Showing posts with label maritime jurisdiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label maritime jurisdiction. Show all posts

Monday, March 20, 2017

2016 Year in Review: Country & Border Changes

Inside this Review of 2016:

Map of election results from the UK's "Brexit" referendum on leaving the European Union
    • Country name, capital, and flag changes
    • Border changes and disputed territories 
    • Separatist states and proposed new countries
    • Recognition of disputed countries 
    • Countries joining (and leaving) international organizations
    • Sea borders and seabed claims
    • New states and provinces within countries
    • Changes to countries' coastal contours and official languages
        And in companion articles:
        Rebel Control Around the World in 2016 
        Time Zones that Changed in 2016 

        It's PolGeoNow's mission to track changes to the world's countries, borders, and territories, whether it's happening formally on the books or unofficially on the ground. When new countries appear, borders change, and territorial disputes arise or are settled, you'll hear about it here. With 2016 now concluded, here's our look back at the events of the year!

        (For extra coverage of geography events in 2017, follow @PolGeoNow on Twitter!)

        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.

        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, 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:

        Monday, October 24, 2011

        News Bits: October 2011

        "News Bits" posts cover minor political geography events from the last few months. Although the news may be of great political relevance, these events haven't (yet) affected major changes to the shapes, sovereignty, or political status of the world's countries.

        Yemen: Militias Take Territory From Islamists
        Territory and areas of influence for rebels (blue) and Islamic
        extremists (red) in Yemen. Map is my own work, starting
        from this map by German Wikipedia user NordNordWest
        (license: CC BY-SA). (Corrected November 20, 2011)
        In Yemen's ongoing political crisis (See: Yemen Fragments Under Uprising), some territory previously held by Islamist militants has fallen under the control of unsympathetic non-government forces, whose presence around the country seems to be expanding. The Islamists, who call themselves Ansar al-Sharia ("Partisans of Islamic Law"), have occupied the cities of Jaar, Zinjibar, and Shuqra in Abyan province for several months now, along with various smaller towns both in Abyan and in heighboring Shabwah. However, since July, many of the smaller towns have fallen into the hands of local militias, and the Yemeni government has gained ground in the Zinjibar area. Though the local militias are currently working alongside the government, it is unclear whether it may be only a temporary truce. Yemen's opposition forces are composed of a mixture of local and kinship-based militias, army defectors, and pre-existing rebel groups, which sometimes work together but are increasingly clashing among themselves. The country's third largest city, Taiz, is largely under the control of opposition forces, as are some parts of the capital, Sana'a. (More Yemen news on Political Geography Now)

        Sudan No Longer Africa's Largest Country
        Now that the South Sudan has gained independence (See: New Country - South Sudan), the remainder of Sudan is no longer Africa's largest country by area. Sudan's one-time top spot was  followed by Algeria in second place and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in third. However, the secession of South Sudan  removed a substantial portion of Sudan's territory, and the northern remainder of the country now ranks third in Africa - after Algeria and the DRC. South Sudan ranks 19th, out of a total of 54 U.N.-recognized countries in Africa. (Graphic my own work, based on this map by Wikipedia user Mangwanani. License: CC BY-SA)

        Map showing most of the Cooch Behar
        enclaves. By Dutch Wikipedia user
        Jeroen (source). License: CC BY-SA
        Wikipedia: List of African Countries and Territories

        Indo-Bangladesh Treaty Defines Border, Trades Enclaves
        A treaty signed last month between the governments of India and Bangladesh fully defines the border between the two countries, and provides for the trade of dozens of enclaves. The Indo-Bangladesh enclaves, also known as "chitmahals" or the "Cooch Behar enclaves" (after the district of India which most of them either belong to or are located inside), number well over 100, including patches of Indian territory within Bangladesh and patches of Bengladeshi territory within India. Their inhabitants have long suffered under abominable living conditions due to the fact that they have access neither to services from their own country (because of their isolation) nor to services from the country surrounding them (because they are not considered part of its territory). Under the new agreement, based on a 1974 deal that was never adopted, nearly all of the enclaves will be ceded to whichever country surrounds them, and inhabitants will have a choice of citizenship. The two parties also defined the border in several previously disputed or undemarcated areas. The treaty will not go into effect until it is ratified by both countries' legislatures.


        Location of Rastan within Syria. Based on this
        map
        by German Wikipedia user NordNordWest.
        License: CC BY-SA
        Syrian City Falls Briefly to Rebels
        In Syria's ongoing uprising, the city of Rastan fell under control of protester-friendly rebel forces for a few weeks last month, before ultimately being retaken by government troops. The crisis in Syria, seen as part of the so-called "Arab Spring" movement for democratic change in the Middle East, began with protests last January. By march it had escalated to widespread displays of defiance in the streets, to which the government responded by sending in tanks and soldiers. However, the resistance was mostly unarmed until army defectors began organizing against the military in September. The city of Rastan, one of several major protest centers, was taken over by anti-government forces, which were not driven out until October 1. So far there have been no more reports of Syrian cities falling under armed anti-government control, but protests and violent government crackdowns continue in full gear.