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Located between the Sahara to the north and the Gulf of Guinea to the south, Bamako is very hot on average all year round with the hottest months being March, April, and May. During the dry season, rainfall is scarce: virtually none falls between November and April due to the dominance of the Saharan anticyclone and the dry trade winds.The rainy season occurs in the summer with the peak during July, August, and September.In the 14th century, the Mali Empire became increasingly wealthy because of the trade of cotton, gold and salt.This was eventually succeeded by the Songhai Empire and in the 16th century Berber invaders from Morocco destroyed what remained of the kingdoms in Mali and trans-Saharan trade was taken over by sailors.Bamako is the capital and largest city of Mali, with a population of 1.8 million (2009 census, provisional).In 2006, it was estimated to be the fastest growing city in Africa and sixth-fastest in the world. Bamako's river port is located in nearby Koulikoro, along with a major regional trade and conference center.Bamako is relatively flat, except to the immediate north where an escarpment is found, being what remains of an extinct volcano.
The Sotuba Causeway ( Chaussée submersible de Sotuba in French, and Babilikoroni in Bamanankan) is typically under water from July to January.In 1990, the National Congress for Democratic Initiative (Congrès National d'Initiative démocratique, CNID) was set up by the lawyer Mountaga Tall, and the Alliance for Democracy in Mali (Alliance pour la démocratie au Mali, ADEMA) by Abdramane Baba and historian Alpha Oumar Konaré.These with the Association des élèves et étudiants du Mali (AEEM) and the Association Malienne des Droits de l'Homme (AMDH) aimed to oust Moussa Traoré.Groups were driven by paycuts and layoffs in the government sector, and the Malian government acceding to pressure from international donors to privatise large swathes of the economy that had remained in public hands even after the overthrow of the socialist government in 1968.Students, even children, played an increasing role in the protest marches in Bamako, and homes and businesses of those associated with the regime were ransacked by crowds.