In 1904, modern Mali was incorporated into the French colony of Haut-Senegal-Niger, and in 1920 was constituted the French Sudan, a constituent territory of French West Africa. Mali became independent from France in 1960. French is the official language of Mali, but African languages, such as Bambara and Songhai, are widely spoken.
Bamanakan (also Bambara), is a language in West Africa, mostly in Mali, where it is mother tongue to the Bambara people (30% of the population), and where 80% of the population can communicate in the language. Bambara is also spoken in Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, and Gambia. Together with Dioulé and Malinké it belongs to the Mandekan sub-group of more or less mutually comprehensible languages, which itself is part of the Mande group, which is a Niger-Congo language family. Bambara has strongly been influenced by French. Any knowledge of French is of great use when learning Bambara.