|Former name (1898--1959): French Sudan a landlocked republic in West Africa: conquered by the French by 1898 and incorporated (as French Sudan) into French West Africa; became independent in 1960; settled chiefly in the basins of the Rivers Senegal and Niger in the south. Official language: French. Religion: Muslim majority, also animist. Currency: franc. Capital: Bamako. Pop: 13 408 000 (2004 est). Area: 1 248 574 sq km (482 077 sq miles)|
|a screen or mat covered with a dark material for shielding a camera lens from excess light or glare.|
|a chattering or flighty, light-headed person.|
Republic in west Africa bordered by Algeria to the north and east, Niger to the east, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast to the south, Guinea to the southwest, Senegal and Mauritania to the west. Its capital is Bamako. It became an independent nation in 1960.
Note: During the Middle Ages, Mali formed a huge territorial empire, noted as a center of Islamic study and as a trade route for gold. Its center was Timbuktu.