Territorial boundaries imposed by colonial powers or peace conferences are often less harmonious than borders allowed to evolve between quarrelsome neighbors. Colonizers eager to get on with exploitation typically tie their delineations to astronomy, geometry, or physical geography, each a name brand of scientific objectivity, while peacemakers anxious to return to lucrative trading prefer lines of separation based on ethnicity, language, race, or religion, all widely assumed to confer geopolitical stability. This combination of convenience and naïveté accounts for artificial borders with notoriously tragic outcomes in Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East. As this essay shows, the seductiveness of artificial boundaries stems from the simplicity of cartographic illustration and a naive faith in drawing a boundary now and sorting out its details later.
|Number of pages||9|
|State||Published - Feb 1 2010|
- Cartographic illustration
- Geopolitical stability
- Territorial boundaries
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)