Enclave and exclave

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"Enclave" redirects here. For other uses, see Enclave (disambiguation).
Explicative diagram of territorial discontinuities: Enclaves and exclaves
Different territories (countries, states, counties, municipalities, etc.) 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).
  • A (red):
    • possesses 3 exclaves (A1, A2 and A3): it is impossible to go from the main part A to any of these parts going only through territory of A; however:
      • A1 and A2 are not enclaves: neither of them is surrounded by a "foreign" territory;
      • A3 is an enclave: it is totally surrounded by B;
    • contains 1 enclave (E): "foreign" territory totally surrounded by territory of A;
    • possesses 2 counter-enclaves, or second-order enclaves (A4 and A5): territories belonging to A which are encroached inside the enclave E;
    • contains 1 counter-counter-enclave, or third-order enclave (E1).
  • B (yellow):
    • contains 2 enclaves (A3 and D).
  • C (green):
    • continuous territory.
  • D (orange):
    • is an enclaved territory: it is territorially continuous, but its territory is totally surrounded by a single "foreign" territory (B).
  • E (purple):
    • is an enclaved territory: it is encroached inside A;
    • contains 2 enclaves (A4 and A5), which are counter-enclaves of A;
    • possesses 1 counter-enclave (E1), which is a counter-counter-enclave as viewed by A and contained within A5.
In topological terms, A and E are considered non-connected surfaces, and B, C and D are considered connected surfaces. However, C and D are also considered simply connected surfaces, while B is not (it has genus 2, the number of "holes" in B).

An enclave is any portion of a state that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state.[1] An exclave is a portion of a state geographically separated from the main part by surrounding alien territory.[2] Many enclaves are also exclaves.

Enclave is sometimes used improperly to denote a territory that is only partly surrounded by another state.[1] When such a territory additionally borders a body of water that is not enclosed by a different state, it is termed a pene-enclave or "practical" enclave. Coastal examples include Gibraltar, Ceuta, Alaska, Kaliningrad, Musandam and Cabinda.

For illustration, in the figure (right), A1 is a pene-enclave (attached to C but also bounded by 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.

Origin and usage[edit]

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).[3] 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.[4] In law, this created a servitude[5] of passage for the benefit of the owner of the surrounded land.

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").[6] In British administrative history, subnational enclaves were usually called detachments or detached parts, and national enclaves as detached districts or detached dominions.[7] In English ecclesiastic history, subnational enclaves were known as peculiars (see also Royal Peculiar).

The word exclave, modeled on enclave,[8] is a logical extension of the concept of enclave.


Enclaves may have been created for a variety of historical, political or geographical reasons. Some areas have been left as enclaves by changes in the course of a river.

In the feudal system, 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 until the 19th century in the Holy Roman Empire, and these domains (principalities etc) came to have many of the characteristics of sovereign states.

Since living in a national enclave can be very inconvenient and many agreements have to be made by both countries about mail addresses, power supply or passage rights, enclaves tend to be eliminated and many cases that existed before have now been removed. The governments of India and Bangladesh have been pressed to resolve the complex system of enclaves along their border – persons in these enclaves have complained of being effectively stateless.[9] In 2011, India and Bangladesh signed a leasehold agreement regarding the Tin Bigha Corridor.

True enclaves[edit]

Further information: List of enclaves and exclaves

A true enclave is a territory over which a nation is sovereign, but which cannot be reached without passing through territory of the single foreign nation that surrounds it. Two examples are Büsingen, a true exclave of Germany, and Campione d'Italia, a true exclave of Italy, both surrounded by Switzerland.

A historical example was West Berlin before the reunification of Germany, which was a de facto West German exclave, being enclaved by East Germany. (Also, 12 small exclaves of West Berlin, such as Steinstücken, were separated from the city, some by only a few meters.) 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.

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 enclaves in Africa, Australia and the Americas (each such enclave being surrounded by the territorial waters of another country).

Enclaved countries[edit]

Position of Lesotho within South Africa

Some countries in their own right, completely surrounded by another country, are said to be enclaves. They are not enclaves as such, as according to the definition, an enclave is a portion of a country, and not an entire state. Three such enclaved countries are:

The principality of Monaco is not an enclave, although it only borders France, because it also possesses a coastline and territorial waters; thus, it is not completely surrounded by another country. Similarly, The Gambia is not an enclave.

