The map map above shows all countries (in red) that have territorial disputes with at least one other country. Those in white have no ongoing territorial disputes. The data used for the map came from Wikipedia’s List of territorial disputes.
A few of the more interesting disputes include:
- Canada and the US have disputed claims over: Machias Seal Island, North Rock, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Dixon Entrance, Portland Canal the Beaufort Sea and disputes over navigation in the Northwest Passage.
- The US also has disputes with the following countries:
- Tokelau over Swains Island.
- The Marshall Islands over Wake Island
- Colombia, Nicaragua and Jamaica over Bajo Nuevo Bank
- Colombia, Honduras and Nicaragua over Serranilla Bank
- Haiti over Navassa Island
- Canada also has a dispute with Denmark over Hans Island
- The United Kingdom, due to it’s former Empire, has disputes all over the world including with:
- Mauritius over the Chagos Archipelago
- Ireland over the Carlingford Lough and Lough Foyle boundaries
- Spain over Gibraltar
- Argentina over Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
- Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Cyrpurs over Strovilia border checkpoint
- Similar to the UK, France also has its fair share of international disputes stemming from its days as an imperial power, including with:
- Madagascar and Comoros over Banc du Geyser
- Madagascar over Bassas da India, Europa Island and Juan de Nova Island
- Comoros over Mayotte
- Mauritius and Seychelles over Tromelin Island
- Vanuatu over Matthew and Hunter Islands
- Italy over Mont Blanc summit
- Suriname over French Guiana west of the Marouini River
- Germany, Austria and Switzerland have no formal border in Lake Constance, although no formal dispute or conflict exists
- Russia has disputes with: Japan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Taiwan.
- However, the People’s Republic of China takes the cake when it comes to disputes it has them with the following countries: Taiwan (ROC), North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Bhutan, India, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei.
Countries that do not have any international territorial disputes unsurprisingly include island nations such as Australia, New Zealand and and Sri Lanka along with several surprises including Mexico, and many countries in Eastern Europe and many countries in Central Africa.
Update: November 28, 2015
Max Galka, who’s maps showing the Population of the Metro Tokyo Area Compared To US Cities we featured back in September, has just gotten in touch with an interactive map explaining the the world’s territorial disputes in more detail:
You can click on the map above to be taken directly to the interactive version or read Max’s article that looks at 6 of the most interesting / surprising / bizarre territorial disputes.
- The Kuril Islands: The reason Japan and Russia still haven’t signed a peace treaty to end World War II
- Belize: Is there a Belize?
- The Strait of Gibraltar: Spain controls the side attached to Morocco, but not the side attached to Spain
- Rockall Island: Why are three countries fighting over a tiny rock in the middle of the nowhere?
- Arunachal Pradesh: Google Maps’ borders differ depending on who’s looking at them
- Bir Tawil: A territory claimed by noone
Want to learn more about territorial disputes? Here are some recommended books:
- Enduring Territorial Disputes: Strategies of Bargaining, Coercive Diplomacy, and Settlement
- Words or Swords: Russia’s Strategies in Handling its Territorial Disputes
- Territorial Disputes in the South China Sea: Navigating Rough Waters
Know of any other interesting border and/or territorial disputes? Tell us about them in the comment section below: