Geography

Djenné ceramics come from Mali which has a surface area of more than 1,200,000 km², which is about twice the size of France.

The north and the center of the country are practically Saharan: arid, dry and endemically suffering from drought. These are areas of nomadic cattle-raising (bovine, especially ovine and caprine) whose very poor economy suffers from the absence of maritime outlets and, with the exception of some gold lodes, an almost total lack of mineral resources.

The more humid south benefits from the Senegal and Niger river valleys where agricultural output is greater, principally fine quality millet, rice, sorghum, and groundnut... Mali is the second only to Egypt in African cotton production.

The Niger River, flowing from its source in Guinea, crosses Mali, passes through Bamako and Timbuktu and is used for agriculture irrigation.

The population of Mali is almost 9 million, three quarters of it being rural, and one quarter urban. About half of the population is under the age of 15, making Mali extraordinarily young and astonishingly vital.

The ethno-linguistically, the country has a Bambara-Malinke-Dioula majority (50%), as well as other ethnicities such as the Peul (10%), Dogon (7%), Songhaï (6%) and Tamashek (Tuaregs 4%).

King Koi Koumboro converted the country to Islam and built a prestigious mosque in Djenné in 1280. Today the country is 90% Muslim, 9% animist and 1% Christian.

In Mali, these various ethnic groups live together peacefully: the Songhaï, Peuls, Bambaras, Sarakolés, Bozos, Dogons and Mossi.