Hello I’m Toycat and welcome back to another geography video. Today I wanted to talk about borders and continue on my series where I talk about every single border that a country does have and I wanted to do this not only because I find borders fascinating but I also think it’s a really good way to explain a country’s geopolitical position and the kind of place it has in the world in relation to its neighbors and why its neighbors might share disputes and I figured let’s bring this series to the Iberian Peninsula and talk about Spain, not only because it has some of the worlds weirdest borders The world’s most interesting borders, but also these world’s most surprising because a lot of people if you were to ask them how many, you know, borders does Spain have, they’d be like two: One with Portugal and one with France and if they know Andorra, they’d be like, oh, yeah, it borders three countries But the truth is Spain actually borders five separate countries and not in terms of like territories Spain right here has five separate international borders with five separate countries and those five, you know interesting surprising borders come with them the world’s oldest border that can be Traced back to a treaty that is still in use to this day. It’s over 700 years old They also have the world’s second oldest border that can be traced back to a treaty that is still in use to this day They have one of the world’s most surprising borders because it kind of happened by accident and it’s also the world’s shortest They have the EU’s longest internal border. They have one of the very few exclaves in Europe And finally, they have the only example of a territory switching hands between two countries every six months So let’s talk about all those weird border anomalies that happen in Spain in today’s video. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this it’s gonna be one of the weirdest ones but let’s get straight into it and let’s start by talking about the Spain-France border or The Spanish-French border the border between two pretty major European powers And I find whenever you have two huge countries next to each other You have to question why did one… You know, why did it get that way? Why did one of them not try to get into the others territory and the simple explanation here, Is that even though France and Spain share a huge border They did actually settle it a long time ago and it is a pretty easily defendable border from both sides and yeah, the border actually starts all the way here in Iran because you know It’s a pretty normal border easy to explain for most of it but the further west you get the weirder things get because the Iran border or you know with the French equivalent Town on the other side is a really really weird one because the river between the two countries is you know divided in a really strange way because most countries when they have a river divided between the two of them They have it go right the way down the middle, right? So that way half the water belongs to France half the water belongs to Spain and that’s what they do with most of this river right here until it reaches the edge of the sea where as you can see there’s a little portion that belongs exclusively to Spain All of the water all of it right up to the coast of France This is a Spanish territory right here But then all of this Bay right here belongs to France instead, you know, which is again super weird and wacky thing You know even almost cutting off the Spanish Airport and then it goes right with the work back down the middle Which means you have this weird situation where for any boat or ship to get through here they have to go through at least Spain and France once they have to cross from one country into the other and then back which is just, ya know, kind of needless But it’s a weird little fact about the French-Spanish border. It also means that the airport right here It’s a small regional airport, San-Sebastian half of the, ya know, ways of getting out of here basically, if they want to take off northbound they have to go into France for Some amount of airspace or they have to land via France So yeah, very weird Airport very weird border But it gets even weirder because the strangest example of an international border being done on a river comes with Isla de los Faisanes, basically “Pheasant Island”, it by the way, this is the weirdest border in the world, but it’s for the least interesting island Let me show you this island by the way It’s just it’s just the dullest island in the world But it is the example of the world’s weirdest border because it is one which switches hands every six months So what is the cause behind that and it’s one I had to look into cause I was Like “Really? It switches hands every six months?” and yeah Basically because of a treaty signed in the 1600’s, the Treaty of the Pyrenees The French and Spanish had to agree their proper border because it you know a lot of the border was a kind of unofficial because it took place over natural land barriers and when they officially Signed into law their official, you know long-standing border from there and out They wanted to make some grandstand about you know like how friendly and cooperative the two countries were so they took an island which was Perfectly between the two of them again. You can see right here There’s a pretty fair Spanish and a pretty fair French claim to it and they decided to sign the treaty on this island and alongside just signing the treaty here That’s a nice gesture by itself. They also decided that every six months as a gesture of friendship They would hand the island back and forth So for the first six months of the year until the 31st of