Submitted by Taps Coogan on the 16th of January 2018 to The Sounding Line.
The following map, from Visual Capitalist’s Nick Routley, shows the age of every international border in the world. Nick Routley notes this about the methodology:
Creating a map that shows the age of all the world’s borders seems like an impossible feat, but Reddit user, PisseGuri82, was up to the challenge. PisseGuri82, acknowledging the extreme complexity of the undertaking, outlined some caveats to consider:
– The map looks at the date a border was officially set to its current form (excluding minute changes).
– The dates are derived from publicly available border treaties and documents.
– Exact dates are difficult to pin down as ratification, surveying, and physical marking can take place over a number of years.
With that in mind, the oldest current international border appears to be the northern border between Portugal and Spain which was established in 1143 AD. While most countries’ borders are surprisingly recent, Spain’s borders are some of the oldest in the world. Its most recent border is with Gibraltar and was established in 1713 following the War of Spanish Succession. The world’s newest border appears to be a portion of the border between Sudan and South Sudan which was established in 2009. South Sudan is the world’s newest country, having achieved official recognition from the UN in 2011. The Saudi border with Yemen is the second most recent and was agreed to in 2000.
It’s remarkable to note that a full third of the world’s borders are less than 100 years old. This is especially apparent in Africa, where many existing borders still resemble those haphazardly set by colonial powers around the turn of the 20th century. The average border on the continent is only 111 years old.
In 1964, independent African states chose to maintain colonial borders, primarily to prevent widespread conflict over territory. Though colonial divisions were maintained in theory, only about one third of Africa’s 51,000 miles (83,000 km) of land borders are demarcated – an issue that continues to cause headaches today. For example, South Sudan has numerous border conflicts with neighbors; a situation that is complicated by the presence of natural resources.
A recent study pointed out that the likelihood of conflict in Africa is approximately 40% higher in areas where “partitioned ethnicities reside, as compared to homelands of ethnicities that have not been separated by national borders”.
To see the entire geographic history of the world, check out this.
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