The Secret of Unique Border Lines
The Secret of Unique Border Lines
  • Kwon Da-hee (Web Editor)
  • 승인 2024.07.08 13:34
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Soongsilians are curious about the wonder of borders. Then, in the next article, let's look at borders and countries, and learn about how they were made. ...............Ed

     Though some Soongsilians are confident in the puzzle of the world map, it’s never an easy job because of some unique and strange borderlines. Why are those border lines created so strangely? Let’s find out the unique borderlines between a few countries.

The same country, even if crossing the sea

     Originally, Ceuta had been under the rule of Islam, and Portugal started to dominate Ceuta. Felipe Ⅱ of Spain started to bribe the nobles by offering gold and, finally, he governed both Spain and Portugal with a precondition, which was never to annex the two countries. Later, many Spaniards supported Spain during the war against Portugal because there were many Spaniards who lived in Ceuta, which became the territory of Spain through the Treaty of Lisbon. Other than Ceuta, there was also Melilla in Morocco, which was governed by the Islamic dynasty. While Catholics had a national recovery movement (Reconquista) to reconquer their territory, Fernando Ⅱ of the kingdom of Aragon and Isabel Ⅰ of the Crown of Castile built the kingdom of Spain through their marriage. Later, Granada, the last independent Islamic state in Western Europe, surrendered without any war, and the movement finally ended after 782 years. Spain intended to expand their regime to Africa, and Melilla became a Spanish territory without fighting any war like Granada.

     In the war between Spain and Morocco, with Spain gaining the upper hand, both countries signed a peace treaty (Treaty of Wadras), and the fact that Ceuta and Melilla were Spanish territories has been disputed for a long time.

The World's Shortest Border

     Where is the world’s shortest border located? It is located between Spain and Morocco, as you just saw. Besides Ceuta and Melilla, there is also a Spanish territory on the northern side of Morocco. It is an island called Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera located halfway between Ceuta and Melilla. Although it was an ordinary rocky island, the reason why a border could be established dates back to 1934. In 1934, a severe sandstorm deposited sand between the island and the mainland of Morocco, creating an isthmus. Thus, the tiny island the size of two soccer fields became a peninsula, and a short border of 74 m was created. The island has no inhabitants, but there is a Spanish army, monitoring and maintaining security on the area.

Why is there an askew part on the straight borderline? the USA(United States of America) and Canada

     Unusually, the borderline between the USA and Canada looks like a straight line but if you follow the straight border line, there is a part that looks as if it were askew while drawing with a ruler. Why does the borderline look strange?

     The USA won the war against Britain and they negotiated. Then Britain decided the borderline based on the Mississippi River to trade easily with America. Both American and British negotiators settled their border line based on a map drawn by an amateur cartographer but there was a big mistake. After the USA occupied Louisiana in 1803, the situation got complex and France didn't know the exact borderline so that they couldn't set the line again. Thus both countries kept the ring to each other and they agreed to draw a straight line along the 49 parallel. But they drew an additional curve that connects the northwestern top of the Lake of the Wooks according to the Paris Treaty because the USA could never give the Lake of the Woods. Therefore a strange borderline was formed.

Is there another country within a country?

     At the right side of the UAE's (United Arab Emirates) territory, there is a pretty unique border. If you look closely, you can see that there is a small Omani territory within the UAE territory. What is more interesting is another UAE territory within the Omani territory. Basically, there is the UAE within Oman, which is within the UAE. How did such a strange border emerge?

     1971, the UAE was founded by seven emirates after gaining independence from the UK (United Kingdom). Each emirate held talks to establish allies, but Oman sought to become an independent country, and retained the territories, Madha and Musandam. Inside the town of Madha is a village named Nahwa. Madha’s elders chose to belong to Oman, and Nahwa's elders chose to belong to the UAE. The UAE did not challenge Oman's territorial claim, so Madha belonged to Oman's Musandam province, and Nahwa belonged to the emirate of Sharjah, UAE.

     The isolated territory such as Madha and Nahwa is called an 'enclave' or a 'counter-enclave'. So, Nahwa is called the 'counter counter-enclave' because it is doubly isolated. A passport is not required to pass these two borders. Madha and Nahwa are very small villages that have fewer than 3,000 people in total, but you can see many beautiful mosques and picturesque golden landscapes there.

     One of the most representative regions of the counter-enclave is the Baarle of the Netherlands and Belgium. Unlike in the case of the UAE and Morocco, this place is not organized, so it is very fascinating to go there. A border runs through the middle of a house and restaurants. Due to this problem, there is confusion due to policy differences between countries, such as children born in homes that cross the border are granted two nationalities, and restaurants move tables side to side. However, many tourists visit every year due to the joy of the unique experience.


Kwon Da-hee (Web Editor)

Kang Ha-yeon (ST Cub-Reporter)


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