You Might Like

An enclave is a territory, or a part of a territory, that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state.[2] Territorial waters have the same sovereign attributes as land, and enclaves may therefore exist within territorial waters.[3] []

An exclave is a portion of a state or territory geographically separated from the main part by surrounding alien territory (of one or more states).[4] Many exclaves are also enclaves. Enclave is sometimes used improperly to denote a territory that is only partly surrounded by another state.[2] Vatican City and San Marino, enclaved by Italy, Lesotho, enclaved by South Africa, and Nagorno-Karabakh,[1] enclaved by Azerbaijan, are completely enclaved states. Unlike an enclave, an exclave can be surrounded by several states.[5] The Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan is an example of an exclave.

Semi-enclaves and semi-exclaves are areas that, except for possessing an unsurrounded sea border (a coastline contiguous with international waters), would otherwise be enclaves or exclaves.[5] [] [6] [] Enclaves and semi-enclaves can exist as independent states (Monaco, Gambia and Brunei are semi-enclaves), while exclaves always constitute just a part of a sovereign state (like the Kaliningrad Oblast).[5]

A pene-enclave is a part of the territory of one country that can be conveniently approached—in particular, by wheeled traffic—only through the territory of another country.[7] [] Pene-enclaves are also called functional enclaves or practical enclaves.[6] [] Many pene-exclaves partially border their own territorial waters (i.e., they are not surrounded by other nations' territorial waters), such as Point Roberts, Washington. A pene-enclave can also exist entirely on land, such as when intervening mountains render a territory inaccessible from other parts of a country except through alien territory. A commonly cited example is the Kleinwalsertal, a valley part of Vorarlberg, Austria, that is accessible only from Germany to the north.

Origin and usage

The word enclave is French and first appeared in the mid-15th century as a derivative of the verb enclaver (1283), from the colloquial Latin inclavare (to close with a key).[8] Originally, it was a term of property law that denoted the situation of a land or parcel of land surrounded by land owned by a different owner, and that could not be reached for its exploitation in a practical and sufficient manner without crossing the surrounding land.[8] In law, this created a servitude[9] of passage for the benefit of the owner of the surrounded land. The first diplomatic document to contain the word enclave was the Treaty of Madrid, signed in 1526.[3] []

Later, the term enclave began to be used also to refer to parcels of countries, counties, fiefs, communes, towns, parishes, etc. that were surrounded by alien territory. This French word eventually entered the English and other languages to denote the same concept, although local terms have continued to be used. In India, the word "pocket" is often used as a synonym for enclave (such as "the pockets of Puducherry district").[10] In British administrative history, subnational enclaves were usually called detachments or detached parts, and national enclaves as detached districts or detached dominions.[11] In English ecclesiastic history, subnational enclaves were known as peculiars (see also Royal Peculiar).

The word exclave, modeled on enclave,[4] is a logically extended back-formation of enclave.


Enclaves exist for a variety of historical, political and geographical reasons. For example, in the feudal system in Europe, the ownership of feudal domains was often transferred or partitioned, either through purchase and sale or through inheritance, and often such domains were or came to be surrounded by other domains. In particular, this state of affairs persisted into the 19th century in the Holy Roman Empire, and these domains (principalities, etc.) exhibited many of the characteristics of sovereign states. Prior to 1866 Prussia alone consisted of more than 270 discontiguous pieces of territory.[3] []

Residing in an enclave within another country has often involved difficulties in such areas as passage rights, importing goods, currency, provision of utilities and health services, and host nation cooperation. Thus, over time, enclaves have tended to be eliminated. For example, two-thirds of the then-existing national-level enclaves were extinguished on August 1, 2015, when the governments of India and Bangladesh implemented a Land Boundary Agreement that exchanged 162 first-order enclaves (111 Indian and 51 Bangladeshi). This exchange thus effectively de-enclaved another two dozen second-order enclaves and one third-order enclave, eliminating 197 of the Indo-Bangladesh enclaves in all. The residents in these enclaves had complained of being effectively stateless. Only Bangladesh's Dahagram–Angarpota enclave remained.

Netherlands and Belgium though decided to keep the enclave and exclave system in Baarle. As both Netherlands and Belgium are members of the European Union and Schengen Area, people, goods and services flow freely with little or no restrictions.

