Important World Mapping: Part 1

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Relevance: World Geography- geographical features and their location. 


Landlocked and doubly landlocked Countries

A landlocked country or landlocked state is a sovereign state that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basins.

  • There are currently 49 landlocked countries, including 5 partially recognized states.
  • Generally, being landlocked creates some political and economic handicaps that having access to international waters would avoid. For this reason, nations large and small throughout history have sought to gain access to open waters, even at great expense in wealth, bloodshed, and political capital.
  • Historically, being landlocked has been disadvantageous to a country's development.
  • It cuts a nation off from important sea resources such as fishing and impedes or prevents direct access to maritime trade, a crucial component of economic and social advance.
  • As such, coastal regions, or inland regions that have access to the World Ocean, tended to be wealthier and more heavily populated than inland regions that have no access to the World Ocean. 
  • The economic disadvantages of being landlocked can be alleviated or aggravated depending on the degree of development, surrounding trade routes and freedom of trade, language barriers, and other considerations. 
  • Some landlocked countries are quite affluent, such as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Austria, all of which, excluding Luxembourg, which is a founding member of NATO, frequently employ neutrality in global political issues.
  • The majority, however, are classified as Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs).
  • Nine of the twelve countries with the lowest Human Development Indices (HDI) are landlocked.

Lesotho is a mountainous, landlocked country located in Southern Africa. It is an enclave, surrounded by South Africa.

An enclave is an area (such as a country or territory) that is totally surrounded by another country, state, province, or another such territory.

Vatican City is another example of an enclave.

Vatican City is an independent nation that is completely surrounded by the country of Italy. It is the smallest country in the world.


Doubly landlocked Countries

A country is “doubly landlocked” or “double-landlocked” when it is surrounded only by landlocked countries (requiring the crossing of at least two national borders to reach a coastline).

There are two such countries:

  1. Liechtenstein in Central Europe, surrounded by Switzerland and Austria.

  2. Uzbekistan in Central Asia is surrounded by Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.



Asia Minor

Anatolia, Turkish Anadolu is also called Asia Minor, the peninsula of land that today constitutes the Asian portion of Turkey.

  • Because of its location at the point where the continents of Asia and Europe meet, Anatolia was, from the beginnings of civilization, a crossroads for numerous peoples migrating or conquering from either continent.
  • The seas surrounding Asia Minor are the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The Sea of Marmara forms a connection between the Black and Aegean Seas through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits and separates Anatolia from Thrace on the Balkan peninsula of Europe.
  • Troy (remember the movie “Battle of Troy” ?) is one of many famous cities that were in Asia Minor long ago.


Marginal Seas in the Arctic Ocean

Norwegian Sea:

  • The Norwegian Sea is a marginal sea in the Arctic Ocean, northwest of Norway between the North Sea and the Greenland Sea, adjoining the Barents Sea to the northeast.
  • In the southwest, it is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a submarine ridge running between Iceland and the Faroe Islands.
  • To the north, the Jan Mayen Ridge separates it from the Greenland Sea.
  • Unlike many other seas, most of the bottom of the Norwegian Sea is not part of a continental shelf and therefore lies at a great depth of about two kilometers on average.
  • Rich deposits of oil and natural gas are found under the sea bottom and are being explored commercially, in the areas with sea depths of up to about one kilometer.
  • The warm North Atlantic Current ensures relatively stable and high water temperatures, so that unlike the Arctic seas, the Norwegian Sea is ice-free throughout the year.

Barents Sea:

  • The Barents Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located off the northern coasts of Norway and Russia and divided between Norwegian and Russian territorial waters.
  • This is a rather shallow shelf sea, with an average depth of 230 meters (750 ft), and it is an important site for both fishing and hydrocarbon exploration.
  • The islands of Novaya Zemlya, an extension of the northern end of the Ural Mountains, separate the Barents Sea from the Kara Sea.
  • Although part of the Arctic Ocean, the Barents Sea has been characterized as “turning into the Atlantic” because of its status as “the Arctic warming hot spot.”
  • Hydrologic changes due to global warming have led to a reduction in sea ice and in the stratification of the water column, which could produce major changes in weather in Eurasia.

Kara Sea:

  • The Kara Sea is part of the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia.
  • It is separated from the Barents Sea to the west by the Kara Strait and Novaya Zemlya, and from the Laptev Sea to the east by the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago.
  • It is named after the Kara River (flowing into Baydaratskaya Bay), which is now relatively insignificant but which played an important role in the Russian conquest of northern Siberia.

Laptev Sea:

  • The Laptev Sea is also a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean.
  • The Kara Sea lies to the west, the East Siberian Sea to the east.
  • The sea is named after the Russian explorers Dmitry Laptev and Khariton Laptev.
  • The sea has a severe climate with temperatures below 0°C (32 °F) over more than nine months per year, low water salinity, scarcity of flora, fauna and human population, and low depths (mostly less than 50 meters).
  • It is frozen most of the time, though generally clear in August and September.
  • The sea contains several dozen islands, many of which contain well-preserved mammoth remains.

Chukchi Sea:

  • It is also a part of the Arctic Ocean, bounded by Wrangel Island (west), northeastern Siberia and northwestern Alaska (south), the Beaufort Sea (east), and the Arctic continental slope (north). 
  • Chukchi sea is one of the most productive ocean ecosystems in the world.
  • Its vast, shallow seafloor and seasonal ice cover provide nutrients and pristine habitat for a multitude of organisms, ranging from walruses to ice seals to whales to millions of seabirds to the top predator mammal, the polar bear.


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