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{{distinguish|Goa}}{{other uses}}{{Use dmy dates|date=April 2012}}

Regions of Mali>RegionGao Region>GaoCercles of Mali>Cercle|subdivision_name2 = Gao Cercle|subdivision_type3 = |subdivision_name3 = |subdivision_type4 = |subdivision_name4 =|seat_type =|seat =|parts_type =|parts_style = |parts = |p1 =|p2 = |government_footnotes =|government_type =|leader_title = Mayor|leader_name = |leader_title1 =|leader_name1 =|leader_title2 =|leader_name2 =|leader_title3 =|leader_name3 =|leader_title4 =|leader_name4 =|established_title = |established_date = |established_title1 = |established_date1 = |established_title2 = |established_date2 = |established_title3 =|established_date3 =|founder =|named_for =|area_magnitude = |unit_pref = |area_footnotes =|area_total_km2 = |area_land_km2 = |area_water_km2 =|area_total_dunam = |area_total_sq_mi =|area_land_sq_mi =|area_water_sq_mi =|area_water_percent =|area_urban_km2 =|area_urban_sq_mi =|area_metro_km2 =|area_metro_sq_mi =|area_blank1_title =|area_blank1_km2 =|area_blank1_sq_mi =|elevation_footnotes = |elevation_m =226|elevation_ft =744|elevation_max_m = |elevation_max_ft =|elevation_min_m = |elevation_min_ft =|population_as_of =2009url= weblink >url-status=dead publisher=République de Mali: Institut National de la Statistique |title=Resultats Provisoires RGPH 2009 (Région de Gao) }}|population_note =|population_total =86633|population_density_km2 = |population_density_sq_mi =|population_metro =|population_density_metro_km2 =|population_density_metro_sq_mi =|population_urban =|population_density_urban_km2 =|population_density_urban_sq_mi =|population_blank1_title =|population_blank1 =|population_density_blank1_km2 =|population_density_blank1_sq_mi =Greenwich Mean Time>GMT|utc_offset = +0|timezone_DST = |utc_offset_DST = 16N03region:ML_type:city|display=inline,title}}|postal_code_type = |postal_code =|area_code =|twin1 =|twin1_country =|twin2 =|twin2_country =|twin3 =|twin3_country =|twin4 =|twin4_country =|twin5 =|twin5_country =|twin6 =|twin6_country =|twin7 =|twin7_country =|blank_name =|blank_info =|blank1_name =|blank1_info =|blank2_name =|blank2_info =|blank3_name =|blank3_info =|blank4_name =|blank4_info =|blank5_name =|blank5_info =|blank6_name =|blank6_info =|website = |footnotes = }}Gao {{IPAc-en|g|aʊ}}, or Gawgaw/Kawkaw,{{sfn|Cissé|McIntosh|Dussubieux|Fenn|2013}} is a city in Mali and the capital of the Gao Region. The city is located on the River Niger, {{convert|320|km|abbr=on}} east-southeast of Timbuktu on the left bank at the junction with the Tilemsi valley.For much of its history Gao was an important commercial centre involved in the trans-Saharan trade. In the 9th century external Arabic writers described Gao as an important regional power,BOOK, Levtzion, Nehemia, Ancient Ghana and Mali, 1973, Methuen & Co Ltd, New York, 978-0-8419-0431-6, 3, and by the end of the 10th century, the local ruler was said to be a Muslim. Towards the end of the 13th century Gao became part of the Mali Empire, but in first half of the 15th century the town regained its independence and with the conquests of Sunni Ali (ruled 1464–1492) it became the capital of the Songhai Empire. The Empire collapsed after the Moroccan invasion in 1591 and the invaders chose to make Timbuktu their capital. By the time of Heinrich Barth's visit in 1854, Gao had declined to become an impoverished village with 300 huts constructed from matting. In 2009, the urban commune had a population of 86,633.On 31 March 2012, Gao was captured from Malian government forces by National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and Ansar Dine rebels. After the additional captures of Kidal and Timbuktu, on 6 April, the MNLA declared the region independent of Mali as the nation of AzawadNEWS,weblink Al Arabiya, Tuareg rebels declare the independence of Azawad, north of Mali, 6 April 2012, 6 April 2012, and named Gao its capital.NEWS,weblink Al Jazeera, 6 April 2012, 6 April 2012, Tuaregs claim 'independence' from Mali, The MNLA lost control to Islamist militias after the Battle of Gao on 26 and 27 June 2012. On 26 January 2013, the city was recaptured by French military forces as part of Opération Serval.{{citation |title=Mali: French-led soldiers 'in control of Gao' |url= | publisher=BBC News | date=26 January 2013 | accessdate=26 January 2013}}.