For illustration, in the figure (above), A1 is a semi-enclave (attached to C and also bounded by water that only touches C's territorial water). Although A2 is an exclave of A, it cannot be classed as an enclave because it shares borders with B and C. The territory A3 is both an exclave of A and an enclave from the viewpoint of B. The singular territory D, although an enclave, is not an exclave.

True enclaves

An enclave is a part of the territory of a state that is enclosed within the territory of another state. To distinguish the parts of a state entirely enclosed in a single other state, they are called true enclaves.[6] [] A true enclave cannot be reached without passing through the territory of a single other state that surrounds it. Vinokurov (2007) calls this the restrictive definition of "enclave" given by international law, which thus "comprises only so-called 'true enclaves'".[6] [] Two examples are Büsingen am Hochrhein, a true enclave of Germany, and Campione d'Italia, a true enclave of Italy, both of which are surrounded by Switzerland.

The definition of a territory comprises both land territory and territorial waters. In the case of enclaves in territorial waters, they are called maritime (those surrounded by territorial sea) or lacustrine (if in a lake) enclaves.[6] [] Most of the true national-level enclaves now existing are in Asia and Europe. While subnational enclaves are numerous the world over, there are only a few national-level true enclaves in Africa, Australia and the Americas (each such enclave being surrounded by the territorial waters of another country).

An historical example is West Berlin before the reunification of Germany. Since 1945, all of Berlin was ruled de jure by the four Allied powers. However, the East German government and the Soviet Union treated East Berlin as an integral part of East Germany, so West Berlin was a de facto enclave within East Germany. Also, 12 small West Berlin enclaves, such as Steinstücken, were separated from the city, some by only a few meters.[12]

Three nations qualify as completely surrounded by another country's land and/or internal waters:

The Republic of Artsakh, a disputed territory not recognised by any UN member states, consists of Nagorno-Karabakh, which was an enclave within Azerbaijan, and territories bordering Armenia and Iran that were conquered during the Nagorno-Karabakh War.

Historically, four Bantustans (or "Black homelands") of South Africa were granted nominal independence, unrecognized internationally, by the Apartheidist government from 1976 until their reabsorption in 1994. Others remained under government rule from 1948 to 1994. Being heavily partitioned, various parts of these Bantustans were true enclaves.

The United States' constitutional principle of tribal sovereignty treats federally-recognized Indian reservations as quasi-independent enclaves.

To establish jurisdiction, the Scottish Court in the Netherlands, at Camp Zeist near Utrecht, was temporarily declared as sovereign territory of the United Kingdom under Scots law for the duration of the trial of those accused in the Lockerbie bombing, and was therefore an exclave of the United Kingdom and of Scotland, and an enclave within the Netherlands. This was also so during the appeal against the conviction. The court was first convened in 1999, and the land returned to the Netherlands in 2002.[13][14]

True exclaves

True exclave is an extension of the concept of true enclave. In order to access a true exclave from the mainland, a traveller must go through the territory of at least one other state. Examples include:

Related constructs and terms

Semi-enclaves and semi-exclaves are areas that, except for possessing an unsurrounded sea border, would otherwise be enclaves or exclaves.[5] [] [6] [] Semi-enclaves can exist as independent states that border only one other state, such as Monaco, the Gambia and Brunei. Vinokurov (2007) declares, "Technically, Portugal, Denmark, and Canada also border only one foreign state, but they are not enclosed in the geographical, political, or economic sense. They have vast access to international waters. At the same time, there are states that, although in possession of sea access, are still enclosed by the territories of a foreign state."[6] [] Therefore, a quantitative principle applies: the land boundary must be longer than the coastline. Thus a state is classified as a sovereign semi-enclave if it borders on just one state, and its land boundary is longer than its sea coastline.[6] []

Vinokurov affirms that "no similar quantitative criterion is needed to define the scope of non-sovereign semi-enclaves/exclaves."[6] [] [18] Examples include:

Sometimes, administrative divisions of a country, for historical or practical reasons, caused some areas to belong to one division while being attached to another.

