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Landlocked country

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Landlocked countries: 42 landlocked (green), 2 doubly landlocked (purple)
Landlocked countries: 42 landlocked (green), 2 doubly landlocked (purple)

A landlocked state or landlocked country is a sovereign state entirely enclosed by land, or whose only coastlines lie on closed seas. There are currently 50 such countries, including five partially recognised states. Only two, Bolivia and Paraguay in South America, lie outside Afro-Eurasia (the Old World).

As a rule, being landlocked creates political and economic handicaps that access to the high seas avoids. For this reason, states large and small across history have striven to gain access to open waters, even at great expense in wealth, bloodshed, and political capital.[1]

The economic disadvantages of being landlocked can be alleviated or aggravated depending on degree of development, language barriers, and other considerations. Some landlocked countries are quite affluent, such as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Austria, all of which frequently employ neutrality to their political advantage. The majority, however, are classified as Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs).[2] Nine of the twelve countries with the lowest Human Development Indices (HDI) are landlocked.[3]

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
    1 310 871
    1 391 116
    1 984
    3 568
    13 319
  • Why Countries Are Landlocked + Canals
  • Why Landlocked Countries Still Have Navies
  • Amazing Facts About Landlocked Countries:Question No 9
  • Geography - Landlocked countries - Single vs Double landlocked countries
  • TRICK Caspian Sea|| Black Sea|| Landlocked Countries


Not every country is lucky enough to have a coast. Some countries are landlocked, which means they are completely cut off from the sea, and instead, they have to rely on the goodwill of their neighbors for trade. South America has two landlocked countries, Bolivia and Paraguay. Bolivia lost its coastline to Chile and to this day, Bolivia is still just as salty as the ocean they lost, since they maintain a navy that sails exclusively in their lakes and rivers. Bolivia and Paraguay were once part of the Spanish Vice- -Royalty of the Rio de la Plata, along with Argentina, but during the war for independence, Paraguay became an independent landlocked state in 1811. Five years before Argentina declared independence, and Bolivia remained in Spanish hands until it gained independence in 1825, but with much more land than it has today. In 1870, Paraguay fought a war with Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, where they lost territory and 300,000 lives, which is a lot considering their pre-war population was only 500,000, meaning they were left with just 200,000 people, including only 30,000 adult males. In 1883, Bolivia and Peru lost a war with Chile, which cost Bolivia its coastline. Something Bolivia refuses to forget, given that their flag contains a star for every one of their nine departments, and an extra one for its lost coastal department, and their previously mentioned Navy, which actually does serve a purpose, since the Amazon River and its tributaries are navigable deep into the continent. A part of the Orinoco river in Venezuela splits off and flows into an Amazon tributary, forming a natural canal, making it possible to sail from Brazil to Venezuela without going out to sea. The man-made canals in North America achieve the same thing, allowing ships to travel from the St. Lawrence River to the Great Lakes and into the Mississippi River. Similarly, China has the 1776 kilometer-long Grand Canal, that connects the Yangtze and Yellow rivers. Asia is also home to one of the only two countries that are not only landlocked, but also surrounded by countries that are themselves landlocked, meaning they are landlocked. Uzbekistan is surrounded by Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan, all landlocked. Mongolia, Nepal, Bhutan, and Laos are also landlocked. Jordan and Iraq may look landlocked, but they both have small coastlines on the Red Sea and Persian Gulf respectively. Armenia was given access to the Black Sea as part of the treaty of sèvres, but lost it in a war of turkey, while simultaneously being taken over by the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan is considered landlocked, but along with Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan it has a coast on the Caspian Sea. But the Caspian Sea is an inland sea with its surface 28 meters below sea level, and it has no connection to the ocean which prevents large areas from being underwater. Small ships can reach the ocean by sailing up the Volga River and taking a Russian canal to the Don River down to the Black Sea. The canal is part of a Russian canal and river system which provides water transport to Russia's interior, and links the Arctic Ocean with the Baltic, Black, and Caspian Seas. From the Black Sea a ship could then either travel through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles, or it could travel up the Danube and take a canal to the Rhine river down into the North Sea. Because this waterway is international, many of Europe's landlocked countries have some access to the sea, such as Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, and Moldova, which the Danube either flows through or borders. The tiny country of liechtenstein is the only other doubly landlocked country, along with Uzbekistan, as both Austria and Switzerland are landlocked. Though, small ships can sail along the Rhone river through France from Lake Geneva. The other tiny landlocked nations in Europe are luxembourg and Andorra bordering France, and the city states San Marino and Vatican City enclaved by Italy. After the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the Republic of Macedonia became landlocked. Serbia and Montenegro remained together, until Montenegro voted to become independent in 2006, which was recognized by Serbia, which became landlocked. Bosnia and Herzegovina looks landlocked, but it has a tiny stretch of coastline for complicated historical reasons. However, it does not have a port so it relies on Croatia for its shipping. Slovenia also has a small coastline that used to be part of the free city of Trieste, which was established after world war two, and was eventually split between Yugoslavia and Italy in 1954. Belarus is also landlocked, but it has close economic ties with Russia, which minimizes the effects. Same goes for the Czech Republic with Germany. Africa has 16 landlocked countries, the most of any continent. It's also where the effects of being landlocked are most visible. A landlocked country is dependent on the infrastructure of its neighbors to transport its goods. Unlike Europe, where there are many canals and railroads, Africa's infrastructure is undeveloped, and there's little a landlocked country can do but wait for their neighbors to improve. Or even worse, if the country's transit neighbors become hostile, or have a civil war, it forces them to seek longer, costlier trade routes. Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, and the Central African Republic, were all once part of French Africa, and became landlocked when they gained independence. South Sudan is the newest UN member, gaining independence from Sudan and thus becoming landlocked in 2011. Ethiopia was one of the two african countries to avoid European colonization before world war one. Nearby coastal areas were colonized as they were both more valuable, and easier to take over. Ethiopia was taken over by Italy in the prelude to world war two, when Mussolini, who dreamed of recreating the Roman Empire, invaded ethiopia in 1936. It was liberated by British and Ethiopian forces in 1942. In 1950, the UN gave Ethiopia the british administered, former Italian colony of Eritrea, which gave it a coast on the Red Sea, until nineteen ninety-one when Eritrea gained independence. Now Ethiopia relies on Djibouti for its port. Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, Lesotho, and Swaziland were all British colonies and all are landlocked. The British took over the interior of Africa, in part, because some wish to see continuous british rule from Capetown to Cairo. Rwanda and Burundi, both landlocked, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were all Belgian colonies. The Democratic Republic of the Congo would be landlocked if it were not for small strip of land that cuts off a piece of Angola. Which is explained in this video I made, along with why Bosnia and Herzegovina has that tiny strip of coast, discussed earlier. You can also watch this video which explains all the complicated relationships Russia has with its federal subjects.



