Monday, September 29, 2008

Still catching up

Remember this reinforcing moment from our geography blogging?

In case you don't, or do but cannot name the country, I will cut you more slack than I did in the original post. It's Mali, the 132nd country from which we have had a visitor. This was over a month ago and I have been terribly remiss at welcoming new nationalities to this site.

With profound apologies to those first guests from new (to us) countries, I want to welcome you all most heartily. May you find this a safe and pleasant place (my internal-to-the-United-States political vitriol notwithstanding).

La République de Mali celebrated its Independence Day just one week ago, September 22, as it became independent of France on that day in 1960. French is the official language and the capital is Bamako.

Wikipedia recounts: "Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire (from which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire. In the late 1800s, Mali fell under French control, becoming part of French Sudan. Mali gained independence in 1959 with Senegal, as the Mali Federation in 1959. A year later, the Mali Federation became the independent nation of Mali in 1960. After a long period of one-party rule, a 1991 coup led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state."

Mali Music - Bamako City

The Chamorros are the indigenous people of the Territory of Guam (Guåhån), an unincorporated territory of the United States. It is the largest of the Marianas Islands, located in the Western Pacific Ocean. English and Chamorro are the two official languages. The capital is Hagåtña.

Wikipedia has this interesting note on Chamorro culture:
Historian Lawrence Cunningham in 1992 wrote, "In a Chamorro sense, the land and its produce belong to everyone. Inafa'maolek, or interdependence, is the key, or central value, in Chamorro culture … Inafa'maolek depends on a spirit of cooperation. This is the armature, or core, that everything in Chamorro culture revolves around. It is a powerful concern for mutuality rather than individualism and private property rights."
Guam Chant & Dance-I Fanlalai'an Chant Group

The Republic of Moldova, located between Romania and Ukraine, represents territory also known in history as the Principality of Moldavia and Bessarabia. The capital is Chişinău. Moldovan, the official language, is virtually identical to Romanian (and its identity with or difference from Romanian is, of course, a hot political topic). It is famous wine country. Does Dennis have any recommendations?

Something to get your blood pulsing and your booty shaking:
Zdob Si Zdub - Miorita

--the BB

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