- it is an enclave of the foreign territory which surrounds it
- it is an exclave of the country which has sovereignty over it
Exclaves may also exist on a subnational level when a subdivision exists outside of its parent division. (See the section subnational enclaves)
The word 'enclave' crept into the jargon of diplomacy rather late in English, in 1868, coming from French, the lingua franca of diplomacy, with a sense inherited from late Latin inclavatus meaning 'shut in, locked up" (with a key, late Latin clavis). The 'exclave' is a logical extension created three decades later.
Since living in an enclave can be very inconvenient and many agreements have to be found by both countries over mail addresses, power supply or passage rights, enclaves tend to be eliminated and many cases that existed before have now been solved.
Some enclaves are countries in their own rights, completely surrounded by another one, and therefore not exclaves. Three such sovereign countries exist:
- The republic of San Marino, enclaved within Italy
- Vatican City, within the city of Rome, in Italy
- The Kingdom of Lesotho, embedded inside South Africa
Some countries may be enclaved inside another one, except for a small coastal section which allows them to have access to open waters. However, this access is more of a corridor.
- The most typical country of this kind is The Gambia, prevented only by a 50 km shore strip on the Atlantic Ocean from being an enclave of Senegal.
- The Sultanate of Brunei, within Malaysia.
- The independent city of Monaco within France.
Some territories cannot be reached from the country they belong to except by international waters. These are considered detached fragments of their motherland rather than enclaves, since they do not meet the criterion of being enclosed on all sides by foreign territory. Some examples:
- The Spanish towns Ceuta and Melilla on the north coast of Morocco.
- The British colony of Gibraltar, on the south coast of Spain.
- Oecussi-Ambeno, a fragment of East Timor geographically within the Indonesian part of Timor, but accessible from the sea.
- Cabinda, a territory north of its main land of Angola, locked between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Congo.
- The Russian territory of Kaliningrad, between Poland and Lithuania, which, before World War II, was the German city of Königsberg, capital of East Prussia, itself an exclave after World War I.
Many countries have coastal fragments that can't be directly accessed from the main land except by boat or aeroplane. An extreme example of this is Alaska, detached from the Lower 48 of the United States of America by Canada, but at least two other tiny parts of the USA can't be reached by foot except by entering Canada: Point Roberts in north-western Washington, and the Northwest Angle, a peninsula bordering Lake of the Woods in Minnesota. The far south coast of Croatia, part of the Dubrovnik-Neretva county, is separated from its mainland by a tiny corridor in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Here, we consider those territories where a country is sovereign, but cannot be reached without entering another country. The best-known example was West Berlin, prior to the re-unification of Germany, which was de facto a West German exclave within East Germany, and thus an East German enclave (many small West Berlin land areas were in turn separated from the main one, some by only a few meters). De jure all of Berlin was ruled by the four Allied powers; this meant that West Berlin could not send voting members into the German Parliament, and that its citizens were exempt from conscription.
From the numerous enclaves that used to exist in Europe, only the following ones now remain:
- The town of Baarle in southern Netherlands is made up of the municipality of Baarle-Hertog, a group of 22 Belgian enclaves within the Netherlands; and of the Dutch municipality of Baarle-Nassau, which itself has 3 enclaves in Belgian soil and a small one inside one the Belgian enclaves.
- Büsingen, Germany is an exclave in the canton of Schaffhausen, northern Switzerland. Germany also has a group of 5 enclaves created by a railway track between the towns of Rötgen and Monschau (south of Aachen) that was granted Belgian sovereignty.
- The town of Campione, in Italy, is enclaved in the canton of Ticino, Switzerland, although in practice it is administered as part of Switzerland. It is part of Swiss customs, uses the Swiss Franc, and its inhabitants don't have to pay any income tax to Italy, but it is under Italian sovereignty.
- The Spanish town of Llivia, an exclave in southern France, a few kilometers east of the Principalty of Andorra.
- In the eastern part of Belarus, the Russian exclave of San'kovo-Medvezh'e is made up of two villages.
- The highway which crosses the town of Palanca in eastern Moldova has recently been exchanged to Ukraine for an area of the same size, creating an enclave.
- The villages of Ormidhia and Xylotimbou in Cyprus, surrounded by the British Sovereign Base Area of Dhekelia. Inside this base, the Dhekalia Power Station also belongs to Cyprus although it's surrounded by British land and is even divided in two by a British road.
