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

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Premium Map Report: Russian Control of Crimea

Map of Russian seizures and military actions in the Crimea region which it recently annexed from Ukraine.

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After a month of low-level conflict, Russian military control of Crimea appears to be nearly complete. Here's a complete map - to the best of our knowledge - of all locations of Russian seizures and other military actions inside and outside of the Crimea region. This map and article are exclusive premium content, available only to members and for individual purchase. Buy now (US$4.99).

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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.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Map: Palestine Recognized by Two More Countries (134/193)

(Keep up with changes to Palestine's situation: view all Palestine updates.)

Map of countries that recognize the State of Palestine as an independent country, updated for November 2013 with recent additions Haiti and South Sudan highlighted
Countries recognizing the State of Palestine in green, with most recent additions highlighted. Palestine in magenta (circled). Click to enlarge. Map by Evan Centanni, modified from public domain graphic (source).

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Lies Your World Map Told You: 5 Ways You're Being Misled

Unfortunately, most world political maps aren't telling you the whole story. The idea that Earth's land is cleanly divvied up into nation-states - one country for each of the world's peoples - is more an imaginative ideal than a reality. Read on to learn about five ways your map is lying to you about borders, territories, and even the roster of the world's countries.

Map of the world's countries according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency
The lines and coloring on this map are hiding major truths about the world's countries.
(Source: U.S. CIA; public domain)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Japan-China Dispute: The Eight Islands of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Group (Aerial Photos)

Map of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, disputed between Japan, China, and Taiwan; includes location as well as detail of islands
Map of the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands (by Evan Centanni). Click to view at full size.
Article by Evan Centanni

The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands
A recent feature on Political Geography Now introduced the history and status of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, a disputed territory controlled by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan. The article included an original map which showed the isles' configuration and precise location within the East China Sea (click on the map at right to see it at full size). But if you're like me, you may be wondering "just how small are these islands, and what do they really look like?"

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Disputed Territory: The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands

You may have heard the news about China and Japan's ongoing territorial dispute over a group of islands in the East China Sea. But what are the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, and why are they so fiercely contested? Read on for all these answers and more!

Map of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, disputed between Japan, China, and Taiwan; includes location as well as detail of islands
Map of the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands (by Evan Centanni).
Article by Omar Alkhalili

About the Islands
The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands are a collection of five small islets and three rocks in the East China Sea, all of which are uninhabited. The largest of the islands has an area of 4.32 km² and the smallest is only 0.45 km². They are located about 140 km from the nearest inhabited Japanese islands, 300 km from mainland China and 170 km from Taiwan. They are administered by Japan but claimed by both the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan, whose government is known officially as the Republic of China (ROC).

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Who Recognizes Palestine in 2013?

(Keep up with changes to Palestine's situation: view all Palestine updates.)

 Palestine is now an Observer State in the U.N., but it's still not recognized individually by all U.N. member countries. Read on for more about the latest countries to recognize Palestine, plus other recent changes to its international status.
Map of countries that recognize the State of Palestine as an independent country, updated for May 2013 with most recent additions highlighted
Countries recognizing the State of Palestine in green, with most recent additions highlighted in lighter green. Palestine in magenta (circled). Map by Evan Centanni, modified from public domain graphic (source).

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Niger and Burkina Faso Resolve Territorial Dispute

Update: In May 2015, Niger and Burkina Faso formally agreed to implement this ICJ ruling, with the practical aspects of exchanging territories to be completed by the end of the following year.

Map of the disputed territory between Niger and Burkina Faso, which was divided between the two countries in an April 2013 ruling by the International Court of Justice
Map by Evan Centanni. Sources: ICJ, Natural Earth. Africa inset based on this map by TUBS/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).
By Evan Centanni
Border Dispute Settled
Last week, a territorial dispute between the West African countries of Niger and Burkina Faso was resolved peacefully with a ruling from the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Both countries' governments agreed to respect the court's ruling on where their border should lie, a question which had persisted ever since they both achieved independence in 1960.

In the ruling, the court drew an official border based on a careful analysis of a 1927 document establishing the pre-independence boundary between the two former French colonies, also turning to a 1960 French map which both countries had agreed to use as a secondary reference. The new border splits the disputed area between Burkina Faso and Niger, and will help put an end to confusion regarding policing and tax collection in the border area.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

North Kosovo Status Changing After Serbia Deal

Map of Serbia, Kosovo, and North Kosovo
Map by Evan Centanni, based on these two blank maps by Nord-NordWest. License: CC BY-SA
Kosovo & Serbia in Historic Agreement
Serbia and the breakaway Republic of Kosovo reached a landmark deal on Friday to normalize their relations, partially compromising on several contentious issues between the two governments in southeastern Europe. Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, but due to Serbia's opposition it has still not achieved full international recognition. 

Status Change for North Kosovo
North Kosovo is the largest of several areas within Kosovo where the majority of people are part of the Serb ethnic group, whereas 90% of people in Kosovo as a whole are ethnically Albanian. When Kosovo split from Serbia, many Serbs in the north refused to go, governing themselves separately from Kosovo and choosing instead to continue cooperating with and accepting government funding from Serbia.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What is North Korea?