Gao is located on the eastern bank of the Niger River at the junction with the Tilemsi Valley. The sprawling town is the largest in eastern Mali. It is connected to the capital, Bamako at the western end of Mali, by 1200 km (750 mi) of paved road. In 2006, the Wabaria bridge was inaugurated to replace the ferry service across the Niger.{{citation | last= Chabasseur | first= Eglantine | title= Le pont de Gao, "un rêve devenu réalité" | publisher= Radio France internationale | date=12 November 2006 | url= | language=French | accessdate=10 December 2010 }} The bridge was constructed by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation and financed by the Islamic Development Bank and the Malian government.The town is strategically located with road links (unpaved) to the desert Kidal Region to the north and to Niamey, the capital of Niger, to the south. The road to the south runs along the left bank of the river. The town of Ansongo is 103 km (65 mi) from Gao. The border with Niger is just south of the village of Labbezanga, a distance of 204 km (127 mi).There are also seasonal ferry services on the Niger River. A service between Gao and Koulikoro, a distance of 1380 km (860 mi), is managed by the Compagnie Malienne de Navigation (COMANAV). It usually operates from the end of July, after the annual rains when there is sufficient water in the river, until mid November.{{citation|last=Coulibaly |first=Baye |title=Comanav : Les bateau de la discord |date=7 April 2010 |publisher=L'Essor |url= |accessdate=20 December 2010 |language=French |url-status=dead |archiveurl= |archivedate=18 June 2010 |df=dmy }} Smaller boats are able to operate for a longer season between Bourem and Ansongo.The town is expanding rapidly. In the 1998 census, the population of the urban commune was 52,201. By the census in 2009 this had increased to 86,633, a 4.7% annual growth rate. For administrative purposes, the commune is divided into nine quartiers: Gadeye, Farandjiré, Aljanabanbia, Djoulabougou, Saneye, Sosso Koïra, Boulgoundjé, Château, and Djidara.{{citation | title=Plan de Securite Alimentaire Commune Urbaine de Gao 2005–2009 | publisher=Commissariat à la Sécurité Alimentaire, République du Mali, USAID-Mali | year=2005 | url= | language=French | access-date=30 January 2011 | archive-url= | archive-date=26 July 2011 | url-status=dead | df=dmy-all }}. The urban commune is bounded to the north by the commune of Soni Ali Ber, to the east by the commune of Anchawadi and to the south and west by the commune of Gounzoureye.


