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Location within Mali
|• Total||496,611 km2 (191,743 sq mi)|
|• Density||1.4/km2 (3.6/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC±0 (UTC)|
|HDI (2017)||0.309 |
Tombouctou Region (Bambara: ߕߎߡߎߕߎ ߘߌߣߋߖߊ tr. Tumutu Dineja) is one of the administrative regions of Mali. It is the largest of Mali's eight regions and includes a large section of the Sahara Desert. For administrative purposes, the region is subdivided into five cercles.
The region is part of northern Mali that was separated and declared independent by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) during the Tuareg rebellion of 2012. In the course of the conflict, the MNLA lost control of the territory to Islamist militias.
Tombouctou Region is world-famous for its capital, the ancient city Timbuktu (French : Tombouctou), synonymous to 19th-century Europeans with an elusive, hard-to-reach destination. The city gained world fame in 1390 when its ruler, Mansa Musa, went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, stopping with his entourage in Egypt and dispensing enough gold to devalue the Egyptian currency. This started the legend of a city in the interior of Africa, where roads were said to be paved with gold and buildings topped with roofs of gold.[ citation needed ]
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The city is located at the southern edge of the Sahara, near the Niger River, which has headwaters in the highlands very near the Atlantic coast before its long 3,200 kilometres (2,000 mi) journey to the north east, before finally turning south to reach the Atlantic. The riches of the kingdom were due to Tombouctou's position as the southern terminus of the trans-Saharan trade in gold, salt, kola nuts, copper and slaves.
Timbuktu's decline began with the capture of the city by Morocco in 1592. Many Islamic scholars were dispersed, some to Morocco. Morocco had difficulty holding onto the city, as the supply lines were long compared to the closer kingdoms vying for dominance of the region. Ultimately, however, it was the rise of sea trade along the West Africa coast that doomed the overland routes that connected North Africa to sub-Saharan Africa. The city lost its economic base and its fine university was not enough to save Timbuktu from decline.
Cut off from major trade routes, the city retained an aura of spectacular treasure. When French explorers rediscovered the city in 1815 they were disappointed to find a sand-blown city of low mud buildings.
The region was marginalized under French colonial control, which ended in 1960. The French opened up shorter trade routes to the Atlantic, cutting into the trans-Sahara trading economy and people in the city.
In early 2012, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad and other militant groups opposed to the government of Mali swept through the region, entering Timbuktu without a fight after making a deal with local Arab militias. On 6 April 2012, the region was declared independent from Mali as part of the new country of Azawad. However, Mali refused to acknowledge the Azawadi Declaration of Independence, and the international community continues to recognise Bamako's claim to the region.
The region is divided into five cercles:
|Cercle name||Area (km2)||Population|
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.
Sikasso Region is the southern-most region of Mali. The region's capital city, Sikasso, is the country's second-largest city and is growing rapidly due to people fleeing the violence in Côte d'Ivoire to the south. Major ethnic groups include the Senoufo, known for masks and reverence for animals, the Samago, known for being Mali's best farmers, and the main ethnic group in Mali, the Bambara people. The local economy is based on farming and the Sikasso, which receives more rain than any other Malian region, is known for its fruits and vegetables.
Koulikoro Region is a region in western Mali. It is the second administrative area of Mali and covers an area of 90,120 km2. Its capital is the city of Koulikoro.
Kidal is a town and commune in the desert region of northern Mali. The town lies 285 km (177 mi) northeast of Gao and is the capital of the Kidal Cercle and the Kidal Region. The commune has an area of about 9,910 km2 (3,830 sq mi) and includes the town of Kidal and 31 other settlements.
Kidal Region the eighth administrative region of Mali, covering 151,450 square kilometres or 58,480 square miles. This area was formerly part of Gao Region, but was created as a separate region in 1991. It is located in the north of the country, within the territory which the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad proclaimed to be the independent nation-state of Azawad on 6 April 2012. This independence has not been recognized by any country or international organization. It was under the control of different armed movements such as the Ansar Dine and MNLA until January 2013, when French forces liberated the region. The Region's administrative capital is the town of Kidal.
The Gao Region is a region in northeastern Mali. The capital city is Gao.
Kéniéba Cercle is a subdivision of the Kayes Region of Mali. The administrative center (chef-lieu) is the town of Kéniéba.
Nioro Cercle is an administrative subdivision of the Kayes Region of Mali. Its administrative center (chef-lieu) is the town of Nioro du Sahel. The commune is on the Mauritanian border and has long been a major stop on the trans-Saharan trade.
Goundam Circle is a second-level administrative subdivision of the Tombouctou Region in northern Mali. Its administrative center is the town of Goundam, although the most populous commune is that of Tonka. In the 2009 census, the circle had a population of 150,150.
Bougouni Cercle is an administrative subdivision of the Sikasso Region of Mali. The administrative center (chef-lieu) is the town of Bougouni.
Yorosso Cercle is an administrative subdivision of the Sikasso Region of southern Mali. The main town (chef-lieu) is Yorosso.
Douentza Cercle is an administrative subdivision of the Mopti Region of Mali. The administrative center (chef-lieu) is the town of Douentza.
Youwarou Cercle is an administrative subdivision of the Mopti Region of Mali. The administrative center (chef-lieu) is the town of Youwarou.
Diré Cercle is an administrative subdivision of the Tombouctou Region of Mali. The administrative center (chef-lieu) is the town of Diré.
Gourma-Rharous Cercle is an administrative subdivision of the Tombouctou Region of Mali. The administrative center is the town of Gourma-Rharous.
Niafunké Cercle is an administrative subdivision of the Tombouctou Region of Mali. The administrative center (chef-lieu) is the town of Niafunké. In the 2009 census the cercle had a population of 184,285. The Niger River runs for 100 km through the cercle.
Timbuktu Cercle is an administrative subdivision of the Tombouctou Region of Mali. It is the largest cercle by area in the whole of Mali. The capital lies at the city of Timbuktu. The cercle is divided into Rural and Urban Communes, and below this, quarters/villages. In the 2009 census the cercle had a population of 124,546.
Koumaïra is a rural commune and village of the Cercle of Niafunké in the Tombouctou Region of Mali. The village is on the south bank of the Bara-Issa, a branch of the Niger River that flows when the river is in flood. It lies 21 km south east of the town of Niafunké and 65 km north east of Lake Debo. The commune contains around 36 small settlements.
Haribomo is a rural commune of the Cercle of Gourma-Rharous in the Tombouctou Region of Mali. The commune contains 29 villages and in the 2009 census had a population of 7,389. The principal village (chef-lieu) is Daka Fifo.
Lafia is a commune of the Cercle of Timbuktu in the Tombouctou Region of Mali. The administrative center (chef-lieu) is the village of Aglal.
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