North Korea's threats of war have captured the world's attention in recent weeks, leaving citizens of other East Asian countries anxiously awaiting the latest news. A new war is unlikely, but how much do you know about North Korea, its international status, and its dispute with the south?

Map of North Korea and South Korea
Map by Johannes Barre & Patrick Mannion (CC BY-SA) (source)
What is North Korea?
Located on the northern half of the Korean Peninsula between South Korea and China (and sharing a short border with Russia), North Korea is a medium-sized East Asian country of about 24 million people. Despite its size, it boasts the fourth-largest army in the world, and has remained officially at war with South Korea since 1950.

Sometimes considered one of the world's last remaining communist states, North Korea actually claims no longer to follow communist ideology. However, it surely does hold the distinction of having the world's most closed borders, with its totalitarian government tightly controlling the flow of information and people in and out of the country.

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:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Is Palestine Really a Country?

(Keep up with changes to Palestine's situation: view all Palestine updates.)

Palestine is now recognized as a country by both the U.N. and a majority of its members, but many  have questioned whether this new-found status reflects the truth on the ground. Is Palestine really an independent country, or is this a political fantasy concocted by supporters in the U.N.?

The Olso Accords divided the Palestinian territories into three areas of control (see article for explanation). Map by Evan Centanni. Sources: Natural Earth, B'Tselem, U.N. OCHA oPt.
What is a "sovereign state"?
By the most common definition, a "state" has to have:
  1. A government
  2. A defined territory
  3. A permanent population
  4. The ability to conduct foreign relations with other states
This definition is called the "declarative theory of statehood", and was formalized in the Montevideo Convention of 1933. To be a "sovereign" state (i.e. an independent country), it's also important that the government answers to no other country, and that the territory and population are actually under the government's control.

A prospective country that fits these criteria is described by geographers as a de facto sovereign state, even if it's not recognized by the international community (de facto is Latin for "in actual fact").

Friday, November 30, 2012

Palestine Recognized as a Country by the U.N.

(Keep up with changes to Palestine's situation: view all Palestine updates.)

This Thursday, the U.N. General Assembly voted to change Palestine's status in the organization from "observer" to "observer state". This is the first time the international body has recognized Palestine as a state, giving it the same status enjoyed by U.N. non-member Vatican City. 

Map of Israel with the occupied territories of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights highlighted
The State of Palestine claims the West Bank and Gaza, which are largely occupied by Israel. The Golan Heights are not part of the Palestinian Territories. Public domain map (source).
Until this Thursday, Palestine was a partially recognized country, acknowledged by some U.N. member nations, but not by the U.N. itself (See also: How many countries are there in the world?). Although its delegation has had observer status at the U.N. since 1974, it was never classified as a "state", being treated as something between a country and a non-government organization. Now, the organization has officially voted to change Palestine's status to "observer state" - effectively a recognition that it's an independent country, even though it's still not a U.N. member.

The Palestinian delegation campaigned to join the U.N. as a member last year, but had to give up after the U.S. promised to veto the application in the U.N. Security Council. Observer status, on the other hand, is determined by a majority vote in the U.N. General Assembly, which no single country can veto. That vote happened on November 29th, with members voting 138 to 9 in favor of granting Palestine observer state status (41 members abstained, and 5 were absent from the vote; see the full breakdown of national votes).

Friday, May 25, 2012

Map: Sudan & South Sudan's Disputed Territories

Countries: South Sudan, Sudan
Official Names: Republic of South Sudan, Republic of Sudan
Summary: After South Sudan declared independence from Sudan last year, much of the border between the neighbors is still hotly disputed, with recent violent clashes around the Heglig oil field and other areas. Read on for a full list of Sudan and South Sudan's eight major border flashpoints.

Map of the border between Sudan and South Sudan, marking selected territorial disputes and border clashes in 2012. Includes inset map of April fighting in region of Heglig oil field.
Border map of Sudan and South Sudan, showing disputed areas and fighting since the beginning of 2012. Aerial bombings and attacks by rebel groups not shown. My own work, using blank Sudan and South Sudan maps by NordNordWest / Wikipedia. License: CC BY-SA.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kosovo Diplomatic Recognition Continues

Country Name: Kosovo (English, Serbian), Kosova (Albanian)
Official Name: Republic of Kosovo (English), Republika e Kosov√ęs (Albanian),
Republika Kosovo (Serbian)
News Categories: Recognition, Partially Recognized States, Breakaway States
Summary: The Republic of Kosovo has continued to receive diplomatic recognition from other countries, despite widespread opposition to its 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia. Thirteen more U.N. members have declared their recognition of independent Kosovo just within the last year.