{{Weather box|location = Gao, Mali (1950–2000)|single line = yes|metric first=yes|Jan high C = 30.8|Feb high C = 33.8|Mar high C = 37.2|Apr high C = 40.7|May high C = 42.5|Jun high C = 41.5|Jul high C = 38.5|Aug high C = 36.6|Sep high C = 38.4|Oct high C = 39.3|Nov high C = 35.8|Dec high C = 31.4|year high C = 37.2|Jan low C = 14.8|Feb low C = 17.0|Mar low C = 20.8|Apr low C = 24.7|May low C = 28.2|Jun low C = 28.8|Jul low C = 26.6|Aug low C = 25.4|Sep low C = 26.0|Oct low C = 24.9|Nov low C = 19.9|Dec low C = 15.8|year low C = 22.7|rain colour = green|Jan rain mm = 0.0|Feb rain mm = 0.1|Mar rain mm = 0.3|Apr rain mm = 1.7|May rain mm = 7.7|Jun rain mm = 22.8|Jul rain mm = 63.6|Aug rain mm = 84.2|Sep rain mm = 33.5|Oct rain mm = 4.8|Nov rain mm = 0.0|Dec rain mm = 0.1|year rain mm = 218.8|unit rain days = 0.1 mm|Jan rain days = 0.1|Feb rain days = 0.1|Mar rain days = 0.3|Apr rain days = 0.3|May rain days = 1.3|Jun rain days = 3.9|Jul rain days = 7.9|Aug rain days = 8.4|Sep rain days = 5.2|Oct rain days = 0.9|Nov rain days = 0.0|Dec rain days = 0.1|year rain days = 28.5|Jan sun = 269.8|Feb sun = 257.9|Mar sun = 269.6|Apr sun = 254.2|May sun = 274.9|Jun sun = 227.1|Jul sun = 249.7|Aug sun = 251.5|Sep sun = 253.5|Oct sun = 279.8|Nov sun = 280.8|Dec sun = 261.9|year sun = 3130.7|source 1 = World Meteorological OrganizationWEB,weblink World Weather Information Service – Gao, World Meteorological Organization, 12 October 2015, |source 2 = NOAA (sun 1961–1990)WEB,weblink Gao Climate Normals 1961–1990, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 12 October 2015, |date=April 2012}}Gao features an arid climate under Köppen's climate classification. Gao's climate is hot and dry, with the only rainfall occurring between June and September. August is normally the wettest month. The average annual rainfall is only 220 mm, but there are large year-to-year variations. May is the hottest month, with an average daily high temperature of 43 Â°C. December and January are the coolest months, with daily low temperatures of 15 Â°C. From October to March during the dry period, the north-easterly Harmattan wind blows from the Sahara. When it blows strongly the dust-laden wind reduces visibility and creates a persistent haze.With the low rainfall the vegetation away from the river is sparse and consists mainly of various species of Acacia (Acacia raddiana, Acacia nilotica, Acacia ehrenbergiana) and Balanites aegyptiaca. The herbaceous plants are dominated by Cenchrus biflorus and Panicum laetum.{{citation | url= | title=Schéma Directeur de Lutte Contre L'ensablement dans le Nord Du Mali (6ème Et 7ème Régions): Monographie de la Commune de Soni Ali Ber | year=2004 | publisher=Ministère de l'Environnement et de L'assainissement, République du Mali | language=French | url-status=dead | archiveurl= | archivedate=6 October 2011 | df=dmy-all }}

Annual flood of the Niger River

Almost all the local agriculture depends on river water for irrigation. The annual flood of the Niger River is a result of the heavy rainfall in the headwaters of the Niger and Bani rivers in Guinea and the northern Ivory Coast. The rainfall in the headwater areas peaks in August but the flood water takes time to pass down the river system, through the Inner Niger Delta region and arrive at Gao. At Koulikoro the flood peaks in September,{{citation|title=Composite Runoff Fields V 1.0: Koulikoro |url=weblink | publisher=University of New Hampshire/Global Runoff Data Center | accessdate=30 January 2011}}. while in Gao the flood lasts longer and reaches a maximum in December.{{citation|title=Composite Runoff Fields V 1.0: Ansongo |url= | publisher=University of New Hampshire/Global Runoff Data Center | accessdate=30 January 2011}}. There is a large year-to-year variation in the extent of the flooding. The existing and proposed dams upstream of Gao reduce the overall flow of the river and could potentially have a large effect on the local agriculture.{{citation|last=Zwarts | first=Leo | year=2010 | title=Will the Inner Niger Delta shrivel up due to climate change and water use upstream? A&W Report 1537. Commissioned by Wetlands International | publisher=Altenburg & Wymenga | place=Feanwâlden, The Netherlands | url= }}. When in flood the river is 4 km wide at Gao but during the dry season a number of islands appear in the river. There is very little flow, only 5% of the maximum, in June and July.


