City (pop., 1996: metro area, 809,552), capital of Mali. Located in southwestern Mali on the Niger River, it was a settlement of a few hundred inhabitants when it was occupied by the French in 1880. It became the capital of the former colony of French Sudan in 1908. Now spanning both sides of the river, it has several colleges and most of Mali's industrial enterprises. The city more than tripled in size in the 1960s, largely because of rural migration from drought-stricken areas of the countryside.