- In Armenia, there exist three exclaves of Azerbaijan. Two of them are villages in north-eastern Armenia. The other one is located north of the region of Nakhchivan (which is a detached fragment of Azerbaijan stuck between Armenia, Iran and Turkey).
- Reciprocally, there exists one Armenian exclave, a village in north-western Azerbaijan.
Outside Europe, enclaves are to be found in Asia :
- Madha is an Omani territory enclaved in the United Arab Emirates which in turn hosts the tiny territory of Nahwa, an UAE enclave within Madha.
- In the Indian district of Cooch-Behar , there are 92 exclaves of Bangladesh. Similarly, there are 106 exclaves of India inside Bangladesh. 21 of the Bangladeshi exclaves are embodied in Indian exclaves. 3 of the Indian exclaves are embodied in Bangladeshi exclaves. The largest Indian exclave, Balapara Khagrabari , embodies one Bangladeshi exclave, Upanchowki Bhajni , which itself embodies an Indian exclave called Dahala Khagrabari .
- The Fergana Valley, a region where Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan meet, has a large number of enclaves. Barak, a small Kyrgyz village is surrounded by Uzbekistan. The Tajik village of Sarvan is in Uzbek territory and the Tajik village of Vorukh and a small piece of land near Kairagach are embodied in Kyrgyz land. The Uzbek towns of Sokh and Shakhimardan and the two tiny Uzbek territories of Qalacha and Khalmion , north of Sokh are all surrounded by Kyrgyz territory.
Two set of islands, surrounded by the territorial waters of another country, can be found elsewhere :
- The Malawian islands of Chizumulu Island and Likoma Island are located within Mozambiquean territorial waters in Lake Nyasa.
- The Argentine island of Isla Martin Garcia is surrounded by Uruguayan territorial waters of the Rio de la Plata mouth.
The life in such areas varies a lot from one enclave to another. Whereas in modern times European enclaves are usually legally well-defined and their population is often free to move from one country to another, Asian enclaves often result from disagreement over border treaties. This causes their inhabitants to be at worst enclosed inside, at best seriously impaired in their usual life.
Some territories, while not geographically detached from their motherland, are more easily reached by entering a foreign country, because of their location in a hilly area, or because the only road available enters that foreign place before coming back to the mother country. Those territories may be called "practical enclaves" and can be found along many borders, particularly those that are not heavily defended. Here are some examples:
- The Austrian municipality of Jungholz is surrounded by German territory virtually everywhere, except at one point: the top of a mountain.
- The Kleines Walsertal , a valley part of Vorarlberg, Austria, can be reached by road from Oberstdorf , Bavaria, only.
- The Swiss village of Samnaun could initially only be reached by road from Austria. Thus in 1892 the village was excluded from the Swiss customs territory. The exemption was maintained even when in 1907-1912 a road was built to the Engadine valley.
- For similar reasons the Italian Livigno valley near the Swiss border is excluded from EU VAT area.
- Some villages in eastern Estonia can only be reached by a road which ventures inside Russian territory. One can drive on the road without any visa, but it is forbidden to stop before coming back to Estonia.
Sometimes, administrative divisions of a country, due to historical or practical reasons, caused some areas to belong to a division while being attached to another one. There are countless examples; here are some:
- In Australia, the Australian Capital Territory is an enclave of New South Wales. The ACT also administers the separate coastal enclave of Jervis Bay on the New South Wales south coast. The Australian constitution (written before the founding of the ACT) specified that the site for the national capital should be wholly within New South Wales.
- In Austria, Vienna is an enclave of Lower Austria. Interestingly Vienna was also Lower Austria's capital until 1986.
- In Belgium, the Brussels-Capital Region is an enclave of Flanders. Strangely enough, it is also Flanders' capital.
- In China, Xianghe County, Sanhe City and Dachang Hui Autonomous County of Hebei province make up an exclave lodged between the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin.
- In Colombia, Bogotá is an enclave of Cundinamarca, although it is also Cundinamarca's capital.
- In France, the département of Vaucluse has a rather large exclave around the city of Valréas inside Drôme. Valréas used to be part of the possessions of the Pope in France near Avignon and were all attached to Vaucluse when annexed after the divisions were created.
- In Germany, Bremerhaven is an exclave of the state of Bremen.
- In India;
- Dadra, exclave of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, a Union Territory is a true enclave of the state of Gujarat
- Daman is another union territory which is a coastal enclave of the state of Gujarat.