The history of the Gao Empire precedes that of the Songhay Empire in the region of the Middle Niger. Both empires had the town of Gao as their capital. Apart from some Arabic epitaphs on tombstones discovered in 1939 at the cemetery of Gao-Saney (6 km to the east of the city){{Harvnb|Sauvaget|1950}}; {{Harvnb|Moraes Farias|1990}}; {{Harvnb|Lange|1991}} there are no surviving indigenous written records that date from before the middle of the 17th century.{{sfn|Levtzion|Hopkins|2000|p=1}} Our knowledge of the early history of the town relies on the writings of Arabic geographers living in Morocco, Egypt and Andalusia, most of whom never visited the region. These authors referred to the town as Kawkaw or Kuku. The two key 17th century chronicles, the Tarikh al-Sudan and the Tarikh al-fattash, provide information on the town at the time of the Songhay Empire but they contain relatively little on the social and economic history.{{sfn|Hunwick|2003|p=xxxviii}} The chronicles do not, in general, acknowledge their sources.{{sfn|Hunwick|2003|pp=lxiii–lxiv}} Their accounts for the earlier periods are almost certainly based on oral tradition and for events before the second half of the 15th century they are likely to be less reliable. For these earlier periods, the two chronicles sometimes provide conflicting information.The earliest mention of Gao is by al-KhwārizmÄ« who wrote in the first half of the 9th century when Gao was already an important regional power.{{sfn|Levtzion|Hopkins|2000|p=7}} Al-Yaqubi wrote in his Tarikh in around 872:There is the kingdom of the Kawkaw, which is the greatest of the realms of the SÅ«dān, the most important and most powerful. All the kingdoms obey its king. Al-Kawkaw is the name of the town. Besides this there are a number of kingdoms of which the rulers pay allegiance to him and acknowledge his sovereignty, although they are kings in their own lands.{{Harvnb|Levtzion|Hopkins|2000|p=7}}; {{Harvnb|Levtzion|1973|p=15}}Ibn al-Faqih (writing c. 903) mentions a caravan route from Egypt to ancient Ghana via Kawkaw,{{sfn|Levtzion|Hopkins|2000|pp=27, 378 n4}} but Ibn Hawqal (writing c. 988) states that the old route from Egypt to the Sudan was abandoned in the reign of the Egyptian ruler Ibn Tulun (ruled 868–884) as some of the caravans were attacked by bandits while others were overwhelmed by the wind-blown sand.{{sfn|Levtzion|Hopkins|2000|pp=45, 51, 382 n21}} The more direct route was replaced by one that went to Sijilmasa before heading south across the Sahara. In the 10th century, Gao is already Muslim and is described as consisting of two separate towns. Al-Muhallabi, who died in 990, wrote in a lost work quoted in the biographical dictionary compiled by Yaqut:Their king pretends before his subject to be a Muslim and most of them pretend to be Muslims too. He has a town on the Nile [Niger], on the eastern bank, which is called Sarnāh, where there are markets and trading houses and to which there is continuous traffic from all parts. He has another town to the west of the Nile [Niger] where he and his men and those who have his confidence live. There is a mosque there where he prays but the communal prayer ground is between the two towns.{{sfn|Levtzion|Hopkins|2000|p=174}}