The term pene-exclave was defined in Robinson (1959) as "parts of the territory of one country that can be approached conveniently – in particular by wheeled traffic – only through the territory of another country."[7] [] Thus, a pene-exclave, although having land borders, is not completely surrounded by the other's land or territorial waters.[20] [] Catudal (1974)[21] [] and Vinokurov (2007)[6] [] further elaborate upon examples, including Point Roberts. "Although physical connections by water with Point Roberts are entirely within the sovereignty of the United States, land access is only possible through Canada."[21]

Pene-enclaves are also called functional enclaves or practical enclaves.[6] [] They can exhibit continuity of state territory across territorial waters but, nevertheless, a discontinuity on land, such as in the case of Point Roberts.[6] [] Along rivers that change course, pene-enclaves can be observed as complexes comprising many small pene-enclaves.[6] [] A pene-enclave can also exist entirely on land, such as when intervening mountains render a territory, although geographically attached, inaccessible from other parts of a country except through alien territory. A commonly cited example is the Kleinwalsertal, a valley part of Vorarlberg, Austria, that is only accessible from Germany to the north, being separated from the rest of Austria by high mountains traversed by no roads. Another example is the Spanish village of Os de Civís, accessible from Andorra.

Hence, such areas are enclaves or exclaves for practical purposes, without meeting the strict definition. Many pene-exclaves partially border the sea or another body of water, which comprises their own territorial waters (i.e., they are not surrounded by other nations' territorial waters). They border their own territorial waters in addition to a land border with another country, and hence they are not true exclaves. Still, one cannot travel to them on land without going through another country. Attribution of a pene-enclave status to a territory can sometimes be disputed, depending on whether the territory is considered to be practically inaccessible from the mainland or not.[6] []

It is possible for an enclave of one country to be completely surrounded by a part of another country that is itself an enclave of the first country. These enclaves are sometimes called counter-enclaves.

An ethnic enclave is a community of an ethnic group inside an area in which another ethnic group predominates. Ghettos, Little Italys, barrios and Chinatowns are examples. These areas may have a separate language, culture and economic system.

  • Székely Land is a Hungarian ethnic enclave within Romania, with its people calling themselves Székely. Originally, the name Székely Land denoted an autonomous region within Transylvania. It existed as a legal entity from medieval times until the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, when the Székely and Saxon seats were dissolved and replaced by the county system. Along with Transylvania, it became a part of Romania in 1920, according with the Treaty of Trianon signed on 4 June 1920 at the Grand Trianon Palace in Versailles, France. In 1938–1940, during World War II, post-Trianon Hungary temporarily expanded its territory and included some additional territories that were formerly part of the pre-war Kingdom of Hungary, under Third Reich auspices, the Second Vienna Award. It was later reduced to boundaries approximating those of 1920 by the peace treaties signed after World War II at Paris, in 1947. The area was called Magyar Autonomous Region between September 8, 1952 and February 16, 1968, a Hungarian autonomous region within Romania, and today there are territorial autonomy initiatives to reach a higher level of self-governance for this region within Romania.
  • There are several Serb enclaves in Kosovo where the institutions of Kosovo are not fully operational due to disputes.

Diplomatic missions, such as embassies and consulates, as well as military bases, are usually exempted from the jurisdiction of the host country, i.e., the laws of the host nation in which an embassy is located do not typically apply to the land of the embassy or base itself. This exemption from the jurisdiction of the host country is defined as extraterritoriality. Areas and buildings enjoying some forms of extraterritoriality are not true enclaves since, in all cases, the host country retains full sovereignty. In addition to embassies, some other areas enjoy a limited form of extraterritoriality.

Examples of this include:

One or more parcels/holdings of land in most countries is owned by other countries. Most instances are exempt from taxes. In the special case of embassies/consulates these enjoy special privileges driven by international consensus particularly the mutual wish to ensure free diplomatic missions, such as being exempt from major hindrances and host-country arrests in ordinary times on the premises. Most non-embassy lands in such ownership are also not enclaves as fall legally short of extraterritoriality, they are subject to alike court jurisdiction as before their grant/sale in most matters. Nonetheless, for a person's offence against the property itself, equally valid jurisdiction in criminal matters is more likely than elsewhere, assuming the perpetrator is found in the prosecuting authority's homeland. Devoid of permanent residents, formally defined new sovereignty is not warranted or asserted in the examples below. Nonetheless, minor laws, especially on flag flying, are sometimes relaxed to accommodate the needs of the accommodated nation's monument.

