The Info List - Border

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Borders are geographic boundaries of political entities or legal jurisdictions, such as governments, sovereign states, federated states, and other subnational entities. Borders are established through agreements between political or social entities that control those areas; the creation of these agreements is called boundary delimitation. Some borders—such as a state's internal administrative border, or inter-state borders within the Schengen Area—are often open and completely unguarded. Other borders are partially or fully controlled, and may be crossed legally only at designated border checkpoints and border zones may be controlled. Borders may even foster the setting up of buffer zones. A difference has also been established in academic scholarship between border and frontier, the latter denoting a state of mind rather than state boundaries.[1]


1 Borders 2 Classification

2.1 Natural borders 2.2 Geometric borders 2.3 Fiat borders 2.4 Relict borders

3 Maritime borders 4 Border
economics 5 Politics 6 Cross-border regions 7 Border
studies 8 Images gallery 9 See also 10 References 11 Further reading 12 External links


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The purpose of the Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China
was to stop people and militaries from crossing the northern border of China.

In the past, many borders were not clearly defined lines; instead there were often intervening areas often claimed and fought over by both sides, sometimes called marchlands. A special case in modern times was the Saudi Arabian–Iraqi neutral zone
Saudi Arabian–Iraqi neutral zone
and Saudi–Kuwaiti neutral zone from 1922 until 1981 and 1970 respectively. In modern times, marchlands have been replaced by clearly defined and demarcated borders. For the purposes of border control, airports and seaports are also classed as borders. Most countries have some form of border control to regulate or limit the movement of people, animals, and goods into and out of the country. Under international law, each country is generally permitted to legislate the conditions that have to be met in order to cross its borders, and to prevent people from crossing its borders in violation of those laws. Some borders require presentation of legal paperwork like passports and visas, or other identity documents, for persons to cross borders. To stay or work within a country's borders aliens (foreign persons) may need special immigration documents or permits; but possession of such documents does not guarantee that the person should be allowed to cross the border. Moving goods across a border often requires the payment of excise tax, often collected by customs officials. Animals (and occasionally humans) moving across borders may need to go into quarantine to prevent the spread of exotic infectious diseases. Most countries prohibit carrying illegal drugs or endangered animals across their borders. Moving goods, animals, or people illegally across a border, without declaring them or seeking permission, or deliberately evading official inspection, constitutes smuggling. Controls on car liability insurance validity and other formalities may also take place. In places where smuggling, migration, and infiltration are a problem, many countries fortify borders with fences and barriers, and institute formal border control procedures. But some borders are merely signposted. This is common in countries within the European Schengen Area and on rural sections of the Canada–United States border. Borders may even be completely unmarked, typically in remote or forested regions; such borders are often described as "porous". Migration within territorial borders, and outside of them, represented an old and established pattern of movement in African countries, in seeking work and food, and to maintain ties with kin who had moved across the previously porous borders of their homelands. When the colonial frontiers were drawn, Western countries attempted to obtain a monopoly on the recruitment of labor in many African countries, which altered the practical and institutional context in which the old migration patterns had been followed, and some might argue, are still followed today. The frontiers were particularly porous for the physical movement of migrants, and people living in borderlands easily maintained transnational cultural and social networks. A border may have been:

Agreed by the countries on both sides Imposed by the country on one side Imposed by third parties, e.g. an international conference Inherited from a former state, colonial power or aristocratic territory Inherited from a former internal border, such as within the former Soviet Union Never formally defined.

In addition, a border may be a de facto military ceasefire line. Classification[edit] Political borders are imposed on the world through human agency.[2] That means that although a political border may follow a river or mountain range, such a feature does not automatically define the political border, even though it may be a major physical barrier to crossing. Political borders are often classified by whether or not they follow conspicuous physical features on the earth. Natural borders[edit]

A photograph of the France–Italy border at night. The southwestern end of the Alps
separates the two countries.

