AP Human Geography: Political Geography Vocabulary

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Vocabulary from the Advanced Placement course of Human Geography regarding political geography

Antecedent Boundary

A boundary that was drawn across an area prior to the area becoming substantially-populated (e.g. border between Malaysia and Indonesia)

Balance of Power

A condition of roughly equal strength between opposing countries or allies

Boundary

An invisible line that marks the extent of a state's territory

Buffer State

A neutral state between two warring states (e.g. Mongolia, between Russia and China)

City-State

A sovereign state comprising of a city and its immediate hinterland (e.g. Singapore)

Confederate Governmental Structure

A system of government in which nations or states agree to join together under a central government

Colonialism

An attempt by one country to establish settlements and to impose its political, economical, and cultural principles in another territory

Colony

A territory that is legally tied to a sovereign state rather than being independent (e.g. British Virgin Islands to Great Britain)

Compact State

A state in which the distance from the center to any boundary does not vary significantly (e.g. Poland)

Commonwealth

A territory that has established a mutual agreement with another state for the benefit of each (e.g. Puerto Rico)

Cultural Political Boundaries

Political boundaries formed by differences in culture, such as religion or language

Domino Theory

The theory that if one nation goes under Communist control, neighboring countries will do the same

Elongated State

A state with a long, narrow shape (e.g. Chile)

Enclave

An enclosed territory with a foreign territory around it (e.g. Lesotho)

Ethnonationalism

The powerful emotional attachment to one's minority nation within a larger state (e.g. Chechens)

European Union (EU)

A supranational organization of European countries formed after World War II to reduce trade barriers and increase cooperation among its members

Exclave

A part of a country that is seperated from the rest of the country and surrounded by a foreign territory

Federal State

An internal organization of a state that allocates most powers to units of local government (e.g. United States)

Forward Capital

A symbolically relocated capital city, moved for economic or strategic reasons (e.g. Brasilia)

Fragmented State

A state that includes several discontinuous territories (e.g. Indonesia)

Frontier

A zone separating two states in which neither of the states exercises political control (e.g. Antarctica)

Geometric Political Boundaries

Boundaries drawn with straight lines and arcs, as opposed to irregular lines and shapes (e.g. the boundaries of most African countries)

Gerrymandering

The redrawing of legislative boundaries entirely for electoral purposes, thereby benefiting the party in power

Heartland Theory

A theory that suggests that whoever owns Eastern Europe and Western Asia has the political power and capital to rule the world

Imperialism

The control of territory already occupied and organized by an indigenous society

Land Empire

An empire that involves conquest by force in which armies attack, pillage, and plunder their way through another land, taking resources by force

Landlocked State

A state without access to the sea (e.g. Bolivia)

Mercantilism

The process in which a colonizing mother country receives raw materials from its colonies

Microstate

A state that encompasses a very small area (e.g. Vatican City)

Multinational State

A state that contains two or more ethnic groups with traditions of self-determination that agree to coexist peacefully by recognizing each other as distinct nationalities (e.g. United Kingdom)

Nation

A group of people with common cultural characteristics and identify themselves as a cohesive group (e.g. Kurds)

Nation-State

A state whose territory corresponds to that which is occupied by a particular ethnicity that has been transformed into a nationality (e.g. Japan)

Neo-Colonialism

The continued economic dependence of new states on their former colonial masters

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

An international organization created in 1949 by the North Atlantic Treaty to provide collective security to its members

Organic Theory

The theory that a state needs expansive land in order to prosper

Perforated State

A state that completely surrounds another one (e.g. Italy)

Political Geography

The study of geography involving geographic states, borders, and how humans identify with them

Physical Political Boundary

A state's border that corresponds to a natural, real-life boundary (e.g. Rio Grande border between Mexico and the U.S.)

Prorupted State

An adhesive compact state with a large expansion (e.g. Thailand)

Relic Boundary

A boundary no longer observed but that still affects the present-day area (e.g. border between West and East Germany in Berlin)

Rimland Theory

A political theory that holds that control of Eurasia and Africa is achieved via control of the countries bordering the Soviet Union

Satellite State

A state that is formally independent but heavily influenced by another state (e.g. Bulgaria during the Soviet Union)

Sea Empire

Empires acquired using sea power, where settlements were set up along coasts, and excursions into the interior brought loot back to those settlements, where a ship would be waiting to take the resources home

Self-Determination

The concept that ethnicities have the right to govern themselves

Settlement Empire

An empire intended for longer residence, rather than used for immediate return with resources

Shatterbelt Regions

Areas that are constantly breaking up and/or fragmenting (e.g. Southeast Asia)

Sovereignty

The ability of a state to govern its territory from control of its internal affairs by other states

State

An area organized into a political unit and ruled by an established government with control over its internal and foreign affairs (e.g. France)

Stateless Nation

A nation lacking a territory to call its own (e.g. Hmong, Kurds)

Subsequent Boundaries

Drawn boundaries made with regard to ethnic differences (e.g. border between China and Vietnam)

Superimposed Boundaries

A boundary made through colonization without regard to prior ethnic/cultural patterns (e.g. borders of most African countries)

Supranationalism

The term applied to associations created by three or more states for their mutual benefit and achievement of shared objectives

Territorial Morphology

A phrase that states that the shape of a state influences how effectively the government can rule its territory

Territoriality

The creating of ownership over a defined space (e.g. the cause of World War I)

Theocracy

A government set up around a religious leader

Unitary State

An internal organization of a state that places most power in the hands of central government officials

United Nations

A supranational organization formed in 1945 to promote peace, security, and international cooperation

Warsaw Pact

The agreement between Communist states established in 1955 that opposed NATO

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