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The Bambara (or Bamana) of the Mandings Peoples

The Bambara (or Bamana) are one of the main subgroups of the Manding peoples (also called Mandinka or Mandingo) and are one of the two main groups of the Manding people (Imperato 34). They dominate the life of the country both politically and economically (Imperato and Traore 224). The Bambara people live mainly in the grasslands around Bamako in the upper Niger River region of southern Mali. There are approximately 2,500,000 Bambara people. This paper will look at some background information on the tribe, including their location, social structure, political system, population size, and medical system. According to Imperato, all Manding peoples originate from a mountainous region of the same name that sits astride the border of Guinea and Mali. This area was the base of the vast medieval Empire of Mali (34). The Bambara founded the upper Niger state of Segu (based around modern Segou) in 1600. In 1754, they founded the state of Kaarta (based around modern Nioro du Sahel). The Bambara and Malinke speak different dialects of Manding (35).

Mali is divided into six regions, each headed by a governor (Imperato 8). They in turn are divided into smaller regions called cercles. The governor coordinates the services and economic activities of the cercles in his region. The cercles are headed by commandants who supervise administrative and economic activities. The headquarters of the cercles are usually large villages or towns termed chef lieu and posses basic services such as police, health, and justice. The cercles are divided into arrondissements, each headed by a chef d'arrondissement. The chef lieu of the arrondissement is usually a small village with a school and dispensary (9). Each arrondissement consists of several villages headed by chiefs. Important functions of the heads of the arrondissements are the collection of taxes, the recording of deaths and births, and the settling of local family disputes.

The Bam...

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The Bambara (or Bamana) of the Mandings Peoples. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 09:46, May 21, 2019, from