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Cercles of Mali

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Politics and government of

A cercle is the second level administrative unit in Mali. Mali is divided into eight regions and one capital district (Bamako). These subdivisions bear the name of their principal city. The regions are divided into 49 cercles.

During French colonial rule in Mali, a cercle was the smallest unit of French political administration that was headed by a European officer. A cercle consisted of several cantons, each of which in turn consisted of several villages. In 1887 the Cercle of Bafoulabé was the first cercle to be created in Mali. In most of former French West Africa, the term cercle was changed to Prefecture or Department after independence.

Some cercles (and the district) were, prior to the 1999 local government reorganisation, further divided into Arrondissements, especially in urban areas or the vast northern regions (such as Kidal), which consisted of a collection of Communes. Since these reforms, cercles are now directly subdivided into rural and urban communes, which in turn are divided in Quartiers (Quarters, or Villages and encampments in rural areas) which have elected councils at each level.[1] There are 703 communes, 36 urban communes and 667 rural communes.[2] The cercles are listed below.

Bamako Capital District

Bamako district

Gao Region

Cercles of Gao Region

Kayes Region

Cercles of Kayes Region

Kidal Region

Cercles of Kidal Region

Koulikoro Region

Cercles of Koulikoro Region

Mopti Region

Cercles of Mopti Region

Ségou Region

Cercles of Segou Region

Sikasso Region

Cercles of Sikasso Region

Tombouctou Region

See also


  1. La Délégation Générale aux Elections, Government of Mali: database of all registered electors in Mali (2007), includes a hierarchical list of every cercle, commune, and quarter in the nation.
  2. Loi N°99-035/ Du 10 Aout 1999 Portant Creation des Collectivites Territoriales de Cercles et de Regions (in French), Ministère de l'Administration Territoriales et des Collectivités Locales, République du Mali, 1999CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)

Colonial usage

  • Benton, Lauren: Colonial Law and Cultural Difference: Jurisdictional Politics and the Formation of the Colonial State in Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol. 41, No. 3 (Jul., 1999)
  • Crowder, Michael: West Africa Under Colonial Rule Northwestern Univ. Press (1968) ASIN: B000NUU584
  • Crowder, Michael: Indirect Rule: French and British Style Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Jul., 1964)
  • Mortimer, Edward France and the Africans, 1944–1960, A Political History (1970)
  • Jean Suret-Canele. French Colonialism in Tropical Africa 1900-1945. Trans. Pica Press (1971)

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et:Cercle it:Circondari del Mali nl:Cercle pt:Cercles do Mali