What are facts about Mali?

10 interesting facts:
1. The following items can be taken into Mali without any customs duty: 1000 cigarettes or 250 cigars or 2 kg of tobacco; 2 bottles of alcoholic beverages; a reasonable amount of perfume for personal use.
2. Departure tax at Bamako airport is US$5 for internal flights and US$18 for international flights.
3. In the history of Mali there have been three great empires: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire and the Songhay Empire.
4. Salt was such a valuable commodity that people would trade a pound of gold for a pound of salt. Mali is famous for its salt mines.
5. Mali's food supply is insufficient to feed all the people of the country especially in times of drought.
6. Swarms of locusts in 2004 severely cut Mali's cereal harvest.
7. In October 2008 Niger's government was found guilty of failing to protect Hadijatou Mani from slavery. The ruling is said to have implications for other African countries where slavery persists.
8. The ancient mosque in Timbuktu has a door which has never been opened. It is said that opening the door will signal the end of world.
9.The life expectancy is only 45 years old.
10.Mali gained independence in 1959 with Senegal, as the Mali Federation in 1959. A year later, the Mali Federation became the independent nation of Mali in 1960.

The west African empire of Mali was created by the leader Sundiata. In 1235 the area of this empire covered most of west Africa south of the Sahaha Desert to the North. The religion of Islam was the main one of the wealthiest members of this new kingdom. Upon the death of Sundiata, his heir, Mansa Musa, soldified Isalm as the main one in his empire by making a pilgrimage to Mecca.

The empire in this area south of the Sahara Desert was valuable for gold and precious minerals. The city of Djenne became a center for Islamic studies and was a trading city for slaves & gold. By 1591 however, this empire was ended by the invasion of Moroccans who crossed the Sahara from the North.