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Shapes of States. Mattie Vazquez, Katie Dubrof, Paige Johnson, Ramsey Bennett. What is a boundary?. A boundary is an infinitely thin, invisible, imaginary line that separates two locations.

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shapes of states

Shapes of States

Mattie Vazquez, Katie Dubrof, Paige Johnson, Ramsey Bennett

what is a boundary
What is a boundary?

A boundary is an infinitely thin, invisible, imaginary line that separates two locations.

The two types of boundaries include cultural and physical. Cultural boundaries divide locations based on ethnicity, most commonly language and religion. While physical boundaries are created by an actual physical feature such as a mountain range or a desert.

physical boundaries
Physical Boundaries

Physical Barriers/Boundaries can both help and hurt a state. Physical boundaries can make good boundaries because they can be seen on a map and on ground (ex: mountains deserts, rivers). Mountains are difficult to cross, but do not always provide separation from neighbors (Chile and Argentina). Water boundaries are visible on a map as well and are relatively unchanging (ex: boundary between Congo Dem. Republic and Uganda). Desert boundaries can divide two states, they are difficult to cross and sparsely inhabited (ex: Sahara Desert seperates Algeria, Libya, and Egypt from Mauritania, Mali, Niger, and Chad).

shapes of countries
Shapes of Countries

The shape of state controls the length of its boundaries with other states. Some shapes are beneficial to the country while others can be harmful. The 5 basic shapes are: compact, prorupted, elongated, fragmented and perforated.

elongated states
Elongated States

Elongated States are states with a long, narrow shape. The majority of elongated states are located with a border on the ocean.

pros cons of elongated states
Pros/Cons of Elongated States

Elongated states are not the most desirable shape for a state, the list of cons greatly out number the list of pros. Cons include: difficulty to protect during war, the communication between ethnic group also suffers due to the great distance between them, lastly the cities at the “ends” can suffer with communication with the capitol which is normally located around the middle of the country. Pros of elongated states include: availability to a variety of resources since the county covers such a long, diverse piece of land.

centrifugal shape
Centrifugal Shape

Elongated states are classified as a Centrifugal Shape. Elongated states suffer from poor internal communication and isolation from the capitol,

due to these problems

elongated states are hard

to unify.


A prime example of an elongated state is chile, located between the

pacific coast of South America

and the Andes mountains. Many communication problems arise

from its shape.

fragmented states
Fragmented States

A fragmented state is a state that includes several discontinuous pieces of territory. There are two different types of fragmented states: fragmented states that are separated by water, and fragmented states that are separated by land.

pros cons of fragmented states
Pros/Cons of Fragmented States

Pros include difficulty to invade, but they are also difficult to defend. However cons include difficulties regarding integration and communication between islands.


Indonesia is an example of a fragmented state separated by water, because it is made up of multiple islands. Eighty percent Indonesia’s population is inhabited on two islands, and in order to foster integration, the government encourages

migration from the crowded islands to

the less inhabited ones.

centrifugal shape1
Centrifugal Shape

Communication and transportation are major problems among several disconnected territories, due to that fact Fragmented States are hard to unify. Fragmented States are classified as a Centrifugal shape.

perforated states
Perforated States

Perforated States are states that completely surrounds another state. This can be exceedingly difficult for the engulfed state. They must rely on the surrounding state for the international trade and the importing and exporting of goods.

south africa and lesotho
South Africa and Lesotho

One modern day example of a perforated state is South Africa and Lesotho.

South africa completely

surrounds Lesotho, which

is a completely different


pros cons of perforated states
Pros/Cons of Perforated States

Cons:Lesotho is almost entirely dependant on South Africa for the import and export of goods. Dependency on South Africa was exceedingly difficult for Lesotho when South Africa had a government controlled by whites that discriminated against the black population. Conflicts may also arise with the surrounding/internal state

Pros: You have a mixture of cultures and a wide variety of people due to the close borders with the surroundng state.

centripetal or centrifugal shape
Centripetal or centrifugal shape

South Africa and Lesotho are both Centripetal and centrifugal shapes. Centripetal because Lesotho is a small, compact shape with excellent communication and centrifugal because conflicts can arise between the two countries.

compact states
Compact States

Compact states are states that the distance from the center to any boundary does not vary significantly.The ideal compact state would have the capital in the center. It would also have the shortest possible boundaries to defend.

pros and cons of a compact state
Pros and Cons of a Compact State

Compactness is beneficial for smaller states because communication is easily spread to all regions.

Not always are compact states peaceful. They are just as likely to have a civil war and ethnic rivalries.

examples of a compact state
Examples of a Compact State

Examples of compact states include Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda.

centripetal shape
Centripetal Shape

Compact States are classifies as Centripetal Shapes because they are small and “compact”. They are located within even borders and close together.

exclaves and enclaves
Exclaves and Enclaves

Enclave: An enclave is a country or a part of a country lying wholly within the boundaries of another.

Exclave: An exclave is a part of a country that is isolated from the main part and is surrounded by foreign territory.

landlocked states
Landlocked States

A landlocked state is a country that lacks a direct outlet to the sea becuase it is completle surronded by one or more countries. Landlocked states are most common in Africa.

issues of landlocked states
Issues of Landlocked States

A common issue encountered by landlocked states is the lack of trade by sea. They must use other countries seaports in order to trade internationally by ship.

landlocked states in southern africa
Landlocked States in Southern Africa

Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland are all example of landlocked states in Southern Africa. In this region there is severe racial discrimination against blacks despite the fact that they make up 80% of the population. 90% of all exports of these countries are done by rail through South Africa. The only way to overcome being a landlocked state is to create a bond with the states around you so that your resources are not limited by the states lack of places to import resources.