What is a Superimposed Boundary?

What defines a Geographical Boundary? How is it related to Superimposed Boundaries? Where is the Superimposed Boundary between India and Pakistan? What is the largest Unprotected Border in the World?
what is a superimposed boundary
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You are a progeny of cultures, empires, and boundaries that were built long ago. When a country imposes and restricts the common cultural background of another country, the boundary becomes superimposed. But this kind of boundary can be different from a geographical boundary. You can see many geopolitical issues in your day-to-day life. Many of them refer to superimposed boundary examples. If you want to know more about other boundaries like the political and social ones, you can read more about antecedent boundary and consequent boundary here.

1. What are International Boundaries?

what is a superimposed boundary 2
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The boundaries on land are extended to include the places outside a particular country which then becomes conflicts and clashes between people in different countries. The formation of such boundaries is termed boundary delimitation or boundary demarcation. The reason for international boundaries can be related to security and safety on a primary level. On the other hand, these boundaries can be a result of historical differences or communal clashes, religious differences, or racial or other differences. For example, the 8891 kilometers long boundary between US and Canada is considered the longest international boundary in the world. (See What is the Importance of Geography?)

2. What are the Types of International Boundaries?

There are many types of international boundaries. The most important among them are

  • Superimposed boundary
  • Antecedent boundary
  • Consequent boundary
  • Relic boundary
  • Subsequent boundary. (See What Country am I in?)

3. List Antecedent Boundary example

The boundary separated by water bodies or landforms like volcanoes that existed in the ancient period is termed an antecedent boundary. An important example comes from the South American mountain range, the Andes. The mountain can be separated into peaks and plateaus. It becomes an antecedent boundary between Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia in the Caribbean. The mountain range is divided into the Cordillera Oriental and the Cordillera Occidental. The Cordillera Oriental is the eastern part that joins Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, and Peru in its path. Other important examples can be listed as follows.

4. List Consequent Boundary example

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The boundary formed from the consequences of cultural divisions based on religion, class, or ethnicity is termed the consequent boundary. In this case, the boundaries didn’t exist in the beginning but it is created by the conflict or division. A famous example would be the division of Bangladesh from India and Pakistan. In the early 20th century, the state of Bengal raised rebellious remarks against each other for their ethnic differences. The Urdu-speaking people and the Bengali-speaking population were divided. Due to religious differences, a part of Bengal was considered West Pakistan as the majority of the Muslim population lived there. Later, In 1972, Bangladesh became an independent territory as a consequence of these divisions. 

Other examples of this type of boundary include

5. What is a Superimposed Boundary? What is the best Geographic definition of Superimposed Boundary?

Nobody likes imposing things upon them. A boundary that is imposed and forced on the people of a country or a place without their consent is termed a superimposed boundary. A famous example is the colonized territory of Africa during the 19th century. The British rule imposed boundaries in Africa after the Berlin Conference of 1884. This way, the cultural, economic, and political environment in various territories of Africa was disturbed. The racial dominance of Europeans over the African people was the main reason for the creation of such a superimposed boundary. (See What is the Imaginary Line that Runs from the Geographic North To South Pole?)

6. Give Superimposed Boundary examples

There are different types of superimposed boundary examples where lands are contained and controlled.

  • The green line separating Israel and the Palestinian territories becomes a significant border that was formed in 1949. This happened when the Arab-Israeli war came to an end when the armistice agreement was signed between the 2 territories. However, the contestation across this superimposed boundary is common even today. The area around the Golan Heights is always threatened by the Israeli armed forces trying to occupy Palestinian land.
  • The Berlin Wall in Germany is a border that detects clashes in social structures. The eastern part of Berlin and the western part of Berlin are divided due to the communist and capitalist systems. The wall is a reminder of the divisions imposed upon people during 1961-1989. In 1989, the wall was broken and people from both sides reunited. (See What are the Seven wonders of the World?)
  • The Durand Line lies between Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is a long border constructed by Sir Mortimer Durand to separate the two countries. However, the Afghan government argues that this is the territory of Afghanistan. Border disputes are still going on in these places.
  • The Sykes-Picot Agreement that divides the Middle East countries like Iraq and Syria is considered a major one among superimposed boundary examples. Interestingly, the British and French governments created this agreement during world war I. This agreement is known for its unfair influence on the people of middle east countries. 

