Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Slate asks how much of the planet’s land is subject to disputed ownership?
At most, 300,000 square miles. There’s no official running tally of property under dispute, but it amounts to less than one-half of 1 percent of the Earth’s landmass. There are currently around 60 legitimate disputes, counting only disputes between nations over parcels of land, not separatist regions within existing countries. A couple of major disagreements in Asia account for a large portion of that area. Kashmir, for example, covers about 86,000 square miles, with India, Pakistan, and China all staking claims. The unsettled border regions between India and China—it’s not one continuous swath of land, but it’s all wrapped up in the same Sino-Indian dispute—represent about 48,000 square miles. Most of the other disputed territories are far smaller, ranging from minuscule rock islands to a few thousand square miles.