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To take over territory and incorporate it into another political entity, e.g. a country or state


In the early decades of the 20th century seven nations, Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, and Norway announced territorial claims to parts of Antarctica. In 1961 the Antarctic Treaty was signed by these nations and others and these territorial claims put aside in the interests of international cooperation in scientific research. The US does not recognize any territorial claims on it by any country.


A social policy or racial segregation involving political and economic and legal discrimination against non-whites


Process by which a state breaks down through conflicts among its ethnicities

Border Landscape

There are two types, exclusionary and inclusionary. Exclusionary is meant to keep people out, such as the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Inclusionary is meant to facilitate trade and movement, such as the U.S.-Canada border

Definitional Boundary Dispute

Dispute centers on treaty, local agreement that spells out boundary. Focuses on the legal aspects of the boundary.

Locational Boundary Dispute

These disputes arise when the definition of the border is not questioned but the interpretation of the border is. Such as unclaimed islands or Antarctica

Operational Boundary Dispute

Involves neighboring countries who differ over the way their boundary should function

Allocational Boundary Dispute

A boundary dispute that involves conflicting claims to the natural resources of a border region.

Antecedent Boundary

A political boundary that existed before the cultural landscape emerged and stayed in place while people moved in to occupy the surrounding area. An example is the 49th parallel boundary, dividing the United States and Canada between the Pacific Ocean and Lake of the Woods in northernmost Minnesota.

Subsequent Boundary

a boundary that developed with the evolution of the cultural landscape and is adjusted as the cultural landscape changes

Superimposed Boundary

A boundary imposed over (and often with little regard to) the existing cultural landscape. European division of Africa in 1884 is a prime example.

Relic Boundary

A former boundary line that is still discernible and marked by some cultural landscape feature. EX great wall, Berlin wall, Haydon wall in UK, castles...

Definition Boundary Process

Phase in which the exact location of a boundary is legally described and negotiated.

Delimitation Boundary Process

The translation of the written terms of a boundary treaty into an official cartographic representation.

Demarcation Boundary Process

Phase in which the boundary is visibly marked on the landscape by a fence, line, sign, wall or other means.

Natural/ Physical Boundary

Political boundaries that coincide with prominent physical features in the natural landscape - such as rivers or the crest ridges of mountain ranges.

Ethnographic/ Cultural Boundary

a boundary line between states that are set by ethnic differences, especially those on language and religion

Geometric Boundary

Political boundaries that are defined and delimited by straight lines.

Buffer State

A small neutral state between two rival powers


A city or town where the government of a state or nation meets, usually located in the center of a nation.


Forces that tend to divide a country-such as international religious, linguistic, ethnic, or ideological differences


Forces that tend to unify a country- such as widespread commitment to a national culture, shared idealogical objectives, and a common faith


A small independent state consisting of an urban center and the surrounding agricultural territory. A characteristic political form in early Mesopotamia


Attempt by one country to establish settlements and to impose its political, economic, and cultural principles in another territory.


A political system in which a weak central government has limited authority, and the states have ultimate power.

Conference of Berlin

1884-85 regulated European colonization and trade in Africa during the New Imperialism period, and was a meeting of 14 mostly European countries on how to divided up Africa amongst themselves disregarding African input or ethnic groups

Core/ Periphery

Core is the more stronger, richer, better country and the periphery country is a country still in development


The process by which a colony is made independent from its ruling country


The transfer of powers and responsibilities from the federal government to the states

Domino Theory

The political theory that if one nation comes under Communist control then neighboring nations will also come under Communist control

EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone)

As established in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a zone of exploitation extending 200 nautical miles (370km) seaward from a coastal state that has exclusive mineral and fishing rights over it.

Electoral Regions

The different voting districts that make up local, state, and national regions.


An enclosed district, region, or area inhabited by a particular group of people or having a special character


A bounded territory that is part of a particular state but is separated from it by the territory of a different state.

Ethnic Conflict

A conflict in which different ethnic groups struggle to achieve certain political or economic goals at each others' expense.

European Union

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


A political-territorial system where a central government represents the various entities within a nation-state where they have common interests-defense, foreign affairs, and the like-yet allows these various entities to retain their own identities and to have their own laws, policies, and customs in certain spheres.

Forward Capital

A symbolic relocation of a capital city to a geographically or demographically peripheral location may be for either economic or strategic reasons. Such as Minneapolis


A zone separating two states in which neither state exercises political control.


