We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Exclave?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At CulturalWorld.org, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An exclave is a term used in geography to describe a country or territory that belongs to another country but is surrounded by countries to which it has no belonging or affinity. It is usually at least partially separated from the main country, state, or political region. This is often used when describing political geography, focusing on the boundaries, of each country as defined by political rule. Borders on political maps generally represent a country organized under one government, or states, counties and cities belonging to a country. Yet the borders of an exclave are not connected to the country to which it belongs.

The term exclave gets confusing when compared to the term enclave. A country that surrounds another country may consider the interior country an enclave. If the country being surrounded does not have political affinity or does not belong to another country, then it is solely an enclave. For example, Vatican City is an enclave of Rome. Vatican City has its own government, independent from Rome and Italy. It is not bound by the rules of Rome, and in many cases not by the rules of Italy.

Lesotho is another enclave example. It is an independent kingdom, landlocked and completed surrounded by South Africa. It doesn’t in any way belong to South Africa and is its own nation, recognized as such internationally.

An exclave can be an enclave. Usually the distinction of a true exclave from enclave is that the exclave has some access, like river or sea access to the country to which it belongs. Alternately, it may be connected to its ruling country by a minute border. For example, French Guiana in South America shares political affinity with France but is not physically connected to it. Surinam and Brazil, and also the Atlantic Ocean border it. This gives France a way to access it without necessarily crossing into other countries to do so.

Alaska is another example of an exclave. It is separated from the US and shares boundaries with Canada. Again it is accessible by sea with the boundaries of the Arctic and Pacific Oceans and the Bering Sea.

A country can be both an exclave and enclave. But not all are. In the case of Lesotho, for instance, the country doesn’t belong to anything but itself. It is therefore an enclave but not an exclave. Sometimes the exclave merely separates part of a country or territory. For example part of Fulton County in Kentucky is separated from the rest of Kentucky State, and extends into Tennessee.

Other parts of land can be considered practical exclaves because although they are not considered wholly separated from the land to which they politically belong, the geography of the area makes them impassible except by entering foreign territory. Parts of the Republic of Ireland can only be accessed by crossing into Northern Ireland for instance.

CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a CulturalWorld.org contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By Sporkasia — On Feb 18, 2014

Often times what keeps an exclave loyal to its parent country is protection. Throughout history, exclaves have depended on the military forces of their parent countries. In many instances, the parent countries received some economic gain from the exclaves.

For example, the exclaves might have large amounts of precious metal, fuel or some other commodity. Thus there was an exchange of protection provided by the parent country for items of wealth from the exclave.

Exclaves don't usually seek independence as long as they fear military actions from the countries surrounding them, regardless of how much they may dislike the parent country.

By Drentel — On Feb 17, 2014

Unless there are some strong political or historical ties, the people of an exclave are likely to start thinking about independence from the country it belongs to. When people are separated by other countries from their ruling country, they tend to lose that feeling of connection.

The smaller areas in the former Soviet Union were good examples of this lack of loyalty to the parent country.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a CulturalWorld.org contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
CulturalWorld.org, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

CulturalWorld.org, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.