June so not long left Now this border will change so that France, you know, sorry yeah… So that France owns the border because the first six months it’s owned by Spain and for the second six months of the year It’s owned by France very weird situation not found anywhere else in the world, and the reality behind it is it’s just an impractical island it’s a useless island that can’t be settled in any way because look at the territory. The area of the Island is naught point naught naught naught six Kilometers(0.0006) squared, the population is zero. It’s eroding too – it’s basically a worthless island That’s just a fun little you know Like friendship thing and because neither side allows their populations to do anything with the island outside of major events It basically is just an unsettled island that will eventually fall away But for now, it is one of the very few borders which has to be amended every six months which sucks for mapmakers But it’s kind of cool for people who like borders like me So with that said we’ll follow the border a little bit further along here because as you can see the border mostly follows this river until it hits the you know, The mountains which lead into the Pyrenees because as you might guess from the name the Treaty of the Pyrenees most of the French Spanish border takes place along the Pyrenees Mountains So you’ll see this pretty clearly when you look at the map like, oh, yeah It is pretty hilly and then pretty mountainous here and also If you look at pretty much any of the border crossings because there is a lot of crossings between france and spain you’ll still see To this day some border posts on both sides, and these are not actively used border posts But if you look right here, you can see just up ahead There is the French-Spanish, but this is actually the French customs industry They you know, they’ll levy customs on any Goods coming in and yeah Although it’s not used anymore. Because France and Spain are both from the EU It was used until very recently in 1986 If I’m not mistaken when Spain and Portugal both joined the EU together and they you know, kind of abolished, you know External borders and external tariffs, etc but for the longest time you had to Again, go through a border both times you left and because there’s a lot of border towns like this one right here Seriously, there’s a house there and then there’s a house over here. They’d be in this really interesting situation Where again you had to cross the border, but people would still be willing to do it And the reason people would still be willing to cross this border again both ways You have to go through it. Then you have to go back through it the reason this would be done is because of the fact that Spain has much cheaper goods, especially, you know, highly taxed goods such as alcohol such as you know, like Cigarettes such as any duty-free thing like that shopping even grocery shopping Which means if you look at any town Which exists half on the French side half on the Spanish side all of the commercial stuff; so a bar or restaurant Whatever; a shopping mall, a supermarket, a convenience store. All this stuff is done on the spanish side. Whereas on the french side There’s pretty much nothing. There’s a hotel and then there’s a gourmet grocery store So yeah, you can kind of see that happen, because again when you have two countries There’s kind of arbitrage that happens where most people in France can’t drive to Spain But if you live right on the border you might as well drive there and do your weekly shop and get some alcohol and import It that way. So yeah, just a fun thing about the border between France and Spain nowadays people still cross it but it’s a lot easier and It’s just one of those interesting points that like when it comes to border regions You almost need to have separate rules just to stop stuff like they’re happening but let’s move onto the other few examples of border, because again it every now and then it briefly goes back to a River before you get to the midpoint in the border between France and Spain roughly speaking in my opinion That’s how I see it at least, because when you reach Andorra you get this weird situation where the two countries split so as you can see France and Spain stop bordering each other and instead start bordering Andorra So Andorra is a micro country in Europe. It’s one that so few people know about that There’s a whole myth about a man from Andorra that got locked up in Japan(Ed. Note: The Man From Taured). Read it sometime. Until I learned Andorra was a country I was like wow for a country between France and Spain how wacky but yeah. Andorra is a real country It’s not a pretend one that you have to lie about in Japan And basically it’s a country that exists mostly because France and Spain in the same way This island is effectively just a condominium There’s an island in the same way that that’s a condominium, Andorra started as a condominium and still kind of is between France and Spain It’s an independent country, but two of the princes One of them is a Spanish or Catalan You know Prince and one of them is the current president or formerly the king of France Which means one of the princes of Andorra this little micro-country is actually Emmanuel Macron. I find that wacky But yeah, the border between these two countries, as in Spain and Andorra, is actually the oldest border in the world this was you know, this goes all the way back to the The Paréage of Andorra 1278 when they officially acknowledged for the first time in a document that this would be you know Co-territory of both France and Spain and because of that 1278 is the oldest any border was first signed, and then still