An Examination of the Factors that Contribute to the Formation of Exclaves

Justin Henry Franco


The purpose of the study is to examine the factors that contributed to the formation of exclaves, or areas of land that are separated from their respective countries by the presence of surrounding foreign territories. A major focus of the research will be to analyze the effects that strategic advantage, nationalism, and mapping errors have on the formation of exclaves. Traditional and contemporary exclaves, such as the British exclave of Gibraltar and the Russian exclave of Crimea, will be studied from a strategic and historical context. Examples of exclaves reviewed during the study include the strategically important American exclave of Alaska in North America and the nationally significant French exclave of French Guiana in South America. A diverse array of literature exists examining the strategic and economic values of specific exclaves, however, the research project offers another perspective on the formation of exclaves by discussing generalizable factors that contribut to their formation. The research project was completed by analyzing national histories and cartographical source material from accredited map collections and academic professionals. An initial review of the research material illustrates that most exclaves are the result of mapping errors, with a notable example being the Bangladeshi excalves of Cooch Bechar and the Tajikistani exclaves in the Ferghana Valley. Nationalism played a significant role in the formation of contemporary exclave, while strategic advantage was significant in the formation of exclaves during the age of European colonization, as illustrated by Angola's exclave of Cabinda.


Exclaves, Nationalism, Maps

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