(ii)(iii)(iv)| ID = 11391623.28040.416format=dms}}| year = 2004| danger = 2012–}}The archaeological evidence suggests that there were two settlements on the eastern bank of the Niger:{{sfn|Insoll|1997}} Gao Ancien situated within the modern town, to the east of the Tomb of Askia, and the archaeological site of Gao-Saney (Sané in French) situated around 4 km to the east. The bed of the Wadi Gangaber passes to the south of the Gao-Saney occupation mound (tell) but to the north of Gao Ancien. The imported pottery and glass recovered from Gao-Saney suggest that the site was occupied between the 8th and 13th centuries.{{sfn|Cissé|McIntosh|Dussubieux|Fenn|2013}} It is possible that Gao-Saney corresponds to Sarnāh of al-Muhallabi.{{sfn|Insoll|1997|p=23}} Al-Bakri writing in 1068 also records the existence of two towns,{{sfn|Levtzion|Hopkins|2000|p=87}} but al-Idrisi writing in around 1154 does not.{{sfn|Levtzion|Hopkins|2000|p=113}} Both al-Muhallabi (see quote above) and al-Bakri{{sfn|Levtzion|Hopkins|2000|p=85}} situate Gao on the west (or right bank) of the Niger. The 17th century Tarikh al-fattash also states that in the 10th century Gao was situated on the Gourma side (i.e. the west bank) of the river.{{Harvnb|Kâti|1913|p=329}}; {{Harvnb|Hunwick|1994|p=265}} A large sand dune, La Dune Rose, lies on the west bank opposite Gao, but at Koima, on the edge of the dune at a site 4 km north of Gao, surface deposits indicate a pre 9th century settlement. This could be the west bank Gao mentioned by 10th and 11th-century authors. The site has not been excavated.{{sfn|Insoll|1997|pp=4–8}}Al-Sadi in his Tarikh al-Sudan gives a slightly later date for the introduction of Islam. He lists 32 rulers of the Zuwa dynasty and states that in 1009–1010 A.D. the 15th ruler, Zuwa Kusoy, was the first to convert to Islam.A similar list of rulers is given in the Tarikh al-fattash. {{Harvnb|Kâti|1913|pp=331–332}} He does not actually specify where they lived except for the legendary founder of the dynasty, Zuwa Alayman who he claims came from the Yemen to Kukiya.Kukiya is a town mentioned in the Tarikh al-sudan and the Tarikh al-fattash (as Koûkiya in the French translation). It is believed to have been near the modern village of Bentiya on the east side of the Niger 134 km southeast of Gao near {{coord|15.349|0.760}}. Tombstones with Arabic inscriptions dating from the 14th and 15th centuries have been found in the area. {{Harvnb|Moraes Farias|1990|p=105}}{{sfn|Hunwick|2003|pp=xxxv, 5}}Towards the end of the 13th century Gao lost its independence and became part of the expanding Mali Empire.{{sfn|Levtzion|1973|p=76}} What happened to the Zuwa rulers is not recorded.{{sfn|Hunwick|2003|p=xxxvi}} Ibn Battuta visited Suleyman (mansa) in Gao in 1352-53, when the town formed part of the Mali Empire.BOOK, Battutah, Ibn, The Travels of Ibn Battutah, 2002, Picador, London, 9780330418799, 286–290, He arrived by boat from Timbuktu on his return journey from visiting the capital of the Empire:Then I travelled to the town of Kawkaw, which is a great town on the NÄ«l [Niger], one of the finest, biggest, and most fertile cities of the SÅ«dān. There is much rice there, and milk, and chickens, and fish, and the cucumber, which has no like. Its people conduct their buying and selling with cowries, like the people of MālÄ«.{{sfn|Levtzion|Hopkins|2000|p=300}}(File:ETH-BIB-Gao- Eingeborenenhütten-Tschadseeflug 1930-31-LBS MH02-08-0542.tif|thumb|People at Gao in the early 1930s)(File:ETH-BIB-Gao, die Rundhütten sind die Behausungen der schwarzen Soldaten und ihrer Familien-Tschadseeflug 1930-31-LBS MH02-08-0045.tif|thumb|Gao in the early 1930s)After staying a month in the town, Ibn Battuta left with a caravan for Takedda and from there headed north back across the Sahara to an oasis in Tuat with a large caravan that included 600 slave girls.Sometime in the 14th century, Ali Kulun, the first ruler of the Sunni dynasty, rebelled against the Malian hegemony but the Malians were able to regain control.{{sfn|Hunwick|2003|p=xxxvii}}{{sfn|Lange|1994|p=421}} It was not until the first half of the 15th century that Sunni Sulayman Dama was able to throw off the Malian yoke. His successor, Sunni Ali Ber (1464–1492), greatly expanded the territory under Songhay control and established the Songhay Empire. He made Gao his capital.Leo Africanus visited Gao sometime between 1506 and 1510 when the town was ruled by Askiya Muhammad I, the first ruler of the Askiya Dynasty. He observed that the large town lacked a surrounding wall and was full of rich merchants.The town is very civilized compared to Timbuktu. Bread and meat are abundant, though you cannot find wine or fruits. Actually, melons, cucumbers, and excellent squash are plentiful, and there are enormous quantities of rice. There are many sweet water wells. There is a square where on market days huge numbers of slaves are sold, both male and female. A young girl of fifteen is worth about six ducats, and a young man almost as much; small children are worth about half as much as grown slaves.{{sfn|Hunwick|2003|p=283}}Towards the end of the 16th century, Gao controlled an empire that extended for over 1,400,000 km2, an area comparable in size to the modern state of Mali.{{sfn|Hunwick|2003|p=xlix}} The Tarikh al-fattash reports that a survey conducted during the reign of Askiya Al-Hajj (1582–1586) found that there were 7,626 houses without counting the huts made of straw.{{sfn|Kâti|1913|p=262}} Assuming each house was occupied by an average of 6 people, this would imply a population of around 45,000.The Moroccan invasion of 1591 led to the collapse of the Songhay Empire. The invaders chose to make Timbuktu their capital and the importance of Gao declined. The German explorer Heinrich Barth visited Gao in 1854 on his return journey from Timbuktu. He found a village of about 300 huts constructed of matting and grouped in clusters.{{sfn|Barth|1859|p=481}} The inhabitants were very poor and had only a few boats as they lacked wood for their construction. The site of the ancient town was overgrown with Capparis decidua bushes.{{sfn|Barth|1859|p=482}}The town remained small until French rule was imposed in the early twentieth century, expanding the port and establishing a colonial base.{{Citation needed|date=April 2012}}

