Every country except for a few island nations have at least one border with another country. But those borders don't always look the same. "From large lakes to a shared collection of islands, national borders are more than just lines on a map." Many of these borders include exclaves...a term I wasn't familiar with. If you're like me, the simplest explanation for an exclave is this: a portion of the territory of one state completely surrounded by territory of another or others, as viewed by the home territory.
1. Angle Inlet. In far southeastern Manitoba, Canada lies an inlet of the Lake of the Woods that is part of the United States. Also known as the Northwest Angle, this exclave of the United States considered part of Minnesota, can only be reached from Minnesota by traveling over the Lake of Woods or by traveling through Manitoba or Ontario.
2. Azerbaijan - Armenia border. Between these two countries, there are a combined total of four exclaves or islands of territory that lie in the opposite country; the largest exclave belongs to Azerbaijan but lies in Armenia territory. Two smaller ones also belong to Azerbaijan but lie in northeastern Armenia. The fourth exclave belongs to Armenia but lies fully in Azerbaijan territory. Confused yet?
3. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and The United Arab Emirates, Oman - The boundaries between the United Arab Emirates is not clear. Why is that, you might ask? "The boundary with Saudi Arabia, defined in the 1970s, has not been publicly announced, so cartographers and officials draw the line at their best estimate. The border with Oman is not defined. Nonetheless, these boundaries lie within a fairly inhospitable desert, so boundary demarcation is not an urgent issue at this time."
4. China - Pakistan-India(Kashmir), Three countries...three times the problems. The Kashmir region where India, Pakistan, and China meet in the Karakoram Range is incredibly complex. Enough said.
5. Namibia's Caprivi Strip - Northeastern Namibia has a panhandle that extends far east several hundred miles and separating Botswana from Zambia. The Caprivi Strip provides Namibia access to the Zambezi River near the Victoria Falls.
6. India-Bangladesh-Nepal borders - Less than 20 miles (30 km) separate Bangladesh from Nepal, "squeezing India so far that eastern India is almost an exclave. Prior to 1947, Bangladesh was part of British India and so the border problem didn't exist until the independence of India and Bangladesh.
7. Bolivia - In 1825, Bolivia gained independence and its territory included the Atacama and thus access to the Pacific Ocean. However, in its war with Peru against Chile in the War of the Pacific (1879-1893) Bolivia lost its ocean access and became a landlocked country.
8. Alaska (US) and Canada - Southeastern Alaska contains a peninsula of rocky and icy islands, known as the Alexander Archipelago, that cuts Canada's Yukon Territory as well as northern British Columbia off from the Pacific Ocean. This territory is Alaskan, and thus part of the United States.
9. Territorial claims on Antarctica - This one is, I think, the most interesting. Did you know that seven countries claim a wedge-shaped slice of Antarctica? "While no nation can modify its territorial claim nor can any nation act upon such a claim, these straight boundaries that typically lead from 60 degrees south to the South Pole divide up the continent, overlapping in some instances but also leaving significant segments of the continent unclaimed (and unclaimable, according to the principles of the Antarctic Treaty of 1959). And last, but not least,
10. The Gambia - It's literally a country within a country. The Gambia lies entirely within Senegal. The river-shaped country was started when British merchants obtained the trading rights along the river. From those rights, The Gambia eventually became a colony and then an independent country. Pretty cool, eh?
Tomorrow is Wednesday and that can only mean one thing...A lesson from Dharma Frog and, I suspect, maybe a few words from Count Frogula on Halloween!
See you then.