Natural borders are geographical features that present natural obstacles to communication and transport. Existing political borders are often a formalization of such historical, natural obstacles. Some geographical features that often constitute natural borders are:

Oceans: oceans create very costly natural borders. Very few countries span more than one continent. Only very large and resource-rich states are able to sustain the costs of governance across oceans for longer periods of time. Rivers: some political borders have been formalized along natural borders formed by rivers. Some examples are: the Niagara River (Canada–USA), the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
(Mexico–USA), the Rhine (France–Germany), and the Mekong
(Thailand–Laos). If a precise line is desired, it is often drawn along the thalweg, the deepest line along the river. In the Hebrew Bible, Moses
defined the middle of the river Arnon as the border between Moab
and the Israelite
tribes settling east of the Jordan (Deuteronomy 3:16). The United States Supreme Court ruled in 1910 that the boundary between the American states of Maryland and West Virginia is the south bank of the Potomac River. Lakes: larger lakes create natural borders. One example is the natural border created by Lake
Tanganyika, with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia
on its west shore and Tanzania
and Burundi
on the east. Forests: denser jungles or forests can create strong natural borders. One example of a natural forest border is the Amazon rainforest, separating Brazil
and Bolivia from Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and Guyana. Mountain ranges: research on borders suggests that mountains have especially strong effects as natural borders. Many nations in Europe and Asia have had their political borders defined along mountain ranges, often along a drainage divide.

Throughout history, technological advances have reduced the costs of transport and communication across the natural borders. That has reduced the significance of natural borders over time. As a result, political borders that have been formalized more recently, such as those in Africa or Americas, typically conform less to natural borders[citation needed] than very old borders, such as those in Europe or Asia, do. Geometric borders[edit] Geometric boundaries[citation needed] are formed by straight lines (such as lines of latitude or longitude), or occasionally arcs (Pennsylvania/Delaware), regardless of the physical and cultural features of the area. Such political boundaries are often found around the states that developed out of colonial holdings, such as in Africa and the Middle East. Fiat borders[edit] A generalization of the idea of geometric borders is the idea of fiat boundaries by which is meant any sort of boundary that does not track an underlying bona fide physical discontinuity. Fiat boundaries are typically the product of human demarcation, such as in demarcating electoral districts or postal districts.[3] Relict borders[edit] A relict border is a former boundary, which may no longer be a legal boundary at all. However, the former presence of the boundary can still be seen in the landscape. For instance, the boundary between East and West Germany is no longer an international boundary, but it can still be seen because of historical markers on the landscape, and it is still a cultural and economic division in Germany. Maritime borders[edit] Main article: Maritime boundary

The Strait of Dover viewed from France, looking towards the United Kingdom.

A maritime border is a division enclosing an area in the ocean where a nation has exclusive rights over the mineral and biological resources,[4] encompassing maritime features, limits and zones.[5] Maritime borders represent the jurisdictional borders of a maritime nation[6] and are recognized by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Maritime borders exist in the context of territorial waters, contiguous zones, and exclusive economic zones; however, the terminology does not encompass lake or river boundaries, which are considered within the context of land boundaries. Some maritime borders have remained indeterminate despite efforts to clarify them. This is explained by an array of factors, some of which illustrate regional problems.[7] Border

The United States–Mexico border: San Diego–Tijuana.

A border wall on a beach separating United States - Mexico

The presence of borders often fosters certain economic features or anomalies. Wherever two jurisdictions come into contact, special economic opportunities arise for border trade. Smuggling
provides a classic case; contrariwise, a border region may flourish on the provision of excise or of import–export services — legal or quasi-legal, corrupt or legitimate. Different regulations on either side of a border may encourage services to position themselves at or near that border: thus the provision of pornography, of prostitution, of alcohol and/or of narcotics may cluster around borders, city limits, county lines, ports and airports. In a more planned and official context, Special
Economic Zones (SEZs) often tend to cluster near borders or ports. Even if the goods are not perceived to be undesirable, states will still seek to document and regulate the cross-border trade in order to collect tariffs and benefit from foreign currency exchange revenues.[8] Thus, there is the concept unofficial trade in goods otherwise legal; for example, the cross-border trade in livestock by pastoralists in the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia
sells an estimated $250 to $300 million of livestock to Somalia, Kenya
and Djibouti
every year unofficially, over 100 times the official estimate.[8] Human economic traffic across borders (apart from kidnapping) may involve mass commuting between workplaces and residential settlements. The removal of internal barriers to commerce, as in France after the French Revolution
French Revolution
or in Europe since the 1940s, de-emphasises border-based economic activity and fosters free trade. Euroregions are similar official structures built around commuting across boundary. Politics[edit]

Borders between Israel, Syria
and Lebanon
in Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon
region. The Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon
– marked by black asterisk. Disengagement Israeli front line with Syria
(1974) - marked by blue asterisk. Disengagement Syrian front line with Israel (1974) - marked by red asterisk.

