Why Do Some Countries Have Land That's Totally Detached from the Rest of the Country?

By Casey Chan on at

Most countries scribble their borders around a map and call it a day. Everything inside those lines is forever known as that country; everything outside is not. Simple enough, right? Not when you mix in colonialism, wars, history, natural resources, the terrible whims of despots, and more.

For any of these reasons, you end up with a situation wherein countries’ land ends up becoming completely detached from the main body. VanDeGraph focuses in on three countries with these weird detached borders: Russia, Angola, and Croatia.

Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave is the result of both World War I, World War II, the Nazis, and the fall of the USSR. Angola has an exclave of Cabinda that’s separated by the main country because of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (but really because of awful colonialism and how Europe chopped up Africa in parts that only served Europe and oil).

The messiest and most interesting of all might be Croatia’s weird detached land, its borders are split up for just a tiny 12 mile stretch to give Bosnia and Herzegovina access to the sea. The history of those regions is pretty fascinating though with seemingly everyone in history having a go at it. You can see it unpacked in the video below:`