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Liberation Day Commemorated in Mali

Liberation Day is a holiday in Mali.

Liberation Day: November 19

Liberation Day is a holiday in Mali.

On November 19, Mali celebrates the anniversary of a bloodless coup that removed President Modibo Keita from power in 1968.

History of Liberation Day in Mali

The Mandé peoples settled the Sahel (including present-day Mali) and formed a succession of Sahelian kingdoms, including the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire, and the Songhai Empire. The Moroccan ivasion in 1591 led to the decline of the Songhai Empire. Mali became a colony of French Sudan when the French military penetration of the Sudan began around 1880.

Mali was administered with other French colonial territories as the Federation of French West Africa until 1956 when a Fundamental Law was passed that gave extensive powers over internal affairs and to form a cabinet. Senegal and French Sudan joined to form the Mali Federation in 1959 and became fully independent of the French community in 1960. This was very short lived as the federation collapsed in just two months of its formation.

The pre-independence politics was dominated by Modibo Keita’s party which seized the opportunity and rose to power. A group of young officers staged a bloodless coup on November 19, 1968 to set up a Military Committee for National Liberation and chose Lt. Moussa Traore as the president. The committee consisted of 14 members who tried in earnest for several years to bring about economic reforms but faced many setbacks including the disastrous Sahelian drought and internal power struggles.

Mali’s Liberation Day Traditions, Customs and Activities

Mali Liberation Day is celebrated across the country with military parades organized to honor the anniversary of when it became liberated from authoritarian rule. On November 19, all schools and government offices in Mali remain closed to honor and celebrate Liberation Day.

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