The Most Complex International Borders In The World

You would think that the borders of countries would be fairly well established now, and pretty easy to understand. You could think that, but you’d be wrong.

This excellent video by WonderWhy delves into some of the most complex international borders in the world. It starts off talking about enclaves, which are countries within countries. This then gets kicked up a notch by second-order enclaves, or counter-enclaves, which are enclaves within enclaves. These enclaves though are still fairly easy to understand.

Next up: Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog. In this region, there are 22 Belgium enclaves and 8 Dutch enclaves (7 of which are counter-enclaves). What’s so impressive here is that the border is actually marked on the ground. To determine which country you live in, it’s pretty simple: whichever country your front door is in, that’s your country of residence. So moving country is as easy as moving your front door!

However, all of this pales in comparison to the enclaves between India and Bangladesh. Between them, there are 198 enclaves, of which 24 are second-order enclaves, and there is a single third-order enclave, the only one in the world. It’s really rather crazy, and results in a great many problems for those living within the enclaves.

The video moves on to the only unclaimed land outside of Antarctica, called Bir Tawil, located between Egypt and Sudan. Antarctica itself also has unclaimed land. The video finishes off with the island of Cyprus, which is surprisingly complex for a borderless island.

It’s all rather fascinating and enlightening. Onwards!

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