Bolivia's loss of its coastline in the War of the Pacific (1879–1884) remains a major political issue
Bolivia's loss of its coastline in the War of the Pacific (1879–1884) remains a major political issue

Historically, being landlocked has been disadvantageous to a country's development. It cuts a nation off from important sea resources such as fishing, and impedes or prevents direct access to seaborne trade, a crucial component of economic and social advance. As such, coastal regions tended to be wealthier and more heavily populated than inland ones. Paul Collier in his book The Bottom Billion argues that being landlocked in a poor geographic neighborhood is one of four major development "traps" by which a country can be held back. In general, he found that when a neighboring country experiences better growth, it tends to spill over into favorable development for the country itself. For landlocked countries, the effect is particularly strong, as they are limited in their trading activity with the rest of the world. He states, "If you are coastal, you serve the world; if you are landlocked, you serve your neighbors."[4] Others have argued that being landlocked may actually be a blessing as it creates a "natural tariff barrier" which protects the country from cheap imports. In some instances, this has led to more robust local food systems.[5][6]

Landlocked developing countries have significantly higher costs of international cargo transportation compared to coastal developing countries (in Asia the ratio is 3:1).[7]

Efforts to avoid being landlocked

Countries thus have made particular efforts to avoid being landlocked, by acquiring land that reaches the sea:

Trade agreements

Countries can make agreements on getting free transport of goods through neighbour countries:

Political repercussions

Losing access to the sea is generally a great blow to a nation, politically, militarily, and economically. The following are examples of countries becoming landlocked.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea now gives a landlocked country a right of access to and from the sea without taxation of traffic through transit states. The United Nations has a programme of action to assist landlocked developing countries,[10] and the current responsible Undersecretary-General is Anwarul Karim Chowdhury.

Some countries have a long coastline, but much of it may not be readily usable for trade and commerce. For instance, in its early history, Russia's only ports were on the Arctic Ocean and frozen shut for much of the year. The wish to gain control of a warm-water port was a major motivator of Russian expansion towards the Baltic Sea, Black Sea and Pacific Ocean. On the other hand, some landlocked countries can have access to the ocean along wide navigable rivers. For instance, Paraguay (and Bolivia to a lesser extent) have access to the ocean by the Paraguay and Parana rivers.

Several countries have coastlines on landlocked seas, such as the Caspian and the Dead. Since these seas are in effect lakes without access to wider seaborne trade, countries such as Kazakhstan are still considered landlocked. Although the Caspian Sea is connected to the Black Sea via the man-made Volga–Don Canal, large oceangoing ships are unable to traverse it.