Political borders have a variety of meanings for those whom they affect. Many borders in the world have checkpoints where border control agents inspect persons and/or goods crossing the boundary. In much of Europe, controls on persons were abolished by the 1985 Schengen Agreement
Schengen Agreement
and subsequent European Union
European Union
legislation. Since the Treaty of Amsterdam, the competence to pass laws on crossing internal and external borders within the European Union
European Union
and the associated Schengen Area
Schengen Area
states (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein) lies exclusively within the jurisdiction of the European Union, except where states have used a specific right to opt out (United Kingdom and Ireland, which maintain the Common Travel Area amongst themselves). The United States has notably increased measures taken in border control on the Canada–United States border
Canada–United States border
and the United States–Mexico border during its War on Terrorism
War on Terrorism
(See Shantz 2010). One American writer has said that the 3,600 km (2,200 mi) US-Mexico border is probably "the world's longest boundary between a First World
First World
and Third World
Third World

The Swiss–Italian border

Historic borders such as the Great Wall of China, the Maginot Line, and Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
have played a great many roles and been marked in different ways. While the stone walls, the Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China
and the Roman Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
in Britain had military functions, the entirety of the Roman borders were very porous, which encouraged Roman economic activity with neighbors.[10] On the other hand, a border like the Maginot Line
Maginot Line
was entirely military and was meant to prevent any access in what was to be World War II to France by its neighbor, Germany; Germany ended up going around the Maginot Line
Maginot Line
through Belgium just as it had done in World War I. Cross-border regions[edit] Macro-regional integration initiatives, such as the European Union
European Union
and NAFTA, have spurred the establishment of cross-border regions. These are initiatives driven by local or regional authorities, aimed at dealing with local border-transcending problems such as transport and environmental degradation.[11] Many cross-border regions are also active in encouraging intercultural communication and dialogue as well as cross-border economic development strategies. In Europe, the European Union
European Union
provides financial support to cross-border regions via its Interreg
programme. The Council of Europe has issued the Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation, providing a legal framework for cross-border co-operation even though it is in practice rarely used by Euroregions. Border
studies[edit] There has been a renaissance in the study of borders during the past two decades, partially from creation of a counter narrative to notions of a borderless world that have been advanced as part of globalization theory.[12] Examples of recent initiatives are the Border
Regions in Transition network of scholars,[13] the International Boundaries Research Unit at the University of Durham,[14] the Association of Borderlands Studies based in North America,[15] the African Borderlands Research Network (ABORNE) and the founding of smaller border research centres at Nijmegen[16] and Queen's University Belfast.[17] Images gallery[edit] The following pictures show in how many different ways international and regional borders can be closed off, monitored, at least marked as such, or simply unremarkable.

Borders of the World

The Wagah
border crossing between India and Pakistan
along the Radcliffe Line.

at Tijuana, Mexico
Tijuana, Mexico
and San Ysidro, California, United States. A straight-line border surveyed when the region was thinly populated.

A sign showing the limits of the Frontier
Closed Area, a 28-km² area along the Hong Kong-side of the 30-km-long border between Hong Kong and mainland China.

The bridge over the Anarjohka
in Karigasniemi, on the border of Finland
with Norway

The border between Argentina
(Puerto Iguazú) and Brazil
(Foz do Iguazú) on the Iguazú River.

The Peace Arch
Peace Arch
at the Canada–United States border, the longest common border in the world.

A sign at the Polish-Czech border near Králický Sněžník, indicating that only citizens of the European Union
European Union
and of five more states may cross. When the Schengen rules became applicable in 2007, the sign became obsolete.

A typical Schengen internal border (near Kufstein
between Germany and Austria): the traffic island marks the spot where a control post once stood; it was removed in 2000.

Self-illuminating Border
flower pot between Burghausen, Salzach
in Germany and Ach in Austria.

A border within a closely built-up area – near Aachen
between Germany and the Netherlands: Germany starts at the red line drawn in the photo.

between the Netherlands
and Belgium next to a street café in Baarle Nassau
Baarle Nassau
and Baarle Hertog. Some European borders originate from former land ownership boundaries.

The metal strip within the building of the Eurode Business Centre marks the border between the Netherlands
and Germany, in Kerkrade
and Herzogenrath.

The border between the Netherlands
(right) and Germany (left) is located in the center of this residential road, and, nowadays, completely unmarked.

Italy/Switzerland border stone at Passo San Giacomo. Some borders were broadly defined by treaty, and surveyors would then choose a suitable line on the ground.

Guadiana International Bridge
Guadiana International Bridge
at the Portugal-Spain border, whose limits were established by the Treaty of Alcañices
in 1297. It is one of the oldest borders in the world.

The Treriksröset
cairn located at the point where Sweden, Norway and Finland

The gate that borders East Nusa Tenggara
East Nusa Tenggara
in Indonesia
and East Timor.

