Bambarra, a country in the north-western region of Central Africa (lat. 10° to 15° N., long. 5° to 10° W.). It lies south of Ludamar, north of the Kong Mountains, and east of Kaarta and Mandingo, but is of somewhat vague extent. Watered by the Niger or Joliba, the soil is fertile, and the natives are fair cultivators. Maize, rice, millet, cassava, dates, cotton, and palm-oil, are the chief products. There is a brisk trade with Timbuctoo farther inland, and with the coast.
The inhabtants are a large Mohammedan Negroid Negro people of the middle Niger basin south and west from Timbuktu. The name "Bambarra" is not that of the land, but the name given to its inhabitants, the Bamanas, by the surrounding Senegal peoples. The Bamanas are a branch of the great Malinke (Mandingo) family, mixed with Fulahs, whom they resemble in their comparatively light complexion, well-shaped nose, and thin lips, while the woolly hair betrays the Mandingo (Negro) substratum. The Bamana infant is born a whitish-yellow, which gradually darkens to a yellowish-brown. At present a mild, inoffensive people, the Bamanas were formerly great warriors, who conquered their present domain in the eleventh century under Fulah chiefs. The aborigines were reduced to slavery; and the account given by Golberry of the "Bambarras" applies, not to the Bamanas, but to these aborigines, who are of pure Negro type.