Landlocked country

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Landlocked countries of the world.

A landlocked country is one that has no coastline, meaning no direct access to sea or ocean. As of 2006, there are 43 landlocked countries in the world. A landlocked sea is a sea that is either not at all or not directly connected to the oceans. The Caspian Sea and the Aral Sea are sometimes considered to be lakes. If that is taken to be true, 44 percent of the total amount of water in the world's lakes forms the Caspian Sea.

A sea that is almost landlocked is connected to the oceans by a strait only, such as the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Black Sea. This may be of strategic importance, with one or two countries controlling the entrance, and/or be relevant for tides and freshwater content.


[edit] Significance

Historically, being landlocked was regarded as a disadvantageous position. It cuts the country off from sea resources such as fishing, but more importantly cuts off access to seaborne trade which, even today, makes up a large percentage of international trade. Around the world, coastal regions tend to be wealthier and more heavily populated than inland ones.

Countries thus have made particular efforts to avoid being landlocked. The International Congo Society, which owned the modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo, was given a thin piece of land bisecting Angola to connect it to the sea by the Conference of Berlin in 1885. The Dubrovnik Republic had once gifted the town of Neum to the Ottoman Empire because it did not want to have a land border with Venice; this small municipality was inherited by Bosnia and Herzegovina for which it now provides limited sea access, splitting the Croatian part of the Adriatic coast in two. After World War I Poland was given the Danzig Corridor to give it an outlet on the sea. The Danube was internationalized so that landlocked Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia (and the southern parts of Germany, itself not landlocked) could have secure access to the sea.

Losing access to the sea is often a great blow to nations. The successful separatist movements of areas that allow a host country sea access, such as in Eritrea and Montenegro, are of great concern: by that means, Ethiopia and Serbia have recently become landlocked. Bolivia lost its coastline to Chile in the War of the Pacific. Still to this day the Bolivian Navy trains in Lake Titicaca for an eventual recovery and, in the 21st century, the selection of the route of gas pipes from Bolivia to the sea fueled popular risings.

Austria and Hungary also lost their access to the sea as a consequence of the Treaty of Trianon in 1920. Before, although Croatia had a constitutional autonomy within Hungary, the City of Fiume on the Croatian coast was independent, governed directly as a corpus separatum from Budapest by an appointed governor, to provide Hungary with its only international port in the periods 1779-1813, 1822-1848 and 1868-1918.

When the Entente Powers divided the former Ottoman Empire under the Treaty of Sèvres at the close of World War I, Armenia was promised access to the Black Sea through the Trebizond eyalet (the modern day Trabzon and Rize provinces in Turkey). However, this agreement collapsed with the Turkish War of Independence led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and was superseded by the Treaty of Lausanne.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea now gives a landlocked country a right of access to and from the sea, without taxation of traffic through transit states. The United Nations has a programme of action to assist Landlocked Developing Countries, and the current responsible Undersecretary-General is Anwarul Karim Chowdhury.

Some countries may have a large coastline, but no readily usable one. For instance, Russia's only ports were on the Arctic Ocean and frozen shut much of the year. Gaining control of a warm water port was a major motivator of Russian expansion towards the Baltic Sea, Black Sea and Pacific Ocean.

Similarly, several countries have coastlines on landlocked seas, such as the Caspian and the Aral. Since these seas are sometimes considered to be lakes, and since they do not allow access to seaborne trade, countries such as Kazakhstan are still considered to be landlocked.

An island nation, a country completely surrounded by water, is the opposite of a landlocked one.

[edit] List of landlocked countries

  • * Each of these countries has a coast on the non-freshwater Caspian Sea
  • ** Each of these countries has a coast on the non-freshwater Aral Sea

They can be grouped in contiguous groups as follows:

There are the following 'single' landlocked countries (each of them borders no other landlocked country):

Europe is the continent with the most landlocked countries (16), while Africa is a close second with 15. Asia has 10, while South America has only 2. North America and Oceania are the only continents with no landlocked countries. (Oceania is also notable for having only one land border, that between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.)

[edit] Doubly landlocked

A landlocked country which is surrounded entirely by other landlocked countries may be called a "doubly landlocked" country. A person in such a country would have to cross at least two borders to reach a coastline.

There are only two such countries in the world: Liechtenstein in Central Europe and Uzbekistan in Central Asia.

However, their landlocked neighbours do have indirect access to the sea, via the Danube river in Liechtenstein's case and via canals from the landlocked but non-freshwater Caspian Sea in the case of Uzbekistan. Liechtenstein itself is on the Rhine.

Before World War I, and from 1938 to 1945, no doubly landlocked countries existed; this is because Uzbekistan was part of Russia and then of the Soviet Union; in the case of Liechtenstein, it bordered Austria, which had an Adriatic coast before 1918, and after 1938 was part of Nazi Germany.

[edit] Nearly landlocked

The following countries are almost landlocked, and their short coastlines measure only a tiny fraction of the length of their land borders. The list below gives the countries where this fraction is less than 5%:

[edit] Corridors

A landlocked country may be given access to the sea through a corridor.

In the Treaty of Versailles, a part of Germany, designated "the Polish corridor", was given to the new post-World War I country Second Polish Republic, for access to the Baltic Sea, which was also the pretext for making Danzig with its harbour the Free City of Danzig. This made Poland a semi-landlocked country as described in the previous section. In addition to losing territory, East Prussia was turned into an exclave, separated from Germany proper by the same "Polish Corridor". A much smaller exterritorial land corridor, for a railway or a road which would connect Germany to East Prussia without artificial obstructions, was denied.[1]

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has a sea corridor while Bolivia lost its corridor to the sea after the War of the Pacific.

[edit] Railway missing links

While the railway systems of Europe and North America all interconnect (albeit sometimes with incompatible technology), Africa, South and Central America, Asia and the Middle East generally do not connect very well. This might be called "rail-locked". Kathmandu, for instance, the capital of landlocked Nepal, does not have any railway connection.

[edit] Notes


[edit] See also

cs:Vnitrozemský stát da:Indlandsstat de:Binnenstaat es:Estado sin litoral eu:Estatu kostagabe ko:내륙국 is:Landlukt ja:内陸国 no:Liste over verdens innlandsstater pl:Państwo śródlądowe simple:Landlocked sr:Континенталне државе fi:Sisämaavaltio th:ประเทศที่ไม่มีทางออกสู่ทะเล zh:內陸國家

Landlocked country

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