2 Political Geography There are 196* countries in the world today. Countries have independent governments, territory, and borders.The area that a government controls creates a political region.Governments can only create and enforce laws within their borders.Political maps are designed to show boundaries separating different countries – these are known as borders.
3 Borders Every nation has fixed borders Several factors can determine borders…Physical featuresHistorical circumstancesPolitical agreementsThere are 3 types of geographic boundaries:Natural – based on physical featuresCultural/Political – based on cultural/political traitsGeometric – based on regular, geometric patterns
4 Natural BordersConform to physiographic features in the landscape such as rivers and mountain rangesExamples:Rio Grande between Texas & MexicoPyrenees Mts. between Spain & FranceGreat Lakes between U.S. & CanadaLake Chad in Africa
8 Geometric Borders Can be straight line or curved boundaries Totally unrelated to any aspects of the cultural or physical landscapeMay follow lines of latitude/longitudeExamples:North African nationsU.S. & Canada west of the Great LakesWestern states of the U.S.North Korea…sort of
10 Shifting BordersBorders have changed and will continue to change over time.Some countries may lack natural, defensible borders and may be more susceptible to change
11 Shifting Borders - Poland Lacking defensible borders the country of Poland has expanded and contracted throughout history
12 Shifting Borders – Israel & Palestine United Nations voted in favor of creating a new Jewish state.Israel declares independence and Arab states immediately declare war on Israel.Israeli – Palestinian conflict continues until this day
16 Levels of Government Each country has levels of government, such as: CitiesCountiesStates (provinces)National (federal)A sovereign government is one that is not subject to any higher authority.Our national (federal) government is our highest level of government.“Supremacy clause” in the U.S. Constitution states that when state and federal laws conflict, federal law takes precedence.
17 International Relations Nations compete and even conflict with each other in order to protect themselves and seek greater security.Nations often form trade agreements amongst each other and even form alliances in the event of international conflict.
18 “Balance of Power”Refers to the idea that if one country becomes too strong other weaker countries will band together against it.Purpose of this “balance” is to prevent any single nation from becoming so powerful that it forces its will upon other nations.Ex. Cold War
19 Major World PowersMajor powers exercise international influence because they possess one or more of the following characteristics:Powerful MilitaryLarge PopulationDynamic EconomyFour countries are considered major powers todayUnited StatesChinaRussiaJapan
20 United States The United States is a major power because it has: Large land area and abundant natural resourcesHigh standards of livingEducated populationPowerful militaryLargest economyLarge arsenal of nuclear weapons
21 China China is a major power because it has the following: Downfalls: Largest populationLargest armyFastest growing economyDownfalls:Low standards of livingInferior technology
22 Russia Russia is a major power because it has the following: Large and advanced militarySecond largest arsenal of nuclear weaponsDownfalls:Economic challenges
23 Japan Japan is a major power because it has the following: Downfalls: High educationHigh inventivenessPowerful economyDownfalls:Smaller populationNo nuclear weapons
24 United Nations (UN)The United Nations is an organization of all sovereign nations in the world.Founded after WWIIPurpose is to promote peace, prevent war, and encourage development throughout the world.Headquartered in New York City193 members, non-members are: Kosovo, Taiwan, Vatican City
25 United Nations (UN) All members are part of the General Assembly 5 nations are permanent members of the Security CouncilUSAChinaRussiaFranceUnited Kingdom10 non-permanent members are elected every 2 years
27 European Union (EU)Is an economic and political association of European countries.Promotes free trade and free movement of people within member countriesUses the Euro as an international currency*Citizens elect representatives to the European Parliament headquartered in Strasbourg, France