The Most Complex International Borders in the World


The international border between two countries
defines where one country ends and another begins. This is something that should be incredibly
simple, but often isn’t. International borders come in a variety of
shapes and sizes. Some are simply an imaginary line in the middle of a street, while others
are… much more clearly defined… and some are even guarded 24/7. But before we begin, I need to quickly define
a couple of terms. Enclave and exclave. An enclave is a country, or part of a country,
that is entirely surrounded by another country, while an exclave is part of a country that
is geographically seperated from rest of the country. In this example, Country A is an enclave of
Country B because it’s totally surrounded by it. In this next example, Y is an exclave of Country
A. Exclaves aren’t necessarily always enclaves too, either because they have more than one
border, or they have a coastline… or both. In this final example. X is both an enclave
and an exclave. It’s an enclave of Country B and an exclave of Country A. There’s three countries in the wolrd that
are enclaved by another country. The first of which is the Vatican City. Home of the
Pope and the smallest country in the world, which is an enclave of Italy. And Italy apparently loves enclaves because
it also has the country and San Marino enclaved within its borders. But it that’s not enough to convince you Italy
loves enclaves then take a look at Campione d’Italia. An Italian exclave which is an enclave
within Switzerland. This tiny municipality, home to 2,000 Italians, uses the Swiss Franc
as its currency and is exempt from EU VAT. A fact which is greatly taken advantage of
in the form of Europe’s largest casino. So… Italy is a country that has not one,
but two countries within its borders. And part of it is enclaved within another country. The final, and by far largest, enclaved country
in the world is Lesotho, with a population of just over 2 million, is sounded by South
Africa. To put the size difference into perspective, he’s a comparision between San Marino and
Vatican City… and now here’s Lesotho. Lesotho is 70,000 times the size of Vatican City. Now, a country within a country is all very
well and good, but it’s not exactly that complex, so let’s take things up a notch. We’ve looked
at enclaves, now let’s look enclaves within enclaves. Also known as counter-enclaves or
2nd-order enclaves. I’m not talking about Country A within Country
B within Country C. No. While that would be an enclave within an enclave there are no
examples of that in the world. I’m talking about Country A within Country B within Country
A. Once again, there are three examples. The least complex of which is in the Middle
East and border between the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Here we can see a United Arab Emirates exclave,
which is enclave of an Omani exclave… which is itself an enclave of the United Arab Emirates… And this is the least complex example… Next me move over to Europe where start to
get a bit ridiculous with the border between the Netherlands and Belgium in the interlocking
municipalities of Baarle-Nassau and Baarle-Hertog, which looks a little something… like this… In total there’s 22 Belgian enclaves and 8
Dutch enclaves (7 of which are counter-enclaves). But these aren’t just imaginary lines. Every,
single, inch of the border within the town is clearly marked letting you know which country
you’re in; And the border passes through just about anything.
It passes through streets, so next-door neighbours may not be living in the same country as each
other. House numbers clearly indicate which country the residents are living in; It also passes through shops, where you might
select your items in one country and pay for them in another; Restuarants and cafes, where different tables
are in different countries; Car parks, making it possible to legally park
in 2 countries at the same time; And even… people’s houses. Some residents
of Baarle wake up in the Netherlands and make their breakfast in Belgium. But which country do they live in if the border
passes right through their house? Well, the answer is very simple: wherever your front
door is, that’s what country you live in. Well, it’s simple unless you live in this
house, in which the border passes directly through the front door. This is the only house
that’s part of both countries. It has two doorbells, one for each country, and two house
numbers because it has 2 addresses. Before 1995, the borders weren’t marked, and
were left vague. This caused an unfortunate situation for a
Belgian man living in Belgium… or so he thought… but in 1995 when the border was
accurately marked, it revealed that he was actually living in the Netherlands, not Belgium.
Legally, at this point, he would have to change his address over to the Netherlands, but unwilling
to go through the bureaucratic nightmare of having to change which country he pays taxes
to, and change which company provides his utilites, he decided against it. He decided
instead… to move his front door. Genius! Living in Baarle might sound like a bit of
nightmare, but it isn’t really. Because both countries are part of the EU’s Schengen Area,
borders are completely open, allowing free travel between the countries. And since 2002,
both countries use the Euro, and there’s also no language barrier since Dutch is the official
language of northern Belgium. But just when you thought things couldn’t
possibly get more complicated, wait until you see the enclave complex between India
and Bangladesh. This single border alone conprises 80% of the world’s enclaves, with 106 Indian
enclaves in Bangladesh and 92 enclaves of Bangladesh within India. And of the combined
198 enclaves, 24 of them are 2nd-order enclaves. And this border also has world’s only… 3rd-order
enclave. That’s right, an enclave, within an enclave… within an enclave. That is… part of India, inside part of Bangladesh,
inside part of India which is inside Bangladesh… But ridiculous as this is, unfortunately it’s
actually a very serious issue, and completely different from the situation on Europe. India
and Bangladesh don’t have open borders, so for the 50,000 people living in the enclaves,