Flag of the Republic of Kosovo
Flag of the Republic of Kosovo.
Image by Cradel (source). License: CC BY-SA
Full Story
The majority of recently independent countries, such as South Sudan and Montenegro, enjoy unopposed recognition from the U.N. and its members. However, acceptance into the international community doesn't always come so easily. Kosovo is one example: because it declared its independence without first coming to an agreement with its former host country (unlike South Sudan and Montenegro), it has struggled to gain acceptance as a sovereign state. The last of the Balkan countries to declare independence after the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Kosovo was first separated unofficially from the country in 1999, when NATO intervened militarily in the province to stop Serbian government violence against ethnic Albanians. The Albanians are a cultural group from southeastern Europe who speak a unique language only distantly related to other European tongues, and like the Bosniaks in nearby Bosnia & Herzegovia, are one of the few majority-Muslim European peoples. They also form a majority of the population in the neighboring country of Albania.

Map of Kosovo within Serbia
Kosovo, claimed as a province of Serbia, is
policed by U.N. and E.U. peacekeepers. The
Republic of Kosovo also governs the region,
except for the Serbian-loyalist north. Map is
my own work, based on these two blank
maps by Nord-NordWest. License: CC BY-SA
Policed by a U.N. peacekeeping mission since 1999, most of Kosovo has never since been controlled by the Yugoslav (now Serbian) government, though the U.N. still officially considers it to be a province of Serbia. Despite fierce political opposition from Serbia, Russia, and other countries, as well as from the ethnic Serb minority within Kosovo, the local government declared independence in 2008. The self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo government has since administered the territory alongside the U.N. and another police force sent by the European Union, though the Northern Kosovo area, a Serb-majority region, has resisted independence and continues to support the Serbian government in Belgrade, even setting up roadblocks to keep out the Kosovan police - a sort of breakaway state within a breakaway state.

The Republic of Kosovo has not been admitted into the U.N., and it is recognized by only 88 U.N. member countries (many of them NATO members or countries with Muslim populations) and one other state (Taiwan). Serbia and Russia still strongly oppose independence for Kosovo, but the list of states recognizing its sovereignty has nevertheless continued to grow. Within the last year, 13 more U.N. members have offered diplomatic recognition of Kosovan independence: Andorra, the Central African Republic, Guinea, Niger, Benin, Saint Lucia, Nigeria, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Kuwait, Uganda, Ghana, and Haiti.

Map of countries recognizing the Republic of Kosovo
Diplomatic recognition of the Republic of Kosovo. Countries that recognized Kosovan independence recently (in the last twelve months) in light green, others in dark green; Kosovo in magenta. Public domain (source).
Sources: See citations on Wikipedia's list of Entities that recognize Kosovo as an independent state.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Abkhazia Recognized by Vanuatu

Country Name: Abkhazia (English), Apsny (Abkhaz), Abkhaziya (Russian)
Official Name: Republic of Abkhazia
News Category: Partially Recognized States, Diplomatic Recognition
Summary: The disputed breakaway state of Abkhazia has gained diplomatic recognition from Vanuatu, the fifth U.N. member to acknowledge its independence from Georgia.

Abkhazia (purple stripes) and South Ossetia (gold stripes), and their
claimed location within Georgia. Wikimedia map by Ssolbergj (CC BY-SA).
Full Story
The Republic of Abkhazia is one of seven states in the world which are recognized by some U.N. members, but not by the U.N. as a whole. Located in the Caucasus region on the border between Europe and Asia, Abkhazia is considered part of Georgia by most U.N. members; however, it has enjoyed de facto independence since winning a war of secession against the larger country in 1993. It has shared much of its fate with South Ossetia, another breakaway state which also seceded from Georgia around the same time. Abkhazia and South Ossetia passed their first decade and a half of independence without the recognition of any U.N. members. That changed after a 2008 war in which Georgia attempted to take back the two breakaway states by force, and was repelled by Russian forces. In the aftermath of the war, both Abkhazia and South Ossetia received diplomatic recognition from Russia, as well as from the Central American Republic of Nicaragua. The next year, South America's Venezuela and the Pacific island country of Nauru followed suit. The two breakaway republics are also recognized by each other and at least two other non-U.N. member states.
U.N. members recognizing Abkhazia shown in green. Vanuatu circled in green, Abkhazia circled in pink.
Modified from this map by Wikimedia user NuclearVacuum (license: CC BY-SA).
This summer, Abkhazia received recognition from a fifth U.N. member, the Republic of Vanuatu. For the first time, South Ossetia was not recognized along with Abkhazia. Vanuatu is a Pacific island country of a quarter-million people, formerly known as the New Hebrides, which won independence from Britain and France in 1980. Vanuatu's recognition of Abkhazia this year was accompanied by a great deal of confusion. Negotiated in secret between the two states, the recognition agreement was first announced to the public at the end of May. However, government officials in Vanuatu gave differing reports on whether or not the agreement existed, with confirmation finally coming on June 7. Making things even more complicated, Vanuatu's temporary prime minister withdrew recognition of Abkhazia on June 19, but it was reinstated on July 12 after the return of the permanent head of government.

Wikipedia: Abkhazia, Vanuatu, International Recognition of Abkhazia & South Ossetia