Historically, four of the Black homelands or Bantustans of South Africa were granted nominal independence, unrecognized internationally, by the Nationalist 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 USA's constitutional principle of tribal sovereignty treats federally-recognized Indian reservations as quasi-independent enclaves. The same would apply for Indian reserves in Canada and Aboriginal reserves in Australia.[dubious ]

Temporary enclaves[edit]

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.

Related constructs and terms[edit]

Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic
Kentucky Bend and surrounding area
  Missouri (MO)
  Tennessee (TN)
  Kentucky (KY)


In the figure above, A3 is both an enclave and an exclave. A2 is an exclave of A, but it is not an enclave, because it borders both B and C. The singular territory D, although an enclave, is not an exclave.

Subnational enclaves and exclaves[edit]

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

Enclaves within enclaves[edit]

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.

Ethnic enclaves[edit]

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.

"Practical" enclaves, exclaves and inaccessible districts[edit]

Pene-enclaves and pene-exclaves are regions that are not conterminous with the main land region, that are not entirely surrounded by alien land or alien territorial waters, and that have land access only through a second country. Hence, they 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). Alaska is the largest pene-exclave in the world. Because they border their own territorial waters in addition to a land border with another country, they are not true exclaves. Still, one cannot travel to them on land without going through another country.

Inaccessible districts are regions that are conterminous with the main land region but that are only easily accessible by going through a second country.

Conversely, a territory that is an exclave but does not function as one (instead functioning as an adjacent part of the main nation) is deemed a "quasi-exclave".(Robinson 1959)

Subnational "practical" enclaves, exclaves and inaccessible districts[edit]


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:

Land owned by a foreign country[edit]

Some areas of land in a country are owned by another country and in some cases it has special privileges, such as being exempt from taxes. These lands are not enclaves and do not have extraterritoriality since, in all cases, there is no transfer of sovereignty.

Examples of this include:

Land for the Captain Cook Monument was deeded outright to the British Government by independent Hawaii.

Unusual cross-border transport channels[edit]

National railway passing through another state's territory[edit]

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.

Examples include:

The Mauritania Railway. The inset shows the shorter route cutting through Western Sahara and the longer route within Mauritania through difficult terrain.

Highway of one state passing through another state's territory[edit]

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

Subnational highway passing through other internal territory[edit]