they’re basically trapped. Their governments don’t provide anything for
them, so they don’t have access to basic life essentials, such as: running water, electricty,
or gas. There’s also no schools or hospitals in the enclaves, and the emergency services
won’t cross any borders so crime is extremely previlent. In 2011, the governments of both countries
agreed to try to sort out the enclaves by swapping land, but more than two years later
and still nothing has changed. However, some small progress has been made.
The Tin Bigha Corridor, a narrow strip or Indian land seperating the largest Bangladesh
enclave from the mainland, has been leased to them by the Indian government, allowing
residents to travel to the mainland. Although on saying that, this was first proposed
back in 1974 and took nearly 40 years to come to an agreement. Moving away from enclaves now and onto the
land that no-one wants which is in the African desert between Egypt and Sudan. Where exactly
the border is however, is debateable. If you ask Egypt, they’ll tell it’s here, but if
you ask Sudan, they’ll tell you it’s here. The overlapping border claims create two areas
of land, and both countries claim the same land – the Hala’ib Triangle. Leaving the adjacent
land unclaimed both countries. Neither country can claim the land known as Bir Tawil as they
would have to give up their claim to the much more desiarable land. If we compare the two pieces of land… the
Hala’ib Triangle is 10 times bigger, has access to the Red Sea and has several settlements
and small villages, where Bir Tawil is landlocked and completely uninhabited. The origin of the dispute dates back to 1899,
before Sudan was an independent country, and was a condominium between the United Kindom
and Egypt known as Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. The border was set at the 22nd parallel. Then, 3 years later, the British drew a new
line which they called the ‘Administrative bountry’, which better reflected the useage
of the land. This was because of the Egyptian tribe the used the land south of 22nd parallel,
and the people living in the Hala’ib Triangle were culturally more closesly related to that
of the Sudanese population. Therefore, in 1956, when Sudan became independent,
they assumed the administrative bountry was the border, while Egypt assumed it was still
the 22nd parallel. The Triangle is currently administered by Egypt, but most maps simply
use dotted lines for the disputed border. Bir Tawil is the only unclaimed land outside
of Antartica… and speaking of Antartica, this is another
place for complex borders. That’s right, even a continent with no government or permanent
population has international borders. Well… kind of. They’re more claims to land than
actual borders. Parts of Antartica are claimed by… the United
Kingdom, Norway, Australia, France, New Zealand, and this is were things get complicated…
Chile and Argentina. The land to the South-West is unclaimed. So, basically, there’s land
claimed by 3 countries, and land that’s claimed by no countries at all. The reason no-one has claimed it, is because
of the Antartica Treaty. Article 4 of said treaty states that “The treaty does not recognize,
dispute, nor establish territorial sovereignty claims; no new claims shall be asserted while
the treaty is in force” The treaty is signed by 50 countries, including
all the countries that have claims of land on the continent. Although Russia and the
United States have reserved their right to claim land. This means that any new claims made on the
continent will be unrecognised, and basically that all currect claimants have no official
sovereingty over their claimed land. The final place to look at for complex borders
is the island of Cyprus. Now you’d be forgiven for thinking Cyprus doesn’t have any complex
borders… or, you know, any border for that matter. But Cyprus is an absolute minefield
of border complexities. The island is split roughly in half by the
UN buffer zone which seperate the Republic of Cyprus from the unrecognised, self-declared
independent country of Northern Cyprus. And then there’s Sovereign Base Areas, under British
control. But the complications don’t end there, we’re
back to enclaves and exclaves again with the Northern Cyprus exclave on the north-west
coast of island. And within the Eastern Sovereign Base Area of Dhekelia, there’s 4 exclaves
of Cyprus, 3 of which are also enclaves. 2 of which are so close they’re only seperated
by a British road. And if we take a a closer look right here,
we can see the same again, a British road through Cyprus. And this is also the only
part of the island not split by the UN buffer zone, the British road basically acts as the
de facto international border. But it’s not actually an international border,
because Northern Cyprus is considered occupied territory of the Republic of Cyrpus and is
almost totally unrecognised as a country. Only one UN member recognises Northern Cyprus:
Turkey. Which is unsurprising given that the official name of Northern Cyprus is the Turkish
Republic of Northen Cyprus. The cause of the border irregularities go
back to before 1960 when the island of Cyprus was a British coloney. Then, in 1960, when
Cyrpus gained independence, the United Kingdom kept the land around its RAF bases given their
strategic location just off the Middle East. Then, in 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus and took
about 40% of their land. Barriers were built in the middle of the island, which is now
guarded by UN peacekeeping forces. Then, in 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
was established, and not much has changed since then. Of course this is by no means an exhaustive
list, there are plenty more complex borders in the world. Like the border between North
and South Korea which technically isn’t a border because technically they’re still at
war, or the maritime border between the Diomede islands which also happens to be the international
date line, therefore despite only being 4 kilometers between the islands, there’s a
23 hour time difference. But those are topics for another day… Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “The Most Complex International Borders in the World