Recent history

(File:Soldats français à Gao.PNG|thumb|French soldiers on patrol in Gao in 2013)On 31 March 2012, one day after the capture of Kidal, Malian military forces retreated from Gao's military bases, allowing it to be occupied by Tuareg rebellion member groups MNLA and Ancar Dine.WEB,weblink Mali Tuareg rebels seize key garrison town of Gao, 31 March 2012, BBC News, 31 March 2012, Timbuktu was captured the following day.NEWS,weblink Mali coup leader reinstates old constitution, Rukmini Callimachi, 1 April 2012, Associated Press, 31 March 2012, On 6 April, the MNLA declared the region independent of Mali as the nation of Azawad. After the Battle of Gao on 26 and 27 June 2012, the MNLA lost control to Islamist militias.NEWS,weblink Mali: Islamists seize Gao from Tuareg rebels, 28 June 2012, BBC News, 28 October 2012, After the 2012 rebellion forced the Malian Army out of Gao and the state of Azawad was proclaimed, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad took control of the governor's building, flying the flag of Azawad over it and rechristening it the Palace of Azawad.NEWS,weblink Malians protest against Azawad independence, The Telegraph, 6 April 2012, 6 April 2012, On 26 June 2012, the tension came to all-out combat in Gao between the MNLA and MOJWA, with both sides firing heavy weapons. MNLA Secretary General Bilal ag Acherif was wounded in the battle. The MNLA were soon driven from the city, and from Kidal and Timbuktu shortly after. However, the MNLA stated that it continued to maintain forces and control some rural areas in the region. The following day, Ansar Dine announced that it was in control of all the cities of northern Mali.On 19 January 2013, it was reported that Gao journalist Kader Toure was killed after being suspected of working for foreign news services. In retaliation, the local youth are reported to have lynched Islamic police commissioner Aliou Toure who was recruited by MUWA, Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, who took control of the town in June 2012.{{citation | title= Residents in northern Malian town lynch Islamist: sources | url=weblink | work= Chicago Tribune | date= 19 January 2013 | accessdate= 26 January 2013 }}{{Dead link|date=July 2018 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}.In January 2013 French warplanes bombed parts of Gao, including the airport, in an attempt to drive out fighters from the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa.NEWS,weblink 3 News NZ, French planes bomb airport in Mali, 14 January 2013, 13 January 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 29 January 2013, dead, dmy-all, Gao was captured by French and Malian forces on 26 January 2013, as the Islamists were driven out from the city.On 17 March 2015, a United Nations AH-64 helicopter crashed during an exercise near the town, killing both pilots. The AH-64 came from the Dutch Air Force's Defense Helicopter Command. WEB, Two die in Dutch UN helicopter crash, BBC News, 2015-03-17,weblink 2018-03-03, On 18 January 2017, a suicide bomber from Al-Mourabitoun drove a vehicle filled with explosives into a military camp near Gao, killing 77 people and injuring at least 115 (see 2017 Gao bombing). The incident was the deadliest terrorist attack in Malian history.


The population of Gao mostly speak Songhay but includes many ethnicities, including the Bozo (traditionally nomadic river dwellers), Fulfulde/Fulani cattle keepers, and Tuareg nomads, Arabs as well as Bambara peoples from western Mali.The seventh Festival des arts et cultures songhay was celebrated in February 2007 at Gao, reflecting the city's importance as a Songhay cultural capital.Festival des arts et cultures Songhay: Un facteur d’épanouissement de la région de Gao, Les Echos du 14 février 2007


Attractions in Gao include the original fourteenth century Gao Mosque, the Askia Tomb (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) built in 1495 and incorporating another mosque, a museum devoted to the Sahel, markets including a night market, and La Dune Rose, a sand dune named after its appearance at dawn and nightfall.


Gao School (primary school).

Notable residents

International relations

Gao is twinned with:
  • {{flagicon|France}} Thionville, France
  • {{flagicon|USA}} Berkeley, California, United States