By degree

Landlocked countries may be bordered by a single country having direct access to the high seas, two or more such countries, or be surrounded by other landlocked countries, making a country doubly landlocked.

Landlocked by a single country

Three countries are landlocked by a single country (enclaved countries):

Landlocked by two countries

Seven landlocked countries are surrounded by only two mutually bordering neighbours (semi-enclaved countries):

To this group could be added two de facto states with no or limited international recognition:

Doubly landlocked

A country is "doubly landlocked" or "double-landlocked" when it is surrounded entirely by one or more landlocked countries (requiring the crossing of at least two national borders to reach a coastline).[11][12] There are two such countries:

There were no doubly landlocked countries from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the end of World War I. Liechtenstein bordered the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which had an Adriatic coastline, and Uzbekistan was then part of the Russian Empire, which had both ocean and sea access.

With the dissolution of Austria-Hungary in 1918 and creation of an independent, landlocked Austria, Liechtenstein became the sole doubly landlocked country until 1938. In the Nazi Anschluss that year, Austria was absorbed into the Third Reich, which possessed a border on the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. After World War II, Austria regained its independence and Liechtenstein once again became doubly landlocked.

Uzbekistan, which had been part of the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union, gained its independence with the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. in 1991 and became the second doubly landlocked country.

However, Uzbekistan's doubly landlocked status depends on the Caspian Sea's status dispute: some countries, especially Iran and Turkmenistan, claim that the Caspian Sea should be considered as a real sea (mainly because this way they would have larger oil and gas fields), which would make Uzbekistan only a simple landlocked country because its neighbours Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan have access to the Caspian Sea.[citation needed]

List of landlocked countries and territories

Country Area (km2) Population Cluster Surrounding countries Count
 Afghanistan 652,230 33,369,945 Central Asia Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China, Pakistan 6
 Andorra 468 84,082 (none) France, Spain 2
 Armenia[e] 29,743 3,254,300 Caucasia Iran, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan 4
 Artsakh[c] 11,458 146,600 Caucasia Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran 3
 Austria 83,871 8,823,054 Central Europe Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland 8
 Azerbaijan[a][e] 86,600 8,997,401 Caucasia Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Turkey 5
 Belarus 207,600 9,484,300 (none) Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Latvia 5
 Bhutan 38,394 691,141 (none) India, China 2
 Bolivia 1,098,581 10,907,778 South America Peru, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay 5
 Botswana 582,000 1,990,876 Southern Africa Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa 4
 Burkina Faso 274,222 15,746,232 Central Africa Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast/Côte d'Ivoire 6
 Burundi 27,834 10,557,259 Central Africa Rwanda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo 3
 Central African Republic 622,984 4,422,000 Central Africa Chad, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, South Sudan 6
 Chad 1,284,000 13,670,084 Central Africa Libya, Niger, Sudan, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Cameroon 6
 Czech Republic 78,867 10,674,947 Central Europe Austria, Germany, Poland, Slovakia 4
 Eswatini (Swaziland) 17,364 1,185,000 (none) Mozambique, South Africa 2
 Ethiopia 1,104,300 101,853,268 Central Africa Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan 6
 Hungary 93,028 9,797,561 Central Europe Austria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine 7
 Kazakhstan[a] 2,724,900 16,372,000 Central Asia China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan 5
 Kosovo[c] 10,908 1,804,838 Central Europe Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia 4
 Kyrgyzstan 199,951 5,482,000 Central Asia China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan 4
 Laos 236,800 6,320,000 (none) Myanmar, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand 5
 Lesotho[d] 30,355 2,067,000 (none) South Africa 1
 Liechtenstein 160 35,789 Central Europe Switzerland, Austria 2
 Luxembourg 2,586 502,202 (none) Belgium, Germany, France 3
 Macedonia 25,713 2,114,550 Central Europe Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Albania 5
 Malawi 118,484 15,028,757 Southern Africa Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique 3
 Mali 1,240,192 14,517,176 Central Africa Algeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania 7
 Moldova 33,846 3,559,500 (Eastern Europe) Romania, Ukraine 2
 Mongolia 1,566,500 2,892,876 (none) China, Russia 2
   Nepal 147,181 26,494,504 (none) China, India 2
 Niger 1,267,000 15,306,252 Central Africa Libya, Chad, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Algeria 7
 Paraguay 406,752 6,349,000 South America Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia 3
 Rwanda 26,338 10,746,311 Central Africa Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo 4
 San Marino[d] 61 31,716 (none) Italy 1
 Serbia 88,361 7,306,677 Central Europe Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania (via Kosovo and Metohija[c]) 8
 Slovakia 49,035 5,429,763 Central Europe Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary 5
 South Ossetia[c] 3,900 72,000 (none) Georgia, Russia 2
 South Sudan 619,745 8,260,490 Central Africa Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic 6
  Switzerland 41,284 8,401,120 Central Europe France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy 5
 Tajikistan 143,100 7,349,145 Central Asia Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China 4
 Transnistria[c] 4,163 505,153 (Eastern Europe) Moldova, Ukraine 2
 Turkmenistan[a] 488,100 5,110,000 Central Asia Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran 4
 Uganda 241,038 40,322,768 Central Africa Kenya, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania 5
 Uzbekistan 449,100 32,606,007 Central Asia Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan 5
  Vatican City[d] 0.44 826 (none) Italy 1
 West Bank[b][c] 5,655 2,862,485 (none) Israel, Jordan 2
 Zambia 752,612 12,935,000 Southern Africa Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Angola 8
 Zimbabwe 390,757 12,521,000 Southern Africa South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique 4
Total 14,776,228 475,818,737
Percentage of World 11.4% 6.9%
a Has a coastline on the saltwater Caspian Sea
b Has a coastline on the saltwater Dead Sea
c Disputed region with limited international recognition
d Landlocked by just one country
e Not fully recognized

