Ségou or Segu [key], town (1993 est. pop. 85,000), SW Mali, a port on the Niger River. It is the administrative and commercial center for an area where cotton, rice, millet, and peanuts are grown and cattle are raised. Cotton textiles are made in Ségou. In the late 17th cent. Ségou developed as the capital of a Bambara kingdom that reached its peak in the 18th cent. In 1861 the town was captured by al-Hajj Umar, a militant Muslim reformer. Umar (d.1864) and his son and successor Ahmadu, who ruled to 1890, made Ségou their capital. In 1890 the town was occupied by the French. It is the headquarters of a large-scale agricultural development project on the Niger River that was begun in 1932 by the French.
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