Enclaves and Exclaves

What is a country? or better yet, How does a country come into existence?

In the past, people of the same culture or same religion used to stay together in groups. And that was how regions under same cultural background formed their own kingdoms which later became the countries which we now know.

Imagine this scenario: During the time of separation of two countries A and B, a village X with people culturally aligned to the people of country B happens to fall under the area of country A. Now the people of the village X are not willing to join country A and also country B doesn’t want to lose out extra citizens. After a lot of diplomatic meetings, both the countries come to a truce and the village X becomes an area of country B enclosed by area of country A and separated from country B.

Hence the village X is an enclave of country B in Country A.

Interesting!! Ain’t it?

Here’s the proper definition of the term with real-world examples.


Enclave is a territory or a part of a territory of a state that is entirely surrounded by a territory or a part of a territory of another state.



An exclave is a portion of a state or territory geographically separated from the main part by surrounding alien territory (of one or more states).


Many exclaves are also enclaves. Unlike an enclave, an exclave can be surrounded by several states. Islands are not considered to be any type of Enclave or Exclave.

Here are some of the Types of Enclaves and Exclaves:

1. Semi-enclaves and semi-exclaves:

Semi-enclaves and semi-exclaves are areas that, except for possessing an unsurrounded sea border, would otherwise be enclaves or exclaves. Some examples:


  • Alaska, one of the states in the USA, separated from the US by Canada.
  • Kaliningrad Oblast is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast), a semi-exclave situated on the Baltic coast.

2. Pene-Enclave

A Pene-enclave is a part of the territory of one country that can be approached conveniently only through the territory of another country.


  • Kleinwalsertal is a valley in Austria that is only accessible from Germany in the North.

3. An enclave within Enclaves:

An enclave of one country can be completely surrounded by a part of another country that is itself an enclave of the first country. These enclaves are sometimes called counter-enclaves or Second Order Enclaves. Examples:

  • Nahwa, UAE is surrounded by Madha, Oman within the U.A.E.

4. Ethnic Enclaves: It is the area of Ethnic Group inside the area of another ethnic group.

Let us Understand everything with the below example:

An example of Enclaves and Exclaves

An example of Enclaves and ExclavesA1 is a semi-enclave (attached to C and also bounded by water that only touches C’s territorial water). Although A2 is an exclave of A, it cannot be classed as an enclave because it shares borders with B and C. The territory A3 is both an exclave of A and an enclave from the viewpoint of B. The singular territory D, although an enclave, is not an exclave whereas E is Enclave to A. A4 and A5 are Second order enclaves whereas E1 is third order enclave.


Some Cool Facts:

  • There was only one 3rd Order Enclave named as Dahala Khagrabari, it was an Indian Enclave, within Bangladesh, within India, within Bangladesh., It was ceded to Bangladesh on 1st August 2015.
  • There were as many as 198 enclaves along the Borders of India & Bangladesh prior to 1st August 2015 consisting more than 80% of Enclaves and Exclaves in the world.
  • One Exclave of Kyrgyzstan in Uzbekistan has more than 99% of people of Tajikistan.
  • Alaska is the largest Semi Enclave in the World.

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