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Human Geography Chapter 8: Political Geography
Terms in this set (64)
An area organized into a political unit and ruled by an established government that has control over its internal and foreign affairs. It occupies a defined territory on Earth's surface and contains a permanent population. Country is a synonym for this word, in which the world has about 200 today. The term does not refer to the USA's 50.
A state that encompasses a very small land area. The smallest of these if The Vatican, at 0.44 km^2.
Ability of a state to govern its territory free from control of its internal affairs by other states. Difficult to define because of internal disputes within countries such as the Koreas, China, and the Western Sahara.
A peninsula divided between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the North, and the Republic of Korea in the South. The North had installed a pro-Communist government while the South bore a pro-U.S. government. Both regions have fought over sovereignty of their respective governments.
Also known as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, it is considered by most African countries as a sovereign state. Morocco claims ownership of most of the land and has built sand walls around the region to isolate Polisario Front rebels fighting for independence.
China & Taiwan
Also known as the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China respectively, these two states have fought over sovereignty through civil war. Their struggle saw wars between the Nationalists and the Communists.
Known as the Diaoyu Islands in China, a series of several small uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. Japan illegally claimed these islands in 1895 since, according to them, China failed to state its sovereignty over the islands back in 1895. Japan has controlled them since, but they were briefly issued to the US between 1945 ~ 1972 after Japan's defeat in World War II.
An arc in Southwest Asia that spans the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea.
Considered the birthplace of the concept of states in ancient times. A region formed in the eastern end of the Fertile Crescent. Its first states consisted of city-states. Empires were forged when one city or tribe would gain military dominance over the others. The strongest of these empires were run by the Sumerians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians.
A sovereign state comprising a city and its immediately surrounding countryside. Singapore is a present day example, once having walls that defined the city's boundaries and protected them from attacks by other states.
A vast empire that once controlled most of Europe, North Africa, and Southwest Asia, from modern-day Spain to Iran and from Egypt to England. It comprised 38 provinces and saw the construction of enormous walls to help the empire's armies defend its frontiers. The empire collapsed in the 400's after attacks by the people living on these frontiers and from internal discord. The leftover regions were promptly ruled by kings and lords, becoming Medieval States.
A large group of people who are united by common cultural characteristics, such as language and ethnicity, or by shared history. Different from a state.
A state whose territory corresponds to that occupied by a particular nation. The stronger a state's ethnic homogeneity, the better its status as this. Europe sees importance in ethnic identity and has divided some of its multinational states into multiple states. Some were successful (Czechoslovakia), some... not so much (Yugoslavia and its ethnic cleansing).
The concept that ethnicities have the right to govern themselves. To preserve and enhance distinctive cultural characteristics, nations seek to govern themselves without interference. Nations have pushed to create nation-states because desire for self-rule is a very important shared attitude for many of them.
A wall constructed by East Germany in 1961 that separated itself from West Germany. After its defeat in World War II, Germany was divided into the German Democratic Republic and the German Federal Republic. It was demolished in 1990 after Germany's self-reunion.
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, USSR
A region between 1922 and 1991 that consisted of 15 republics, based on its 15 largest ethnicities. It broke up in 1991 into 15 independent states of 5 groups:
-Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia)
-Baltic (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania)
-European (Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine)
-Central Asian (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan)
These states have transitioned into nation-states with varying degrees of success.
A state that contains two or more cultural groups with traditions of self-determination that agree to coexist peacefully by recognizing each other as distinct nationalities. In these states, different cultural groups may either coexist peacefully, or try to dominate each other. Russia is the largest state of this type.
A peninsula in Ukraine that has seen years of conflict between its ethnicities. Its population is 60% Russian, 24% Ukrainian, 10% Tatar, and 6% other. It became in autonomous republic in 1991 when the Soviet Union broke up, but was annexed by Russia in 2014.
A territory that is legally tied to a sovereign state rather than completely independent. Currently, the United Nations identifies 17 of these, the Western Sahara being the most extensive at 266,000 km^2. The UN list does not include territories that are uninhabited, or territories that it considers to have considerable autonomy in self-governing.
An attempt by one country to establish settlements and to impose its political, economic, and cultural principles in another territory. The means through which Europe was able to control most of the world at the time. They established colonies on every continent starting in the 1400's for three basic reasons:
-To promote Christianity.
-To extract useful resources and to serve as captive markets for their products.
-To establish relative power through the number of colonies claimed.
A global forum created at the end of World War II in 1945 by the Allied Powers. It promotes cooperation among states, allowing them to meet and vote on issues without the need for wars. It also enforces peacekeeping through the deployment of troops. It had 51 original members, reaching 193 in 2011. It replaced the earlier League of Nations which was formed after World War I yet failed to unify states and stop aggressions.
