An area organized into a political unit and ruled by an established government with control over its internal and foreign affairs.
States with very small land areas.
A state's independence from control of its internal or domestic affairs by other states.
A country that is not fully democratic or fully autocratic, but rather displays a mix of the two types.
A country that is run according to the interests of the ruler rather than the people.
Balance of Power
A condition of roughly equal strength between opposing countries or alliances of countries.
An invisible line that marks the extent of a state's territory and the change in use of space.
A city with political and economic control over the surrounding countryside
Attempt by one country to establish settlements and to impose its political, economic, and cultural principles in another territory.
A territory that is legally tied to a sovereign state rather than completely independent.
A country in which citizens elect leaders and can run for office.
A state in which the distance from the center to any boundary does not vary significantly. (e.g. Poland or Romania)
A state with a long, narrow shape. (e.g. Chile or Malawi)
A state that includes several discontinuous pieces of territory. (e.g. India or Thailand)
A state that completely surrounds another one. (e.g. South Africa or Italy)
An otherwise compact state with a large projecting extension. (e.g. Philippines or United States)
An internal organization of a state that allocates most powers to units of local government. (e.g. United States or Switzerland)
An internal organization of a state that places most power in the hands of central government officials. (e.g. France or China)
A zone separating two states in which neither state exercises political control.
A state that contains more than one ethnicity.
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.
A state whose territory corresponds to that occupied by a particular ethnicity that has been transformed into a nationality.
Process of redrawing legislative boundaries for the purpose of benefiting the party in power.
A state that does not have a direct outlet to the sea.
A boundary line established before the area in question is well populated. (49th Parallel; US/Canada)
A boundary line that is established after the area in question has been settled and that considers the cultural characteristics of the region. (Boundary between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland)
A former boundary line that is still discernible and marked by some cultural landscape features. (Boundary between West and Germany - Cold War)
A boundary drawn by outside powers. (1884 Berlin Conference and African Continent)
A boundary that is heavily guarded and discourages crossing and movement. (DMZ on Korean Peninsula)
A boundary where crossing is unimpeded. (EU boundary agreements)
United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
A code of maritime law approved by the United Nations in 1982 that authorizes, among other provisions, territorial waters extending 12 nautical miles from shore and 200-nautical-mile-wide exclusive economic zones
A belt of coastal waters extending at most 12 nautical miles from the baseline of a coastal state. Commercial vessels may pass, but non-commercial vessels may be challenged or inspected.
Between 12 and 24 nautical miles from shore, a state may enforce laws concerning pollution, taxation, customs, and immigration.
Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)
The sea zone extending 200 nautical miles from the coast over which a state has special rights as to the exploration and use of marine resources.
Areas of seas considered beyond territorial waters.
Study of states' shapes and their effects on the state.
Three or more countries agree to give up a degree of autonomy in order to pursue common goals. (e.g. European Union, NATO, etc.)
The transfer of powers and responsibilities from the federal government to the states or other entities.
Process by which a state breaks down through conflicts among its ethnicities (form of devolution).
A country, behaves like an organism-to survive, a state requires nourishment, or territory, to gain political power (lebensraum).
Heartland Theory (Mackinder)
Early 20th c. theory that claimed whichever state controlled the resource-rich "heartland" of Eastern Europe could eventually dominate the world. It would suggest that not the United Kingdom (an ocean-based empire), but Russia (which was becoming communist) would be in a position to achieve this dominance. "Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island (Europe, Asia & Africa); who rules the World-Island controls the world."
Rimland Theory (Spykman)
Mid 20th c. theory that the domination of the coastal fringes of Eurasia (the "rimland") would provide the base for world conquest (not the "heartland").
A boundary established by a legal document, such as a treaty.
A line drawn on a map to show the limits of a space.
A boundary demarcated (marked) by some visible means on the ground. Ex. wall posts, fences, etc.
Boundary marked by a physical object such as mountains, deserts, or bodies of water.
Border drawn in a regular, geometric manner, often a straight line, without regard for environmental or cultural patterns.
Boundaries that mark breaks in the human landscape based on differences in culture.
The policy of a state wishing to incorporate within itself territory inhabited by people who have ethnic or linguistic links with the country but that lies within a neighboring state. (e.g. crimean peninsula)
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