Border transport infrastructure[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Raton, Pierre (1958). "Les enclaves". Annuaire français de droit international 4. p. 186. 
  2. ^ Exclave. Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, 1989, p. 497
  3. ^ Le Grand Robert, Dictionnaire de la langue française, 2001, vol.III, p. 946.
  4. ^ Le Grand Robert, p. 946.
  5. ^ Servitude: Law. A right possessed by one person with respect to another's property, consisting either of a right to use the other's property, or a power to prevent certain uses of it. Webster's, p. 1304.
  6. ^ "Government Jobs in BSNL : 01 Jobs Opening". jobresultsnic.in. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  7. ^ As can be seen on 18th. century maps of Germany and other European countries by British cartographers and publishers such as R. Wilkinson.
  8. ^ Exclave. Webster's, p. 497.
  9. ^ "Hope for Indo-Bangladesh enclaves". NDTV. 12 September 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  10. ^ "Assembly of Turkish American Associations". Ataa.org. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  11. ^ "Map showing the existing police station limits". Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  12. ^ Instituto Geográfico do Exército: Territory of Santa Maria (Estremoz)
  13. ^ "Can thaw unstick frozen conflict?". BBC News. 2009-05-06. Retrieved 2009-08-26. 
  14. ^ "Jervis Bay Territory Governance and Administration". Although the Jervis Bay Territory is not part of the Australian Capital Territory, the laws of the ACT apply, in so far as they are applicable and, providing they are not inconsistent with an Ordinance, in the Territory by virtue of the Jervis Bay Acceptance Act 1915. The Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  15. ^ The area of ACT land on the Beecroft Peninsula is clearly shown in the New South Wales Roads Directory (Map 177, grid ref. S 2), which is published by the National Roads and Motoring Association and is based on NSW Department of Lands maps. A good online GIS map showing the Beecroft Peninsula, and those areas which are part of the ACT, can be found at the website of the City of Shoalhaven, the adjacent NSW municipality.
  16. ^ "Google Maps route out of the county from one point on the county border to the other here". 
  17. ^ Arocha, Magaly (First Consul of the General Consulate of Venezuela in Naples) (May 1999). "La Orden de Malta y su Naturaleza Jurídica (The Order of Malta and Its Legal Nature) – English translation". Retrieved October 1, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Czech leased areas in Hamburg". Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  19. ^ "Notification of the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Czech Republic". 20 August 2001. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  20. ^ Jürgen Siebeck (23 October 2002). "Is Bohemia the sea?". Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  21. ^ Zdeněk Vališ (28 April 2005). "Czech harbor in Hamburg, waiting for resurrection". Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  22. ^ "Czech leased areas in Hamburg and Stettin". Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  23. ^ "The Transport Agreement between the Czechoslovak Republic and the Polish People's Republic of 13 January 1956". Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  24. ^ "domaines français de Sainte-Hélène". Domfrance.helanta.sh. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  25. ^ "Guernesey : Hauteville House". Paris.fr. 2012-08-28. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  26. ^ "The American Battle Monuments Commission". "The site, preserved since the war by the French Committee of the Pointe du Hoc, which erected an impressive granite monument at the edge of the cliff, was transferred to American control by formal agreement between the two governments on 11 January 1979 in Paris, with Ambassador Arthur A. Hartman signing for the United States and Secretary of State for Veterans Affairs Maurice Plantier signing for France". Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Canada And Vimy Ridge – Background Information – Veterans Affairs Canada". Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  28. ^ Hickam, Homer H. (1996). Torpedo Junction: U-Boat War Off America's East Coast, 1942. Naval Institute Press. pp. 202–207. ISBN 1-55750-362-1. 
  29. ^ a b "British Cemetery at Ocracoke, North Carolina". Retrieved 2013-02-24. 
  30. ^ "Historic Ocracoke Village – A Walking Tour". Retrieved 2013-02-24. 
  31. ^ "British Cemeteries". Retrieved 2013-02-24. 
  32. ^ Horwitz, Tony. Oct. 2003, Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before, Bloomsbury, ISBN 0-7475-6455-8
  33. ^ Erickson, Lt Clayton, RCN (2012). "Captain Cook Monument at Kealakekua Cleaned and Repaired". Cook's Log 35 (4). p. 38. Retrieved 2013-02-23. 
  34. ^ "Canadian Crew Cleans Cook Monument". 30 August 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-23. 
  35. ^ Harris, Francis (22 Jul 2006). "Don't mention the murder – how Hawaii forgot Capt. Cook". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2013-02-23. 
  36. ^ Taylor, Albert P. "HOW HAWAII HONORED CAPTAIN COOK, R.N., IN 1928". p. 29. Retrieved 2013-02-23. 
  37. ^ MacFarlane, John M. (2012). "The Captain Cook Memorial at Kealakakua Bay Hawaii". Retrieved 2013-02-23. 
  38. ^ "John F. Kennedy Memorial Act". Google docs [unofficial copy]. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  39. ^ Evans, D. M. Emrys (1965). "John F. Kennedy Memorial Act, 1964". The Modern Law Review 28 (6): 703–706. JSTOR 1092388.  (free registration required to read relevant text on page 704)
  40. ^ a b Railway Gazette International April 2008 p 240
  41. ^ 2006 Road Atlas Ireland, AA, pp. 36–37
  42. ^ "Senegal may tunnel under Gambia". BBC News. 2005-09-21. 
  43. ^ a b Bessert, Christopher J. "Highways 20–29". Wisconsin Highways. Retrieved July 7, 2011. 
  44. ^ Riner, Steve. "Details of Routes 1–25". The Unofficial Minnesota Highways Page. Retrieved July 7, 2011. 
  45. ^ "Map of Douglas County, Wisconsin". Retrieved 2014-09-08. 
  46. ^ Railway Gazette: Border bridges rebuilt[dead link]
  47. ^ The log of the Water Lily, p. 84. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  48. ^ "Ihr Bahnhof Basel Bad Bf". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 


External links[edit]