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Weird Borders Around the World

Each country has a clear territory (excluding border disputes) and countries set borders to do this. Borders are usually set by using a natural barrier like a river or a mountain which is a logical thing to do since this makes countries easy to defend and hard to conquer. However, there are some interesting borders in the world that will make you say why. In this text, you will see some examples to these kinds of borders.

First let’s start with enclaves*. An enclave is a territory that is completely surrounded by another territory. An enclave can be a part of a country like Llívia which is a territory of Spain that is surrounded by France, or it can be a country itself like San Marino, Lesotho, and the Vatican City. Llívia** is located in the province of Girona. It is officially a part of Spain, but it is surrounded by the Pyrénées-Orientales*** département of France. It has a population of 1589, and it is only 1.6 km away from the Spanish mainland. Another enclave, San Marino**** is an independent nation which is surrounded by Italy. It has a land area of 61 km2 and a population of 33,500. San Marino was officially founded in 301 AD by declaring its independence from the Roman Empire. In 1320 and 1463 it was enlarged twice to include the communities of Chiesanuova, Faetano, Fiorentino, Montegiardino and Serravalle. After that, the country's borders never changed.

Next, exclaves*. An exclave is a territory that is separated from its mainland by foreign territory. For example, Alaska is an exclave of the United States since it’s separated from the mainland by the Canadian province of British Columbia and Kaliningrad is also an exclave, it’s a part of Russia. These two borders might seem unnecessary, however there are reasons behind them. First, Alaska was a part of the Russian Empire and Canada was owned by the British Empire. After the US got its independence, it expanded its territory westwards. The United States wanted to have Alaska too because of its important geopolitical location. So, it offered the Russian Empire to sell it to them and at that time the Russian Empire needed the money, so they sold it. After that, Canada gained its independence, and the borders remained that way. Kaliningrad’s situation is a little different though. Kaliningrad is actually a new name. It was called Königsberg for a long time. Once, it was a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, then it got its independence and expanded its territory. It formed Prussia and after that it became a part of the German Empire. After the 1st World War, it became an exclave of the German Empire and after that, Germany lost the 2nd World War too and lost that territory. So, it became a part of the Soviet Union. After the borders were rearranged, its southern part was given to Poland and its northern part was given to Lithuania (still a puppet state of the Soviet Union). The rest (Kaliningrad) remained as a part of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic. Russia didn’t want to give it to anyone because it had geopolitical importance. After the fall of the Soviet Union (and the death of Stalin), it was offered to Lithuania, but they rejected it because the Germans, Poles and Lithuanians living there had already migrated to their homelands, so it had a Russian majority and Lithuania knew that having a Russian minority would cause a lot of troubles. Thus, it remained as a part of Russia until this day*****.

Briefly, there are some weird borders around the world, but they usually have history and reasons behind it.

*For further information about enclaves and exclaves, please check out:

**For further information please check out:

***For further information please check out:

****For further information please check out:

*****For further information about Kaliningrad please visit:


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