Island Nations

Island nations are very interesting, as they can show what it’s like to have no borders, and are basically the exact reverse of landlocked nations. So, what are some of the perks and the downsides of being entirely surrounded by the sea? First, what is an island nation? It may seem obvious— it’s an island that’s its own nation— and while that’s true for some countries, most scenarios have multiple islands per country, and even multiple countries per island.

Hispaniola is a great example of the latter, as Haiti and the Dominican Republic share a border with each-other, but no other nations. another is Britain and Ireland, through UK-controlled Northern Ireland. Japan’s a great example of the reverse; as it has four main islands— Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu which means that it’s technically an archipelago nation, but island nation is used more often, because it’s simpler and you probably can’t spell archipelago (let’s be honest), however, the only border it really shares is a maritime border with Russia.

What about an example of both of these scenarios at once? The perfect example of this is Indonesia. Indonesia has between 13000-17000. Plus, it also borders 3 nations— Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and East Timor. However, every single part of Indonesia is on an island, including the capital, Jakarta; which definitely makes Indonesia an island nation.

So, what about nations who have territory on a continent?

Well, most of Equatorial Guinea is in central-western Africa, but its capital, Molobo, is actually on an island, it’s actually on Bioko island, just west of the mainland, like if France’s capital were on Corsica, but that does NOT make it an island nation, mainly because people don’t generally know about the two islands EQ holds (assuming they actually know about EQ to begin with).

But of nations where only a small bit of their territory is actually on the mainland, that’s a bit harder to answer, especially considering the fact that there aren’t really any modern examples, though it’s probably safe to say that a nation with most of its land off the continent could be considered an island nation (don’t quote me on this, though).

What gets really interesting is when you get to Borneo, where there are 3 nations: Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. According to Wikipedia’s list of island nations, Malaysia is not an island nation, which makes sense, as about half of its land (including the capital, Kuala Lumpur) is located on the Malay peninsula.

However, Brunei is considered an island nation, as— despite Malaysia being its only neighbor—it is still entirely on Borneo (something we discussed earlier).

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