The marker between the United States and Canada in Waterton-Glacier National Park.

A road crossing the Republic of Ireland-United Kingdom border
Republic of Ireland-United Kingdom border
from the British side. This border is entirely open: the only indication that one is crossing into the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
is a speed limit sign in kilometres per hour (signs in the United Kingdom are in miles per hour).

A train crossing the China–Russia border, travelling from Zabaykalsk in Russia to Manzhouli
in China.

The winding border between Pakistan
and India is lit by security lights. It is one of the few places on Earth where an international boundary can be seen at night.

See also[edit]

control Boundary (real estate) Geopolitics List of countries and territories by land and maritime borders List of countries that border only one other country List of international border rivers List of countries and territories by land borders List of bordering countries with greatest relative differences in GDP (PPP) per capita List of land borders with dates of establishment List of national border changes since World War I Political geography Political science


^ Mura, Andrea (2016). "National Finitude and the Paranoid Style of the One". Contemporary Political Theory. 15: 58–79. doi:10.1057/cpt.2015.23.  ^ Robinson, Edward Heath. Reexamining Fiat, Bona Fide and Force Dynamic Boundaries for Geopolitical Entities and their Placement in DOLCE Applied Ontology 2012 7: pp. 93–108 ^ Smith, Barry, 1995, "On Drawing Lines on a Map" in A. U. Frank, W. Kuhn and D. M. Mark (eds.), Spatial Information Theory. Proceedings of COSIT 1995, Berlin/Heidelberg/Vienna/New York/London/Tokyo: Springer Verlag, 475–484. ^ VLIZ Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase, General info; retrieved 19 November 2010 ^ Geoscience Australia, Maritime definitions[permanent dead link]; retrieved 19 November 2010 ^ United States Department of State, Maritime boundaries; retrieved 19 November 2010. ^ Valencia, Mark J. (2001). Maritime Regime Building: Lessons Learned and Their Relevance for Northeast Asia, pp. 149–166., p. 149, at Google Books ^ a b Pavanello, Sara 2010. Working across borders – Harnessing the potential of cross-border activities to improve livelihood security in the Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa
drylands Archived 2010-11-12 at the Wayback Machine.. London: Overseas Development Institute ^ Murphy, Cullen. Roman Empire: gold standard of immigration. Los Angeles Times, June 16, 1907 (accessed here June 20, 2007) ^ Murphy 2007 ^ Perkmann, M, Building governance institutions across European borders, Regional Studies, 1999, Vol: 33, pages: 657–667, hdl.handle.net ^ D. Newman & A. Paasi, `Fences and neighbours in the post-modern world: boundary narratives in political geography', Progress in Human Geography, 22 (2), 186–207, 1998; D. Newman, "The lines that continue to separate us: Borders in our borderless world", Progress in Human Geography, Vol 30 (2), 1–19, 2006. ^ Border
Regions in Transition IX Conference, North American and European Border
Regions in Comparative Perspective: Markets, States and Border
Communities, (January 12–15, 2008) Victoria, BC Canada and Bellingham, WA United States. ^ International Boundaries Research Unit, University of Durham. ^ Association for Borderland Studies. ^ Nijmegen
Centre for Border
Research. ^ Centre for International Borders Research (CIBR) Queen's University Belfast

Further reading[edit]

Stories – A website devoted to stories from both sides of the U.S. Mexico Border Talking Borders online audio archive at Queen's University Belfast The World in 2015: National borders undermined? 11-min video interview with Bernard Guetta, a columnist for Libération newspaper and France Inter radio. "For [Guetta], one of the main lessons from international relations in 2014 is that national borders are becoming increasingly irrelevant. These borders, drawn by the colonial powers, were and still are entirely artificial. Now, people want borders along national, religious or ethnic lines. Bernard Guetta calls this a "comeback of real history"." Mura, Andrea (2016). "National Finitude and the Paranoid Style of the One". Contemporary Political Theory. 15: 58–79. doi:10.1057/cpt.2015.23.  Said Saddiki, World of Walls: The Structure, Roles and Effectiveness of Separation Barriers. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers, 2017. https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0121

External links[edit] Media related to Border
at Wikimedia Commons

Look up border in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Collection of pictures of European borders, mainly intra-Schengen borders Institut Européen des Itinéraires Culturels homepage Border
Ireland – database of activities and publications on cross-border co-operation on the island of Ireland since 1980's Gallery of 1100 borderpoints in the world

Authority control

LCCN: sh85016091 GND: 4130793-8 BNF: cb11954113g (data) N