Embassies enjoy many different legal statuses approaching quasi-sovereignty, depending on the agreements reached and in practice upheld from time-to-time by host nations. Subject to hosts adhering to basic due process of international law, including giving warnings, the enforced reduction of scope of a foreign embassy has always been a possibility, even to the point of expelling the foreign embassy entirely, usually on a breakdown of relations, in reaction to extreme actions such as espionage, or as another form of sanction. The same seems to be possible in profit-driven moving or drilling under any of the sites below, providing safeguards as the structure or a new replacement site. The same possible curtailments and alterations never apply to proper exclaves.

Examples of such land other than for diplomatic missions are:

Unusual cross-border transport channels

Changes in borders can make a railway that was previously located solely within a country traverse the new borders. Since diverting a railway is expensive, this arrangement may last a long time. This may mean that doors on passenger trains are locked and guarded to prevent illicit entry and exit while the train is temporarily in another country. Borders can also be in the "wrong" place, forcing railways into difficult terrain. In large parts of Europe, where the Schengen Area has eliminated border controls when travelling between its 26 member countries, this problem no longer exists, and railways can criss-cross borders with no need for border controls or locked trains.[55]

Examples include:


  • Salzburg to Innsbruck (Austria) (passes through Rosenheim, Germany). A railway line within Austria exists as well, but trains take about 1.5 hours longer than across German territory.
  • Trains on the Birsig Valley Line from Basel to Rodersdorf, Switzerland, which passes through Leymen, France. It is operated by Baselland Transport and serviced by line no. 10, which continues into the Basel tram network.
  • The Hochrheinbahn (Upper Rhine Railway) from Basel via Waldshut to Schaffhausen is part of the Deutsche Bahn network, and is mostly in Germany, but the two ends are in Switzerland and it is only connected with the rest of the German railway network via Switzerland. At both Basel and Schaffhausen the railway has extraterritorial status: one can travel by train to and from the rest of Germany without going through Swiss customs. See Basel Badischer Bahnhof.
  • Trains from Neugersdorf, Saxony to Zittau pass Czech territory at Varnsdorf, while Czech trains from Varnsdorf to Chrastava pass through German territory at Zittau, and then a small part of Polish territory near the village of Porajów.
  • Trains from Görlitz to Zittau, Germany, pass the border river Neisse several times (see Oder–Neisse line); the railway station for Ostritz, Germany, lies in Krzewina Zgorzelecka, Poland.
  • Belgrade–Bar railway crosses into Bosnia and Herzegovina for 9 kilometres (5.6 mi), between stations Zlatibor and Priboj (both in Serbia). There is one station, Štrpci, but there are no border-crossing facilities, and trains do not call at the station.
  • The Knin – Bihać railway between Croatia and Bosnia is split by the Croatian–Bosnian border several times. Similarly, the Savski Marof – Imeno railway was split by the Slovenian–Croatian border several times.
  • LučenecVeľký Krtíš line in Slovakia passes through Hungary from Ipolytarnóc to Nógrádszakál.
  • The local trains on the Burgenlandbahn in Austria cross the area of Hungary at Sopron. During the era of the Iron Curtain, the trains had their doors locked as they traversed Hungarian territory.
  • The line from Ventimiglia to Limone Piemonte, Italy, via Breil-sur-Roya, France.
  • The railway between France and Italy briefly leaves France to enter Monaco in a 150-metre tunnel before entering France once more.
  • For the Belgian Vennbahn (now a cycleway) narrow strips of Belgian territory were created running through Germany, creating five German exclaves.
  • The former Soviet republics have numerous examples: Semikhody – Chernihiv line of Ukraine passes through Belarus territory.[56] Belarus/Lithuania: Adutiškis railway station straddles the Lithuania/Belarus border. Trains pass through Lithuanian territory while traveling to and from Belarus, and platforms are in both Belarus and Lithuania. The station is now mainly used for freight. DruzhbaVorozhba line of Ukraine passes through Russian territory.[56] In 2009, Russia and Kazakhstan agreed to transfer ownership of a cross-border section of line.



