Enclaves and Exclaves

A further area of interest for border enthusiasts are Enclaves and Exclaves.


NameDefinitions Examples
Enclaveis a territory that is completely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves are therefore inner. The Vatican and San Marino are enclaved by the City of Rome and Italy respectively. Llivia is a Spanish town enclaved by France.
Exclaveis a part of a state that is geographically separated from the main part by the territory of one or more states. Exclaves are therefore outer. The Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan.
Semi-enclaves and 
are areas that, except for possessing a sea border (with access to international waters), would otherwise be enclaves or exclavesBrunei, Gambia and Monaco are examples semi enclaves – states with sea access which are surrounded by another country. Kaliningrad is an example of a semi exclave (still an integral part of Russia)
Pene-exclaveis a part of the territory of one country that can be conveniently approached only through the territory of another country. Many pene-exclaves partially border their own territorial waters (i.e., they are not surrounded by other nations’ territorial waters). Examples of pene enclaves include Point Roberts in Washington State that can only be accessed by car via Canada. Kleinwalsertal Valley is connected only to Germany and not to Austria. A further example is Dubki area is bounded by Estonia and Lake Peipsi-Pihkva.
Counter enclave is an enclave within an enclave.
The village of Nawha is part of the United Arab Emirates, yet is wholly surrounded by a part of Oman called Madha, which in turn wholly surrounded by territory belonging to the United Arab Emirates.

Source: Gazillion. (Wikipedia)

In the above diagram different territories are represented by different colours and letters; separated parts of the same territory are represented by the same colour and letter, with a different number added to each smaller part of that territory (the main part is identified by the letter only).

Country A
Possesses 3 exclaves (A1, A2 and A3): it is impossible to go from the main part of A to any of these parts going only through territory of A.
A1 and A2 are not enclaves: neither of them is surrounded by a single “foreign” territory.
A3 is an enclave: it is totally surrounded by B.
Country A contains 1 enclave (E): a “foreign” territory totally surrounded by its territory.
Country A possesses 2 counter-enclaves, or  (A4 and A5): territories belonging to it which are located within the enclave E.
Country A contains 1 counter-counter-enclave (E1).
Country B (YELLOW)Country B contains 2 enclaves (A3 and D).
Country C
Country C is continuous territory. It contains no enclaves and does not have territory exclaved elsewhere.
Country D
Country D is an enclaved territory: it is territorially continuous, but its territory is totally surrounded by a single “foreign” territory (B).
Country E
Country E is an enclaved territory: it is inside A;
Country E contains 2 enclaves (A4 and A5), which are counter-enclaves of A;
Country E possesses 1 counter-enclave (E1), which is a counter-counter-enclave as viewed by A and contained within A5.
Source: Gazillion (Wikipedia)

Enclave and Exclave gallery

The Vatican
The Vennbahn
Os de Civis
Peroñ de la Gomera     
Baarle Hertog

Llivia border markers

Vilmkærgård Farmhouse, Denmark


1)  Enclaves and Exclaves. Jan S. Krogh’s Geosite here
2) The Top 10: Enclaves. The Independent (2017) here
3) List of enclaves and exclaves. Wikipedia here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s