- Pondicherry is a Union Territory which is composed of Pondicherry City and Karaikal (coastal enclaves of Tamil Nadu), Yanam (coastal enclave of Andhra Pradesh) and Mahe (coastal enclave of Kerala).
- In Italy, the Comune di San Colombano, named after the Irish missionary Saint Columbanus is an enclave of the province of Milano between the provinces of Lodi and Pavia.
- In Japan, Kitayama Village and Kumanogawa Town Enclave of Wakayama prefecture are located in the border between Mie and Nara prefectures.
- In Malaysia, the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya are enclaves of the state of Selangor.
- In Spain, the Condado de Treviño is an enclave of the Basque province of Álava and administratively part of the province of Burgos in Castile-Leon. Also, Valencia has an exclave, Rincón de Ademuz between the provinces of Teruel in Aragon and Cuenca in Castile-La Mancha.
- In Switzerland, the two cantons of Appenzell are enclaved in the Canton of St. Gallen. The canton of Fribourg also has pieces within the neighboring canton of Vaud.
- In Bosnia and Herzegovina the two enclaves,Orašje and Odžak are part of Federation enclaved between Republika Srpska and Croatia and divided from Federation by small strip of land called Posavski koridor that belongs to Republic of Srpska.During the war in Bosnia there were also several enclaves controled by Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and were surrounded by Army of Republika Srpska.The most famous was Sarajevo.Except Sarajevo other enclaves were Goražde, Srebrenica, Maglaj, Bihać and Orašje(but it was connected with Croatian territory).
- In the United States of America:
- The town of Carter Lake, Iowa, originally east of the Missouri River, became attached to Nebraska in 1877 when flooding caused the river to form an oxbow to the east of the town. A lengthy court case ensued; the Supreme Court of the United States held that the sudden change in the river's course did not change the original boundary, and Carter Lake was still part of Iowa. (Nebraska v. Iowa, 143 U.S. 359 (1892)). The Court delayed a final decree to allow Nebraska and Iowa to reach an agreement consistent with its holding, which they did. (145 U.S. 519 (1892)).
- Humarock Island , legally part of Scituate, Massachusetts, was separated from the rest of the town in the Blizzard of 1898 , in which the mouth of the North River shifted. The island is only accessible via a bridge which connects it to Marshfield, Massachusetts.
- The westernmost part of Fulton County, Kentucky is a piece of land known as the Madrid Bend , located inside a loop of the Mississippi River, detached from its mother state. Crossing the river in any direction from the Madrid Bend would bring a traveler to Missouri; the only road in the area goes to the south, into Tennessee.
- The construction in 1895 of the Harlem River Ship Canal isolated Marble Hill, a small portion of the northern tip of Manhattan (New York County). Initially an island, it was later physically connected to the Bronx by the filling of Spuyten Duyvil Creek. It remains politically part of Manhattan, to which it is connected by the Broadway Bridge.
- Riker's Island, the jail complex of the City of New York, is considered to be in the borough of The Bronx, but is only accessible via the Riker's Island Bridge, which terminates in the Borough of Queens.
- The state of Virginia has several county seats that are enclaved in the counties that they serve, but are not part of the counties, plus some other cities enclaved within counties. This situation exists because under Virginia law, all municipalities that are incorporated as cities are legally independent of any county.
- During the American Civil War, Winn Parish, Louisiana refused to seceed from the Union, rendering it an enclave in Confederate Louisiana.
- In addition, the lands within numerous Indian reservations have been fragmented, with privately owned real estate intermixed with tribal, city, county, state, and federal authorities in a bewildering array of jurisdictional geographies.
Ethnic enclaves are communities of an ethnic group inside an area where another ethnic group predominates. Jewish ghettos and shtetls, barrios and Chinatowns are examples. These areas may have a separate language, culture and economic system. There is also a Hungarian ethnic enclave in Transylvania in Romania. Historically, there also was a Jewish settlement within Kaifeng, China with outside reports dating back to the 12th century. However, after World War II, the culture was determined to be almost entirely assimilated. Native American reservations in the United States enjoy limited national sovereignty, and are generally located completely within the confines of a U.S. state.
- List of countries that only border one other country
- List of named ethnic enclaves in North American cities
- Historical enclaves
- Enclaves of the world
- Jan S. Krogh's Geosite