The study of the interplay between political relations and the territorial context in which they occur


To draw a district's boundaries to gain an advantage in elections

Global Commons

Parts of our environment available to everyone but for which no single individual has responsibility--the atmosphere, fresh water, forests, wildlife, and ocean fisheries


Theory Hypothesis proposed by Halford MacKinder that held that any political power based in the heart of Eurasia could gain enough strength to eventually dominate the world.


Theory Nicholas Spykman proposed that the domination of the costal fringes of Eurasia would provided the base for world conquest

Immigrant States

A type of receiving state which is the target of many immigrants. Popular because of their economy, political freedom, and opportunity. One example would be the USA.

International Organization

An alliance of two or more countries seeking cooperation with each other without giving up either autonomy or self determination. Such as NATO or the EU

Iron Curtain

Winston Churchill's term for the Cold War division between the Soviet-dominated East and the U.S.-dominated West.


A policy of cultural and political expansion into a neighboring state by a state whose nationals live in the neighboring state

Israel/ Palestine

This land was given to the Jews after WWII but the Muslims were already living there, so they felt like the land was being taken away from them. Today, the land is called Israel but Palestinians have control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip


A state that does not have a direct outlet to the sea.

Law of the Sea

Law establishing states rights and responsibilities concerning the ownership and use of the earth's seas and oceans and their resources.


Fought a war with Israel in 2006. Nearly became a failed state following its 1975 civil war. Former French colony. Had civil war between Muslims and Christians.

Halford J. Mackinder

Developed the heartland theory

Manifest Destiny

The belief that the United States was destined to stretch across the continent from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean

Median- line Principle

The idea that if you are above the median line, you will have more power and control


A state or territory that is small in both size and population.


(SYN: Microstate) An imprecise term for a state or territory small in both population and area


Tightly knit group of people sharing the same language, ethnicity, religion, and other cultural attributes.

National Iconography

Figural representations, either individual or symbolic, religious or secular; such as the American Flag


A state whose territory corresponds to that occupied by a particular ethnicity that has been transformed into a nationality


Canadian territory that was given to the Inuit, in which they could live with autonomy, or the right to govern themselves.

Raison d'etre

Reason or justification for existence


The process of reassigning representation based on population after every census


A feeling of collective identity based on a population's politico-territorial identification within a state or across state boundaries.

Religious Conflict

Fighting over land for their own religion. ex. Israeli and Palestine.


A bringing together again of things that have been separated, like the reuniting of East and West Germany

Satellite State

A political term that refers to a country which is formally independent, but under heavy influence or control by another country.


The ability of a government to determine their own course of their own free will


A large, strategically located region that is occupied by a number of conflicting states and is caught between the conflicting interests of adjoining Great Powers; a zone of chronic political splintering and fracturing. Such as Israel


Complete independence and self-government (of a country); supremacy of authority; power to govern


A body of people living in a defined territory who have a government with the power to make and enforce law without the consent of any higher authority

Stateless Ethnic Groups

An ethnic group that doesn't claim sovereignty over any territory. Such as the Kurds

Stateless Nation

A nation that doesn't claim sovereignty over any territory. Such as the Palestine


The right to vote.


a venture involving 3 or more national states political economic or cultural cooperation for mutual benefits and to promote shared objectives

Territorial Disputes

A disagreement over the possession/control of land between two or more states

Compact State

A state that posses a roughly circular shape from which the geometric center is relatively equal in all directions.

Fragmented State

A state whose territory consists of several separated parts, not a contiguous whole. The individual parts may be isolated from each other by the land area of other states or by international waters.

Elongated State

A state whose territory is long and narrow in shape.

Prorupt State

An otherwise compact state with a large projecting extension.

Perforated State

A state whose territory completely surrounds that of another state.


An aspect of human behavior that refers to the need to lay claim to the spaces we occupy and the things we own


A form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God's or deity's laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities

Treaty Ports

Cities opened to foreign residents as a result of the forced treaties between the Qing Empire and foreign signatories. In the treaty ports, foreigners enjoyed extraterritoriality., It was the name given to the port cities in China, Japan, and Korea that were opened to foreign trade by the Unequal Treaties.

UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea)

A code of maritime law approved by the United Nations in 1982 that authorizes, among other provisions, territorial waters and which country has jurisdiction over the waters


A nation-state that has a centralized government and administration that exercises power equally over all parts of the state

USSR Collapse

In 1991 it was divided into 15 independent nations, Warsaw Pact was dissolved, opening of the Berlin wall

Women's Enfranchisement


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