Discover more from Map Nerd
Countries That Share: Condominiums 🧐
Rare, but it does happen: Pheasant Island, Lake Constance, Moselle, Gulf of Fonseca, Abyei (🧐Map Facts Series)
Hi! If you’re new here, this is Map Nerd. We explore amazing places and cool things on the world map, usually with a video story + quick digestible info. If you enjoy it, subscribe and you can explore with us!
Countries That Share
Sharing is hard. It’s hard to share toys with your sibling, it’s hard to share a cubicle with a loud talker (I know bc I was that guy)…
Its just as hard for countries to share territory too. But, amazingly, it does happen, and a few countries are sharing places right now. They’re called condominiums. No, not the place you own by the beach, but not totally different… territorial condominiums are places that have internationally recognized shared ownership by more than one country. Which means these places are officially part of more than one country at the same time. (by officially, i mean recognized by majority of the world – it definitely doesn’t mean everyone agrees with it)…
Territorial Condominiums are very rare for obvious reasons, and are constantly being debated and changed… but here’s the big ones as of today:
Pheasant Island is a 600ft long island on a river that separates France and Spain. It’s where the kings of France and Spain met to end their 30-year war in the 17th century, and where royalty would hand off their princesses to marry kings from the other side. It’s been part of both countries since the 1659 and officially they trade control of it every 6 months.
Germany and Luxembourg share the rivers that split them (for most of it, it’s the Moselle River. Usually borders in rivers are cut down the middle, but here, they share the water, including its bridges. If you stand on any of those bridges, you’re technically in both places at once!
Lake Constance sits between Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. Austria believes it should be shared, Switzerland doesn’t, but Germany’s stance is officially “ambiguous” so its been treated as a condominium by default for now.
El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua meet at the Gulf of Fonseca. All 3 countries have a long history of fighting over the critical natural harbor. They settled in international court in 92 to share it as a condominium… and so far so good…?
Abyei is a hotly contested area between Sudan and South Sudan. As of now, it’s considered simultaneously a part of both countries and specially administered. For half the year, It’s majority of people consider themselves part of the south, but for the other half of the year, they’re outnumbered by the traditional migration of nomadic groups that consider themselves part of the north… add to that oil and this one might not last so long.
In theory, condominiums are a good solution to border disputes. In practice tho, we haven’t been much better than two toddlers trying to share a piece of candy. (did I mean to equate sovereign nations to toddlers fighting? Yes, yes I did).
Thank you for reading Map Nerd. Subscribe for free to explore more and support my work.