Saturday, July 26, 2014


I have a map of Mali on my wall. I bought it when I visited the country in 2001 and it happens to be hanging in a spot that I pass just about every time I got to the bathroom on the second floor. This is what Mali looks like:

(click to embiggen)

See that portion of Mali's border with Mauritania that is a horizontile line? I'm talking about the bit that lies at the Northern edge of Kayes, Koulkoro and Segou provinces. See it? Do you notice how in the northern bit of Kayes province, the line isn't exactly horizontile? There is a little tiny bit that juts North into Mauritania. This is what it looks like close up:

It looks to me like whoever drew the border wanted to make Gogui on the Malian side of the border instead of the Mauritanian side. And so the straight line is disrupted to allow for a little enclave jutting North to bring that town into Mali instead of Mauritania.

Why did whoever do that? There doesn't seem to be anything special about the town of Gogui. The Wikipedia entry does not note anything about the place that would explain why it was worth disrupting that nice straight line to make Gogui Malian. That entire jutting-into-Mauritania territory only has a population of around 13,000. So why did they do it? Why why why?!?!?

That question haunts me every time I go to the bathroom on my second floor.