  • The shortest and straightest route for a proposed east–west high-speed railway in Austria through Linz, Salzburg and Innsbruck would pass under some mountains belonging to Germany.
  • Due to inability to agree in 1963 on a shorter route through easy terrain, the iron ore railway in Mauritania originally had to use a longer route through a tunnel (built through 2 km of solid granite) near Choum to avoid the territory of Spanish Sahara. The tunnel is no longer in use and trains now use the shorter route through 5 km of Western Saharan territory controlled by the Polisario Front.
  • In 2012, a railway route from Angola proper to the enclave of Cabinda has to cross not only the Congo River but also the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • In 2013, in Mozambique, the shortest railway route from coal mines at Tete to a port at Nacala passes through Malawi. A route through solely Mozambique territory is circuitous.
  • In 1928, Congo (Belgium) and Angola (Portugal) exchanged some land to facilitate the new route of the railway to Congo-Kinshasa.[57]
  • A very short length of the Syrian HomsTripoli line crosses the border into Lebanon. This happens because the railway was built before this border was defined.

This arrangement is less common as highways are more easily re-aligned. Examples include:

  • The road from Dubai to the tourist spot of Hatta, an exclave of the emirate of Dubai, passes through a small stretch of Omani territory.
  • The highway between Bishkek and Issyk Kul, both in Kyrgyzstan, skirts the border with Kazakhstan, with the highway and the border crossing each other for short distances at various points.
  • Various roads cross the Republic of Ireland–United Kingdom border, back and forth between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The N54 in County Monaghan (RoI) twice becomes the A3 in County Fermanagh (NI), before continuing as the N54. Similarly, the N53 in Monaghan passes through County Armagh (NI) as the A37, before resuming as the N53 at a point where County Armagh, County Monaghan and County Louth (RoI) all meet.[62] As of July 2019, no national or border signs are present: the only indication is the change in margin markings and signs to indicate a change in speed limits between mph and km/h.[63] It remains to be seen whether Brexit will change this friendly arrangement, which has persisted since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.[64]
  • Between 1963 and 2002 the N274 road from Roermond to Heerlen, part of Dutch territory, passed through the German Selfkant, which had been annexed by the Netherlands after the Second World War but returned to Germany in 1963.
  • Close to Narvik, a road from Norway twice enters and leaves Swedish territory, following the southern shore of the Kjårdavatnet lake. It does not connect with any other Swedish road in either location before it enters Norwegian land once more.[65][66]
  • Road 402 between Podsabotin and Solkan in Slovenia, built when Slovenia was a state of Yugoslavia, passes through Italy for 1.5 kilometres. This section of the road does not intersect any other roads and is confined by high concrete walls topped by fences. As Slovenia and Italy are now both signatories to the Schengen Agreement, the barriers are little more than historical curiosities, although there is modern signage indicating that photography is forbidden along the Italian part of the road and that stopping is prohibited.[67]
  • The Saatse Boot Road in Estonia, between the villages of Lutepää and Sesniki, passes through Russian territory. The stretch of road passing through Russia is flanked by barbed wire fences and guard towers. Stopping and/or getting out of one's vehicle on the stretch of road is forbidden; the rule is enforced by Russian border guards.
  • The D8 coastal highway of Croatia passes through a small section of Bosnia and Herzegovina territory, at the town of Neum, as it heads south from Split, Croatia to Dubrovnik.
  • Geneva Airport in Switzerland has a French Sector, which, while legally and geographically in Switzerland, is a de facto French domestic terminal used solely for flights to and from destinations in metropolitan France, and manned by French officials. Thus, prior to Switzerland's accession to the Schengen Area (which entered into force for air travel in March 2009),[68] the French Sector saved the need for border controls for flights between France and Geneva Airport.[69] The French Sector is only accessible by a road connecting it directly to France, which passes through Swiss territory but has no junctions or other physical access to Switzerland. This road leads to a turn-off on the French side of the Ferney-Voltaire border crossing, thus bypassing Swiss passport controls when they were operational before 2009. While Switzerland's membership of the Schengen Area now renders the convenience of avoiding passport controls obsolete, there is still a small advantage gained in using the French Sector: Switzerland is not in the EU Customs Union, so customs (but not passport) checks are still carried out at Switzerland's border posts. The French Sector, with its road that leads directly to France without access to Switzerland, bypasses this requirement.