A period of competition and tension between the United States and the Soviet Union. It spanned from the late 1940's to the early 1990's, back when the US and USSR were the world's two superpowers.
Balance of Power
A condition of roughly equal strength between opposing countries or alliances of countries. Occurred in World War I when the world's eight (at the time) superpowers banded together to form temporary alliances.
Cuban Missile Crisis
A major confrontation during the Cold War in 1962, when the Soviet Union secretly began to construct missile-launching sites in Cuba, less than 150 km from US territory. John F. Kennedy demanded that the missiles be removed while Soviet Ambassador Valerian Zorin denied any missile placement. The Soviet Union eventually withdrew their missiles after photographic evidence showed obvious proof of their existence.
A country in which citizens elect leaders and can run for office. One of the three forms of national government. This form of government has become increasingly prominent for three reasons according to the Center for Systematic Peace:
-The replacement of increasingly irrelevant and out-of-touch monarchies with elected governments that broaden individual rights and liberties.
-The widening of participation in policymaking to all citizens through rights to vote and to serve in government.
-The diffusion of democratic government structures created in Europe and North America to other regions.
A country that is run according to the interests of the ruler rather than the people. One of the three forms of national government.
A country that is not fully democratic or fully autocratic but rather displays a mix of the two types. One of the three forms of national government.
An internal organization of a state that places most power in the hands of central government officials. One of two approaches to local government. It works best in relatively compact nation-states characterized by few internal cultural differences and a strong sense of national unity.
An internal organization of a state that allocates most powers to units of local government. One of two approaches to local government. Suitable for large states because the national capital may be too remote to provide effective control over isolated regions. This approach has experienced an uprising in recent years with unitary systems facing endangerment and the increasing demand for self-determination.
The relative stability of every country. According to the Fund for Peace, it is measured by fairness of the legal system, extent of youth unemployment, level of violence, and freedom to express diverse political views. The most brittle of these states are in sub-Saharan Africa.
Weapon of Mass Destruction
A nuclear, biological, chemical, or other weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans or cause great damage to human-made structures, natural structures, or the biosphere. Only 8 countries have successfully detonated nuclear weapons, including the US with its attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, NPT
A treaty in 1970 designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology and to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The five nuclear-weapon states (US, Russia, UK, France, and China), have signed and now agree to share their nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. The other 186 signatures are from smaller states that agree to never acquire nuclear weapons. States suspected to continue housing nuclear weapons include Libya, Iraq, Iran, and Syria.
European Union, EU
An economic alliance in Europe that formed in 1958 with six members. It was designed to heal scars from World War II, specifically by promoting development within the member states through economic and political cooperation.
Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, COMECON
An economic alliance in Europe that formed in 1949 with six members, ten countries joining in the end. It was designed to promote trade and sharing of natural resources in Communist Eastern Europe. It disbanded in 1991.
A zone created in order to further integrate Europe's nation-states into a regional organization. A single bank, the European Central Bank, was given responsibility for selling interest rates and minimizing inflation throughout the zone. The bank's desire for organization led to the creation of the electronic Euro in 1999, with notes and coins being created in 2002.
A movement that took place in the United Kingdom that sought to remove itself from the European Union because of opposition to EU policies. It first began in 2016 and resulted in the UK successfully being removed from the EU on January 31st, 2020.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO
A military alliance in Europe that spans across 16 democratic states in Europe, including the United States and Canada. It was designed to maintain a bipolar balance of power in Europe. Its principle objective among the Allies was to prevent the Soviet Union from overrunning West Germany and other smaller countries.
A military alliance in Europe and agreement among Communist Eastern European countries. It disbanded in 1991 following the end of communism in Eastern Europe, and former countries under this alliance would eventually merge with NATO.
The threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Reponses to Terrorism (START) and other organizations have identified criteria that must be met for an incident to fall under this category:
-The incident must be intentional, the result of a conscious calculation on the part of a perpetrator.
-The incident must entail some level of violence or threat of violence, including property damage as well as violence against people.
-Acts of terrorism conducted by one state against another state are not included.
Two of these three criteria must also be met:
-The violent act was aimed at attaining a political, economic, religious, or social goal.
-The violent act included evidence of an intention to coerce, intimidate, or convey some other message to a larger audience other than to the immediate victims.
-The violent act was outside the precepts of international humanitarian law.
The United States has suffered a particularly devastating amount of these attacks, including the 2001 World Trade Center attack.
