Map Courtesy CIA World Factbook
The Republic of Mali (République du Mali) is a land-locked nation in West Africa. It is the second largest country among West African nations. It borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its straight borders on the north stretch into the centre of the Sahara desert, while the country's south, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Senegal rivers. Formerly French Sudan, the country is named after the Empire of Mali.
The Sudanese Republic and Senegal became independent of France on September 22, 1960 as the Mali Federation. When Senegal withdrew after only a few months, the Sudanese Republic was renamed Mali. Rule by dictatorship was brought to a close in 1991 with a transitional government, and in 1992 when Mali's first democratic presidential election was held. Upon his reelection in 1997, President Konaré pushed through political and economic reforms and fought corruption. In 2002 he was succeeded in democratic elections by Amadou Toumani Touré.