They can be grouped in contiguous groups as follows:[15]

If Transnistria is included then Moldova and Transnistria form their own cluster, listed in parentheses in the table.

If it were not for the 40 km (25 mi) of coastline at Muanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo would join the two African clusters into one, making them the biggest contiguous group in the world. Also, the Central Asian and Caucasian clusters can be considered contiguous, joined by the landlocked Caspian Sea. Mongolia is almost part of this cluster too, being separated from Kazakhstan by only 30 km (19 mi), across Russian or Chinese territory.

There are the following "single" landlocked countries (each of them borders no other landlocked country):

If the Caucasian countries and Kazakhstan are counted as part of Europe, then Europe has the most landlocked countries, at 20. If these transcontinental countries are included in Asia, then Africa has the most, at 16. Depending on the status of the three transcontinental countries, Asia has between 9 and 15, while South America has only 2. North America and Australia are the only continents with no landlocked countries (not including Antarctica, which has no countries).

See also


  1. ^ Munim, Ziaul Haque; Haralambides, Hercules (2018). "Competition and cooperation for intermodal container transhipment: A network optimization approach". Research in Transportation Business & Management. 26: 87–99. doi:10.1016/j.rtbm.2018.03.004.
  2. ^ Paudel, R. C. (2012). "Landlockedness and Economic Growth: New Evidence". Growth and Export Performance of Developing Countries: Is Landlockedness Destiny? (PDF). Canberra, Australia: Australian National University. pp. 13–72.
  3. ^ Faye, M. L.; McArthur, J. W.; Sachs, J. D.; Snow, T. (2004). "The Challenges Facing Landlocked Developing Countries". Journal of Human Development. 5 (1): 31–68 [pp. 31–32]. doi:10.1080/14649880310001660201.
  4. ^ Collier, Paul (2007). The Bottom Billion. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 56, 57. ISBN 978-0-19-537338-7.
  5. ^ Moseley, W. G.; Carney, J.; Becker, L. (2010). "Neoliberal Policy, Rural Livelihoods and Urban Food Security in West Africa: A Comparative Study of The Gambia, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 107 (13): 5774–5779. Bibcode:2010PNAS..107.5774M. doi:10.1073/pnas.0905717107. PMC 2851933.
  6. ^ Moseley, W. G. (2011). "Lessons from the 2008 Global Food Crisis: Agro-Food Dynamics in Mali". Development in Practice. 21 (4–5): 604–612.
  7. ^ United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) (2010). Review of Maritime Transport, 2010 (PDF). New York and Geneva: United Nations. p. 160. ISBN 978-92-1-112810-9.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Danube River Basin". International Waterway Governance. Retrieved June 30, 2018.)
  9. ^ Chopra, P. N.; Puri, B. N.; Das, M. N. A Comprehensive History of India. 3. p. 298.
  10. ^ UN Report Archived 2011-09-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Dempsey Morais, Caitlin. "Landlocked Countries". Geolounge. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  12. ^ "Landlocked Countries". Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "IGU regional conference on environment and quality of life in central Europe". GeoJournal. 28 (4). 1992. doi:10.1007/BF00273120.
  14. ^ CIA World Factbook Uzbekistan
  15. ^ MacKellar, Landis; Wörgötter, Andreas; Wörz, Julia. "Economic Development Problems of Landlocked Countries" (PDF). Wien Institute for Advanced Studies. p. 12.
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