Bamako is the capital and largest city of Mali with a population of 2,009,109. In 2006, it was estimated to be the fastest-growing city in Africa and sixth-fastest in the world. The name Bamako (Bàmakɔ̌ in Bambara) comes from the Bambara word meaning «crocodile tail». In the late 1980s the people of Bamako and Mali campaigned for a free-market economy and multiparty democracy. Originally, the city developed on the northern side of the river, but as it grew, bridges were developed to connect the north with the south. The city more than tripled in size from 1960 to 1970, largely because of rural migration from drought-stricken areas of the countryside. A traditional character prevails, however, and mud brick buildings can still be seen throughout the city. The area that is now Mali was once part of the three great precolonial Sudanic empires: Ghana, Mali, and Shangai. The fabled but now faded trading and learning centre of Timbuktu is situated in Mali on the upper Niger River. The national capital, Bamako is located on the Niger River and is a rapidly growing city because of increased migration from the depressed rural areas.