7. What type of Boundary is the US and Canada?

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The border between the US and Canada is separated by the 49th parallel. This line is about 5525 miles long. In the 18th century, the US demanded the territory of Canada from the British administration. The long history of clashes and disturbances among the territories of the US and Canada came to an end in 1908 when a treaty was signed between the two countries. Today both the countries have a brotherhood that makes them harmonious territories to live in. This boundary is termed an antecedent boundary since it was created before the boundaries came to exist and the countries are not grounded on superimposed boundaries. Also, check out How Big is Israel Compared to a US State?

8. Describe Three Political or Cultural consequences of Superimposed Boundaries of Africa

The territorial division of a country like Africa created social and political issues. The three major consequences of superimposed boundaries of Africa are

  • The ethnicity of the regions was diffused to accept the English language and its tradition. The multiethnic tribal groups were displaced by this sudden change in the cultural definitions. The tradition of different communities was closely related to their ethnic commonalities and multiplicity. But the arrival of the superimposed territories divided everyone and everything.
  • Conflicts among the different groups increased. The internal struggle among the communities based on religion and class increased and even created political factions that debated these issues.
  • The international disputes with other countries became more and more prominent. The interaction between different communities became less and it resulted in less coordination across territories. This increased the infiltration of other countries into the border regions of Africa. (See How many States are Along the East and West Coasts?)

9. What is Superimposed Boundary in India?

The violent memories of Partition in India are a widely recognized fact. Colonial powers came to Indian territory and propagated their culture in the territory. As a result, the boundary between India and Pakistan became a direct and indirect consequence of these differences. The religious differences in the two regions resulted in the creation of new posts in the military for minority groups like Muslims. This created communal clashes and social divisions in the two territories. The British administration evoked cultural boundaries by further dividing the territories using a map.

This line became the Radcliffe line that binds and separates the people of both territories. In this way, this is a superimposed territory that corresponds to a boundary made by a foreigner without the real consent of the natives. (See What is the Smallest City in the World?)

10. Is the Border between India and Pakistan Superimposed?

India-Pak Border : what is a superimposed boundary 1
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Yes, the border between India and Pakistan is a superimposed boundary. This is because of the foreign influence in the division of India and Pakistan. The Indian territory was communally divided during the reign of the British empire in the country. The territory became unsafe for communion and brotherly relations between the two communities. This created the partition of India and Pakistan in which a new country was formed. But the people of India had to suffer the consequences of this political decision. Citizens became migrants who had to leave their respective territories without their consent. (See What were the Causes and Effects of the War of 1812?)

11. Where is the superimposed boundary between India and Pakistan?

The Radcliffe line is the territorial boundary that separated the Indian and Pakistani survivors in 1947. On 17 August 1947, the two countries were separated by the drawn line by Sir Cyril Radcliffe on the map of India. The eastern side of the line extends to Jammu and Kashmir with the western side extending towards the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat of 3323 kilometers. Also, check out What are Geologic Features?

12. What is the Straightest Border in the World?

The borderline with the straightest boundary is the US-Canada border. The line is representative of the harmonious relationship between the US and Canada in the modern days. In the past, the line was marked by disputes for territorial acquisition. (See What is the Absolute Location of the Philippines?)

13. What is the Largest Unprotected Border in the World?

The US-Canada border running from the west coast to Lake Superior is the largest unprotected boundary in the world. This is a famous example of a relic boundary where tensions do not exist in the present times.

The existence of boundaries refers to political and social tensions across regions in the world. The historically bounded territories are prominent examples of an antecedent boundary. The superimposed boundary examples show the imposition of the boundaries upon people and separating them. The consequent boundary reflects the consequences of disputed boundaries where a new country is established. Now, which superimposed boundary appears more repressive to you? Which superimposed boundary is exploiting you these days? Give it a thought. (Also read What is the Smallest Island in the World?)

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