See also




  • {{citation | last=Barth | first=Heinrich | year=1859 | title= Travels and discoveries in North and Central Africa: Being a journal of an expedition undertaken under the auspices of H.B.M.'s government, in the years 1849–1855 (Volume 3) | publisher= Harper & Brothers | place=New York | url=weblink}}.
  • {{citation | last1= Cissé | first1=M. | last2= McIntosh | first2=S.K. | last3= Dussubieux | first3=L. | last4= Fenn | first4=T. | last5= Gallagher | first5=D. | last6= Chipps Smith | first6=A. | year=2013 | title= Excavations at Gao Saney: new evidence for settlement growth, trade, and interaction on the Niger Bend in the first millennium CE | journal= Journal of African Archaeology | volume=11 | issue=1 | pages=9–37 | doi=10.3213/2191-5784-10233 }}.
  • {{citation| last=Hunwick | first=John | year=1994 | title=Gao and the Almoravids revisited: ethnicity, political change and the limits of interpretation | journal= Journal of African History | volume=35 | issue=2 | pages=251–273 | jstor=183219 | doi=10.1017/s0021853700026426}}.
  • {{citation | last=Hunwick | first= John O.| authorlink= John Hunwick | year=2003 |title= Timbuktu and the Songhay Empire: Al-Sadi's Tarikh al-Sudan down to 1613 and other contemporary documents | publisher=Brill| place=Leiden | isbn=978-90-04-12560-5 }}. First published in 1999 as {{ISBN|978-90-04-11207-0}}.
  • {{citation | last=Insoll | first=Timothy | year=1997 | title=Iron age Gao: an archaeological contribution | journal=Journal of African History | volume=38 | issue=1 | pages=1–30 | jstor=182944 | doi=10.1017/s0021853796006822 | df=dmy-all }}.
  • {{citation | last=Kâti | first=Mahmoûd Kâti ben el-Hâdj el-Motaouakkel | year=1913 | title=Tarikh el-fettach ou Chronique du chercheur, pour servir à l'histoire des villes, des armées et des principaux personnages du Tekrour | publisher=Ernest Leroux | place=Paris | others=Houdas, O., Delafosse, M. ed. and trans. | url= | language=French}}. Also available from Aluka but requires subscription.
  • {{citation | last=Lange | first=Dierk | year=1991 | title=Les rois de Gao-Sané et les Almoravides | journal=Journal of African History | volume=32 | issue=2 | pages=251–275 | jstor=182617 | language=French | doi=10.1017/s002185370002572x}}.
  • {{citation | last=Lange | first=Dierk | year=1994 | title= From Mande to Songhay: Towards a political and ethnic history of medieval Gao | journal= Journal of African History | volume=35 | issue=2 | pages=275–301 | jstor= 183220 | doi=10.1017/s0021853700026438}}.
  • {{citation | last=Levtzion | first=Nehemia | title=Ancient Ghana and Mali | publisher=Methuen | place=London | year=1973 | isbn=978-0-8419-0431-6}}.
  • {{citation | editor1-last=Levtzion | editor1-first=Nehemia | editor2-last=Hopkins | editor2-first=John F.P. |title=Corpus of Early Arabic Sources for West Africa | publisher=Marcus Weiner Press | place=New York, NY | year=2000 | isbn=978-1-55876-241-1}}. First published in 1981 by Cambridge University Press, {{ISBN|0-521-22422-5}}.
  • {{citation | last= Moraes Farias | first= Paulo F. de | year=1990 | title= The oldest extant writing of West Africa: medieval epigraphs from Essuk, Saney, and Egef-n-Tawaqqast (Mali) | journal= Journal des Africanistes | volume=60 | issue= 2 | pages= 65–113 | doi=10.3406/jafr.1990.2452}}. Link is to a scan on the Persée database that omits some photographs of the epigraphs.
  • {{citation | last= Sauvaget | first=J. | year=1950 | title= Les épitaphes royales de Gao | journal= Bulletin de l'Ifan | volume= XII | issue=2 | pages=418–440 }}. A reprint of (1949), Al-Andalus XIV: I, 123–141.

Further reading

  • {{citation | last=Cornevin | first=R. | title=Encyclopaedia of Islam Volume 2 | edition=2nd | year=1991 | contribution=Gao | publisher=Brill | place=Leiden | url=weblink | isbn= 978-90-04-07026-4 | pages=976–978 | ref=none}}. First published in 1965.
  • {{citation | last=Mauny | first= Raymond | year=1951 | title= Notes d'archéologie au sujet de Gao | journal= Bulletin de l'Institut Français d'Afrique Noire (B) | volume=13 | pages=837–852 | language=French | ref=none }}.
  • {{citation | last=Moraes Farias | first=P.F. de| year=2003 | title=Arabic medieval inscriptions from the Republic of Mali : Epigraphy, chronicles and Songhay-Tuareg history | publisher=Oxford University Press | place=Oxford | isbn= 978-0-19-726222-1 | ref=none }}.

External links

{{Commons category}}
  • {{citation | publisher=UNESCO World Heritage |url=| title= Tomb of Askia | ref=none }}.
{{Niger River}}{{Communes of the Gao Region}}

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