A terrorist organization responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Founded in 1988 by Osama bin Laden to unite several groups of fighters in Afghanistan as well as his supporters elsewhere in Southwest Asia. Bin Laden waged war against the US because of that country's support for Saudi Arabia and Israel.
A terrorist organization founded in 2002 in northeastern Nigeria. It seeks to transform Nigeria into an Islamic state, and it opposes adoption of Western cultural practices, especially by Christians in the south of the country.
A terrorist organization that gained power from Afghanistan in 1996. This led them to impose strict laws in the country that banned any Western values that violated Islamic values throughout the 1990's. The US would overthrow this organization in 2001, but they regrouped soon after and regained control of parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
A terrorist organization that umbrellas the formerly unified ISIS and ISIL. Members of these groups are Sunni Muslims who seek to impose strict religious laws throughout Southwest Asia through violent means and violations of human rights violations.
An invisible line that marks the extent of a state's territory. These completely surround an individual state to mark the outer limits of its territorial control and to give it a distinctive shape.
A zone separating two states in which neither state exercises political control. It is a tangible geographic area, whereas a boundary is an infinitely thin line.
A boundary that follows the distribution of cultural features.
A boundary that is based on human constructs, such as straight lines and parallels of latitude. Most prominent in North America and North Africa, and even the South Pole.
A boundary that coincides with significant features of the natural landscape. Includes deserts, mountains, and large bodies of water.
The third-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It contains two ethnicities: 63% Greek and 24% Turkish. Since 1974, after various disagreements over the prevailing ethnicity, a United Nations buffer zone and wall were both formed between the two regions in an example of an ethnic boundary. The two sides have been brought closer together in recent years, with a portion of the wall being demolished and permission for each ethnic group to cross to the other side after the EU accepted the island as a member in 2004.
A physical element that can serve as a boundary. These are arid, hard to cross, and sparsely inhabited.
A physical element that can serve as a boundary. Useful boundaries in that they are rather permanent, sparsely inhabited, and may block of communication between opposite sides is passes are closed by winter storms.
A physical element that can serve as a boundary. This includes rivers, lakes, oceans. These boundaries have historically offered good protection against attack from another state because an invading state had to transport its troops by air or ship and secure a landing spot in the country being attacked. The state being invaded could concentrate its defense at the landing point.
Law of the Sea
The United Nations Convention that defines the rights and responsibilities of countries with respect to the use of the world's oceans and the management of marine resources. It has been signed by 164 states (not including the United States). It identifies three types of water boundaries:
-Territorial Waters (0 ~ 12 nautical miles from shore, where states may set laws regulating passage.)
-Contiguous Zone (12 ~ 24 nautical miles from shore, where states may enforce laws concerning pollution, taxation, customs, and immigration.)
-Exclusive Economic Zone (24 ~ 200 nautical miles from shore, where the state has sole right to exploit natural resources, such as fishing.)
A treaty signed in 1959 by 47 states. Created in response to the constant territorial claims in the continent. It provides a legal framework for managing Antarctica. States may establish research stations there for scientific investigations, but no military activities are permitted.
A state in which the distance from the center to any boundary does not vary significantly. Allows for a strong centripetal force in smaller states because good communications can be more easily established with all regions, especially if the capital is located near the center. However, they are just as likely to experience civil wars and ethnic rivalries.
An otherwise compact state with a large projecting extension. They are created:
-To provide a state with access to a resource.
-To separate two states that would otherwise share a boundary.
A state that completely surrounds another one. The surrounded state may face problems of dependence on, or interference from, the surrounding state.
A state with a long, narrow shape. These states may suffer from poor internal communications. A region located at an extreme end of the elongation might be isolated from the capital, which is usually placed near the center.
A state that includes several discontinuous pieces of territory. Two types of these states exist: they are either separated by other states or separated by water.
A state that does not have a direct outlet to the sea because it is completely surrounded by other countries. Direct access to an ocean is critical to states because it facilitates international trade.
The process of redrawing legislative boundaries for the purpose of benefiting the party in power. Named after Elbridge Gerry, governor of Massachusetts in 1810-1812 who signed a bill that redistricted the state to benefit his party. An opponent observed that the new district looked like a salamander.
A form of gerrymandering. Like-minded voters are spread across several districts to prevent them from reaching a majority in any of them, thus wasting their votes.
A form of gerrymandering. Like-minded voters are stacked in one district to prevent them from affecting elections in other districts.
Goofy Kicking Donald Duck
The odd shape of Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District that vaguely resembled one familiar Mickey Mouse character kicking another. Resulted from Pennsylvania's state legislature altering its Congressional Districts in 2018 to promote gerrymandering. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that this map violated the state constitution, which eventually forced the court to draw its own map for the 2018 election.
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