(born June 4, 1915, Bamako, French Sudan—died May 16, 1977, Bamako, Mali) First president of Mali (1960–68). Keita was instrumental in obtaining independence for Mali (then called French Sudan) from France (1960). As president, he nationalized key sectors of the economy and established close ties with communist countries. During an economic crisis in 1967 he launched an unpopular Maoist-inspired cultural revolution, and in 1968 he was overthrown and imprisoned for life.
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