Here are the world’s landlocked countries, and what it’s like to live with no coastline.

How often do you go to the beach? For us here at the Factionary, not at all. This isn’t because we don’t like to swim, or can’t afford a beach party; we’re too far away from the shores of Ghana. However, you might have ever been to the beach, and it doesn’t matter where on Earth you are, you’re pretty much “landlocked.” What that means is that, you’re completely surrounded by land, and that seems obvious. So, if you often miss beach parties because of this, well… there are several countries in the world without even a coastline. No beach parties, ever.



What’s A Landlocked Country?

A landlocked country is any sovereign territorial state that has no border access to the open ocean. Simply put it, a country that has no beach. Period! A country is said to be landlocked only if it has no access to the sea, but in certain cases, some countries share open access to lakes, and awkwardly but still arguable, landlocked seas. For instance, a country like Uganda in Central Africa, has open access to Lake Victoria, which pretty much gives the country a sort of coastline, but it isn’t. Can we call it a “lakeline”? How weird.

Another is Kazakhstan which shares border access with countries like Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and also, the landlocked Caspian Sea. As a matter of fact, this is the largest landlocked country, and the 9th largest in the world — a surface area of 2,724,900 square kilometers (1,052,100 square miles). Countries like Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Zambia also share open access to either lakes, inland seas, or some weird form of waterbody, hence it’s semi-landlocked in a way. Still weird?



Countries With No Coastline

Currently, there are 195 countries in the world. Its obvious to wonder how many landlocked countries there are, too. Here’s the list of all landlocked countries in the world on their respective continents.

Image: Reddit

Africa: There are 55 countries in Africa, and out of that there are 16 landlocked countries. These are Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Asia: There are 48 countries in Asia, out of that there are 12 landlocked countries. These are Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Laos, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Despite the fact that some of these countries in Western Asia border the aforementioned Caspian Sea, however, it doesn’t make them sea-bound.

Europe: There are 44 countries in Europe, out of that there are 14 landlocked countries. These are Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, New Macedonia, Moldova, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Vatican City. There are even double landlocked countries in Europe, like seriously. These are countries that are completely surrounded only by other landlocked countries. Double trouble! What this means is that, there are two more border to be crossed to get coastal access.

America: The Americas have two continents, and to the North, there aren’t any. But to the South, there are only two landlocked countries. These are Bolivia and Paraguay. However, if the United States had not been a sovereign country, there would have been 16 landlocked countries, and the District of Columbia (D.C).

Here’s the catch: For a country to be considered landlocked, it must be completely enclosed by sovereign governed countries, or only has coastal access to a closed sea. Geographically speaking, Germany fits the bill, but it’s not considered a landlocked country because it somehow has access to the North Sea and Baltic Sea on it’s northern border with Denmark. Ever been to Hamburg harbor?

Fun fact: Did you know that there are only three country that are landlocked by just one country?



Pros And Cons Of Being Landlocked

By now, you know one disadvantage of being a citizen of a landlocked country. No beach parties. And there are several other that makes it difficult for such a country to thrive economically on a global level — although there are some advantages, however. Here are a few pros and cons of being landlocked.

Image: Reddit | artist concept of what if the landlocked countries had a coastline

Pro: Landlocked countries are territorially huge in size, if they missed the sea, they got more of the land. This gives them more inland resources.

Con: Landlocked countries countries don’t get access to maritime trade and commerce, a crucial component of socioeconomic development.

Pro: Landlocked countries dominate in terms of land resources — talk of timber, oil, minerals, and fertile land for agriculture.

Con: Landlocked countries have no naval access, therefore limiting the nation’s defense system.

Pro: Landlocked countries are free from natural disasters like typhoons, hurricanes, and tsunamis.

Con: Landlocked countries don’t get readily access sea resources like fishing, and there are no offshore activities. No surfing, too.

Let us know if you’re from a landlocked country.


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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Fri, Dec 03, 2021.

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