Showing posts with label dependent territories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dependent territories. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

On the Ground: Gibraltar and the "Brexit" Referendum

This is the first installment of PolGeoNow's On the Ground, a new series of exclusive photo essays on what political geography looks like in the real world. Whether it's borders, nationalism, or other geopolitical phenomena, we'll bring the on-the-ground situations to your screen in vivid detail.

Update 2016-06-24: Gibraltar on Thursday voted in favor of the UK staying in the European Union, by an incredible margin of  96% to 4%. However, the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU, meaning that Gibraltar can expect to get pulled out with it, against the wishes of the Gibraltarians.
 
Photo of the Gibraltar Stronger in Europe campaign office on the British territory's main street. Gibraltar's population is overwhelmingly against a so-called Brexit, or departure of the UK from the European Union.
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Map of Gibraltar and its location in Europe relative to the UK and Spain
Right: Map of Gibraltar by Eric Gaba (source; CC BY-SA)
Left: Gibraltar's location in Europe (based on this Wikimedia Commons map by TUBS; CC BY-SA)
Gibraltar prepares to vote on whether UK should leave European Union
Last month, PolGeoNow's Evan Centanni and Meihsing Kuo visited the small British territory of Gibraltar (pronounced "jih-BRALL-ter"), one month ahead of the UK's referendum on whether to leave or remain in the European Union (EU).

Gibraltar, a tiny peninsula connected to Spain - and claimed by the Spanish government - is the only British overseas territory that's part of the EU. It's also the only external territory whose residents are eligible to vote in the so-called "Brexit" referendum without living in the UK proper. ("Brexit" is an abbreviation for "British exit" from the EU.)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Map: Peru & Chile's Sea Dispute Settled in Court

Two weeks ago, the International Court of Justice released a long-awaited ruling on Peru and Chile's disputed maritime boundary. Many headlines claimed that Peru "won" the case, but in fact it was not a full victory for either country. Below is our detailed map of Peru and Chile's seas and of the dispute, followed by an easy-to-understand summary of the case. 

Map of Chile and Peru's territorial waters and exclusive economic zones (EEZ), plus the details of their territorial dispute at sea and disagreement of the land border. Shows the results of the Jan. 27, 2014 ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) settling the dispute.
Map by Evan Centanni (country coastlines and land borders from Natural Earth)
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Article by Evan Centanni


Disputed Territory
Chile and Peru have just settled a decades-long dispute over the location of their maritime boundary (the border between their sea zones). A large wedge of sea off the countries' coast was claimed by both sides, in part because of its high value for the fishing industry. In 2008, Peru took Chile to court over the dispute. Their disagreements would be resolved by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), a United Nations body in the Hague founded for the purpose of settling differences between U.N. member countries.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Map: The Falkland Islands' Disputed Seas

The Falkland Islands, a South Atlantic territory disputed between the U.K. and Argentina, held a status referendum this week in which 99.8% of voters defied Argentina by choosing to remain British. But it's not just about the islands - also at stake are legal rights to the sea for hundreds of miles around.
Map of maritime jurisdiction in the seas surrounding the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), including territorial sea, internal waters, and exclusive economic zone (EEZ)
Zones of maritime jurisdiction around the Falkland Islands, highlighting area disputed between the U.K and Argentina. Map by Evan Centanni (country coastlines from the Natural Earth dataset). All rights reserved.
The Disputed Seas of the Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are administered by the U.K. as an overseas territory, but are also claimed based on historical arguments by Argentina, which calls them "las Islas Malvinas". Both countries have signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which defines ownership and legal rights for the waters surrounding coastal countries. According to the UNCLOS, each country is entitled to three basic zones of control in its surrounding seas:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Puerto Rico: 51st State of the U.S.?

[This article was written after Puerto Rico's 2012 status referendum. In June 2017, Puerto Rico voted in another controversial referendum, again technically in favor of statehood. Most of this five-year-old article is still accurate after the 2017 vote. -Editor]


Earlier this month, papers reported that Puerto Rico had voted to become a state of the U.S. - but will it really happen? What does it take to become a state, anyway? Last time, we explained Puerto Rico's current status - now for answers about the territory's future....

Flag of the United States with a new star added (total of 51 stars) for a hypothetical new state of Puerto Rico
A possible 51-star U.S. flag. Since each star on the flag represents one state, a new one would need to be added for Puerto Rico (public domain; source).
Why would Puerto Rico want to become a state?
Puerto Rico's current situation leaves it disadvantaged compared to the states. It has its own constitution and government, but the laws establishing them are subject to approval by the U.S. Congress. And despite the fact that most federal taxes and other laws apply to Puerto Ricans, residents have no real representation in Congress and no say in the presidential election. (For more details, see What is Puerto Rico?)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What is Puerto Rico? Is it part of the United States?

In 2012 and 2017, Puerto Rico voted on whether to become a state of the US. But what exactly is Puerto Rico now? Is Puerto Rico part of the United States, and can its people vote in U.S. elections? Find all your answers here!

If Puerto Rico's not a state, then what is it?

map of Puerto Rico's location relative to the U.S.
Location of Puerto Rico relative to the U.S.
Map by TUBS/Wikimedia Commons (source; CC BY-SA)
Puerto Rico is Spanish-speaking region made up of one big island and a few smaller islands in the Caribbean Sea. Since being taken from Spain in the Spanish-American War of 1898, it's been an overseas territory of the United States (known in U.S. technical jargon as an "insular area"). Internationally, the island is sometimes treated informally as a separate nation, even sending its own team of athletes to the Olympics (See also: Which Countries Are and Aren't in the Olympics?). However, it's not an independent country, but a subject of the U.S. federal government.