  1. This video now has TWO sequels!
    Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZdkqqjosCM
    Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeaiyZwVC0k

  2. What is the music for? I could barely understand the accent and speed of narration as it was. Go back to school and learn something besides sex ed.

  3. So if I lie down with my legs in Belgium and the rest of me in the Netherlands can I avoid being prosecuted in Belgium if I kick someone in Belgium up the arse?

  4. 10:43 you shouldnt educate people things you dont know yourself

    Cyprus was 300 years in the hands of the ottmans so alott of turks moved there

    After ww1 rhe ottoman empire collapsed and cyprus was now 37 years under british control

    Greek and turkish cypriots lived in harmony. But then greece backed the terrorist group EOKA to slaughter all turkish cypriots and make cyprus only greek

    Turkey asked Britian and the united nations to stop this madness but they knowingly didnt move a muscle.

    Turkey then invaded the country inorder to protect the turkish cypriots. And a second invasion was planned to happen.

    But then look who came through the door. Old britian and the united nations. Wanting this madness to end.

    So a agreement was settled thus leading to this day

  5. Such a stupid accent and primitive way to comment a video – but the content is great – thanks for entertaining me

  6. Firstly hello, turkey had reasons to invade cyprus because greeks who live in cyprus murdered thousands of cyprus turkish so we went there for peace to all nation and the other reason is greeks in cyprus wanted to join in Greece then we did not allow this thanks to agreement.

  7. Just a thought, maybe Britain shouldn't be allowed to draw borders in countries that aren't actually on the British isles… Maybe not even there, but definitely not elsewhere as everywhere they've ever drawn a border shit has gone to shit almost immediately after they've finished with their map making. It seems they've mostly also remained all fuckered up since …. Just no more border drawing for the Brits. K? Thank you.

  8. The speaker has an awful articulation🥴🤮 Listening to him let me get ear cancer.🙉. #horrible. Please lern to speak clear🙏🏻 Can‘t continue with watching the video.

  9. Timor Leste also have an exclave territory called as Pante Makassar. It's separated from Timor Leste mainland inside East Nusatenggara Province in Indonesia

  10. KEEP CYPRUS TO GREEKS THEY OWNED IT FOR 3000 YEARS LEAVE THEM ALONE AND GO BACK TO MONGOLIA WHERE YOU CAME FROM YOU DIDNT EVEN EXIST UNTIL 8TH CENTURY FUCK OFF IT IS NOT BRITISH EITHER NOR U.N's IT IS GREEK.

  11. Now no more CHHITMAHAL enclaves exist in India and Bangladesh borders , both countries gifted other party those enclaves after mutual agreement thus ending the misery of the haplessly trapped people inside those enclaves. Note the Bangladesh gained independence out of Pakistan and was part of erstwhile British India ….

  12. People from Scotland should not make documentary pieces . Your accent is awful and painful . It interferes with basic comprehension in the english language. STOP please.

  13. I wonder what’s it like in the town if the Netherlands and Belgium where playing in the finals of the World Cup

  14. I wanted to watch the video but your voice is so fucking sloopy its the most annoying thing. I don't know what the rest of the video has. Not watching, its too annoying . Try some voice correction software.

  15. This video shows how artificial borders are. People should be able to travel more freely between countries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *