bamako.
The Bambara are a Mandé ethnic group native to much of West Africa, primarily southern Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Senegal. Today they make up the largest Mandé ethnic group in Mali, with 80% of the population speaking the Bambara language, regardless of ethnicity.
Bla is a small town in Mali's Ségou Region, located 85 kilometers south of Ségou along Mali's main highway. Bla serves as a central location for NGO activity in the region and is a crossroads for transportation going northeast to Mopti and Gao, as well as south to Sikasso, Burkina Faso, and Côte d'Ivoire. Bla is also the main town for the Djonka, a sub-group of the Bamana. The town's population as of 2004 was around 15,000 people.
The Bozo are a Mande ethnic group located predominantly along the Niger River in Mali. The name Bozo is thought to derive from Bambara bo-so "straw house"; the people accept it as referring to the whole of the ethnic group but use more specific clan names such as Sorogoye, Hain, and Tieye themselves. They are famous for their fishing and are occasionally referred to as the "masters of the river".
Mopti is the fifth administrative region of Mali, covering 79,017 km2. Its capital is the city of Mopti. During the 2012 Northern Mali conflict, the frontier between Southern Mali which is controlled by the central government and the rebel-held North ran through Mopti Region.
Mopti is a town and an urban commune in the Inner Niger Delta region of Mali. The town is the capital of the Mopti Cercle and the Mopti Region. Situated 630 km northeast of Bamako, the town lies at the confluence of the Niger and the Bani Rivers and is linked by an elevated causeway to the town of Sévaré. The urban commune, which includes both Mopti and Sévaré, had a population of 114,296 in the 2009 census.
Ségou Region is an administrative region in Mali, situated in the centre of the country with an area of 64,821 km2. The region is bordered by Sikasso Region on the south, Tombouctou and Mopti on the east, Burkina Faso to the southeast and the Koulikoro Region to the west. In 2009 it had 2,336,255 inhabitants, making it the second most populous region of Mali. Its administrative capital is the town of Ségou.
The Bamana Empire was a large West African state based at Ségou, now in Mali. This state was established after the fall of the Mali Empire and the Keita dynasty, as a smaller Bambara Empire founded by other Bambara families related to the Keita clan. It was ruled by the Kulubali or Coulibaly dynasty established c. 1640 by Kaladian Coulibaly also known as Fa Sine or Biton-si-u. The empire existed as a centralized state from 1712 until the 1862 invasion of Toucouleur conqueror, El Hadj Umar Tall.
Omar Saidou Tall, , born in Futa Tooro, Senegambia, was a West African political leader, Islamic scholar, Tijani Sufi and Toucouleur military commander who founded a brief empire encompassing much of what is now Guinea, Senegal, and Mali.
The Toucouleur Empire (1861–1890) was founded in the mid-nineteenth century by Omar Saidou Tall of the Toucouleur people, in part of present-day Mali.
The Massina Empire was an early nineteenth-century Fulbe Jihad state centered in the Inner Niger Delta area of what is now the Mopti and Ségou Regions of Mali. Its capital was at Hamdullahi.
Bitòn Coulibaly founded the Bambara Empire in what is now Mali's Ségou Region and Mopti Region.
Ngolo Diarra was the king of the Bambara Empire from 1766 to 1795.
Kaarta, or Ka'arta, was a short-lived Bambara kingdom in what is today the western half of Mali.
Goundam is a commune and town in north central Mali, in the Tombouctou Region. It is the capital of Goundam Cercle, one of five subdivisions of the Region. In the 2009 census the commune had a population of 16,253. The main ethnic groups are Songhay, Tuareg and Fulani.
Articles related to Mali include:
The Battle of Ségou was a decisive point in the growth of the Toucouleur Empire (1850-1890), which spread throughout the upper Niger River and Senegal River bassins in the late 19th century. It marked the destruction of the last of the Songhay successor states, the beginning of El Hadj Umar Tall's conflict with fellow Fula Jihad leader of Macina, and a Toucouleur movement to the east under pressure from French Colonial expansion in the Senegambia.
Médine is a village and principal settlement (chef-lieu) of the commune of Hawa Dembaya in the Cercle of Kayes in the Kayes Region of south-western Mali. The village is located 12 km east of Kayes on the left bank of the Sénégal River just downstream of the Félou Falls. The site of the village was historically important as the falls were the furthest point up the Sénégal River from Saint Louis that could be reached by boat. Navigation was only possible after the rainy season when the river was in flood.
Ségou Cercle is an administrative subdivision of the Ségou Region of Mali. The administrative center (chef-lieu) is the town of Ségou.
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