  • Several bridges cross the rivers Oder and Neisse between Germany and Poland. To avoid needing to coordinate their efforts on a single bridge, the two riparian states assign each bridge to one or the other; thus Poland is responsible for all maintenance on some of the bridges, including the German side, and vice versa.[74]
  • The Hallein Salt Mine crosses from Austria into Germany. Under an 1829 treaty Austria can dig under the then-Kingdom of Bavaria. In return some salt has to be given to Bavaria, and up to 99 of its citizens can be hired to work in the Austrian mine.[75]
  • The twin town of TornioHaparanda or HaparandaTornio lies at the mouth of river Tornio, Tornio on the Finnish side and Haparanda on the Swedish side. The two towns have a common public transportation, as well as cultural services, fire brigade, sports facilities etc.
  • The Basel Badischer Bahnhof is a railway station in the Swiss city of Basel. Although situated on Swiss soil, because of the 1852 treaty between the Swiss Confederation and the state of Baden (one of the predecessors of today's Germany), the largest part of the station (the platforms and the parts of the passenger tunnel that lead to the German/Swiss checkpoint) is treated administratively as an inner-German railway station operated by the Deutsche Bahn. The shops in the station hall, however, are Swiss, and the Swiss franc is used as the official currency there (although the euro is universally accepted). The Swiss post office, car rental office, restaurant and a cluster of shops are each separately located wholly within a surrounding station area that is administered by the German railway.[76] The customs controls are located in a tunnel between the platforms and the station hall; international trains which continue to Basel SBB usually had on-board border controls, until they were abolished in 2008 when Switzerland joined the Schengen Area.
  • The tram network in the French city of Strasbourg was extended into the neighbouring German city of Kehl in 2017.[77]
  • The railway stations of Audun-le-Tiche and Volmerange-les-Mines are both located in France but are owned, operated and maintained by the Luxembourg National Railway Company, as are the short stretches of railway between the stations and the Luxembourg border. Thus, holders of a Luxembourg railway pass can travel to these stations without requiring a French ticket. The stations are both end stations on different lines and are not physically connected to any French railway. There are no border issues, as both France and Luxembourg are in the Schengen Area.
  • The Hong Kong–Shenzhen Western Corridor on the Hong Kongmainland China border: the immigration control points for Hong Kong (Shenzhen Bay Control Point) and mainland China (Shenzhen Bay Port) are co-located in the same building on the Shenzhen side of the bridge in an effective pene-exclave. The Hong Kong portion of the service building and the adjoining bridge are leased to Hong Kong, and are under Hong Kong's jurisdiction for an initial period until 30 June 2047.
  • The Mainland Port Area in Kowloon High Speed Railway Station in downtown Hong Kong is under the jurisdiction of the Mainland Chinese authorities and courts. The 30 km long underground tunnel to the border is under Hong Kong jurisdiction, however, the train compartments of any train in operation (that is carrying passengers to or from the Mainland) are subject to Mainland Laws and jurisdiction.[78] This arrangement was created to allow for immigration clearance to occur in Hong Kong for all trains travelling to and from the Mainland of China. This has stirred much controversy and multiple protests in Hong Kong. [79]
  • As a legacy of British Malaya, the Malaysian rail network had its southern terminus at Tanjong Pagar railway station in central Singapore. The land on which the station and the rail tracks stood was leased to Keretapi Tanah Melayu, the Malaysian state railway operator. Consequently, Malaysia had partial sovereignty over the railway land.[80] Passengers had to clear Malaysian customs and immigration checks at Tanjong Pagar before boarding the train to Malaysia, even after Singapore shifted its border control facility to the actual border in 1998 and objected to the continued presence of Malaysian officials at the station. After a 20-year long dispute, the station was closed in 2011 and the railway land reverted to Singapore.[80] A remnant of the rail corridor is still in use; KTM trains now terminate at Woodlands Train Checkpoint in northern Singapore near the border, which houses Malaysian and Singaporean border controls for rail passengers.[81]

See also


You Might Like