exists to this day and it basically just existed because again, They were torn between Catalan people and French people and the long story short is they decided to become basically influenced by both They’re almost like a puppet state that’s willingly a puppet state and it’s a confusing situation But that’s Andorra and that is the Andorra-Spanish border the oldest border in the world Which by the way fun fact is technically an external EU border on both sides, but the reality behind it is that you know Andorra kind of acts like they’re in the EU in a few interesting ways So if we go back to the border right here, you can see how they put up a little sign like, oh, yeah We’re in the EU. Look. We’ve got the European flag right there, Andorra So yeah, there’s like official border crossing on both sides But it’s very lax, because realistically Andorra is landlocked and Andorra is very very friendly and very cooperative with both France and Spain So their ya go, fun fact about the border next up We have one of Europe’s only exclaves because right here you see the town of Llívia, which is actually entirely surrounded by France So what’s the deal with this town right here? I had to look into it because again when you see something like this You’re like well, that’s kind of weird and the story the official story Is that what happened way back… Is when France was taking a few towns of Spain to make the official agreement, they decided in the agreement that France could have all of the villages in this area to make the border straight However, after the treaty was signed They’re like well that doesn’t include Llívia Because Llíviais a vila, it’s not a village because it was the capital of the region and officially legally speaking Somehow that stood up and that means that there’s a small town right here, which is an exclave of Spain inside of France It’s a very weird situation It’s mostly fine because they use the same currency now, but during World War two This was like a serious tactic where oh, yeah, France could have just like surround it and occupied them and took it back They never did and it’s just become this friendly situation of like look you can be in Spain then you can be in France then You can be in Spain and then be in France again, isn’t that wacky? It’s also quite an interesting area because if you look around here You can see how a lot of the town names are just really weird like the town of Ur, the town of Err, The town of there’s a bunch of weird ones, Ger, Alp, Das – and my favorite one, you know place place you go Try living somewhere is Bar, you know, this sounds like a nice little Bar found right over here So yeah Basically weird town names weird border and one of the only exclaves found in europe to this day, Kaliningrad being another notable aversion as well as Croatia But yeah One of the few exclaves that exists because someone signed a treaty wrong and you bet that they’re probably in trouble for that now But yeah, that is the French Spanish border mostly covered by the Pyrenees mountain mostly covered by natural geographic features and that’s the reason why France and Spain despite being major European powers, you know nowadays France has a slightly higher balance of power But Spain obviously in some ways has its own powers, but you know nowadays they wouldn’t ever invade each other But the reason they didn’t historically is because it is quite hard to invade across a mountain range and rivers and they have natural borders And it keeps France safe and it keeps Spain safe from each other, which is a good thing It’s good not to go to war each other, isn’t it Europe? So yeah, it’s also worth noting that interestingly enough, the French Spanish border is connected by high-speed rail. There is TGV services. That’s the French High-speed trains across the French Spanish border in two places on both over here and over there Whereas Spain and Portugal are not connected by high-speed rail, because again we’ve gone over two of the countries now Andorra Which has the world’s oldest border and now we’re going to talk about Portugal which has the world’s second oldest border with Spain So yeah, Portugal’s only border is actually this one right here And therefore this is also the video in Portugal’s all of their borders because yeah Portugal actually shares just one border Which is the one with Spain it is the EU’s longest internal border that is uninterrupted. I found that to be a fun little fact and Yeah Because of that this huge border was agreed all the way back in the 1200s and has somehow remained in place to this day interestingly enough though It might be amended eventually and it likely is because there’s not much you can really say about this border besides well Portugal and Spain the big question everyone has when they look at the map that you know you’re not allowed to say this one out loud is like So again, if Spain’s there and Portugal’s there and Spain is that much bigger than Portugal Why did Spain never invade and try and take Portugal? You know, there was a huge Spanish unification. Yeah, that’s a thing that happened Why did the unified Spain never take Portugal and make it like an autonomous province like it kind of just makes sense? Look at the size of all the other countries, it seems like they’d go together and first of all the answer to that is like well It’s kind of offensive to Portuguese people to say they’d just be absorbed by Spain but the realistic truth behind it is if you go Back to when Portugal was first formed Portugal formed before any of the smaller Spanish states before they unified and because of that, you know Portugal and Castile it was again back in the 1200s They made a formal border and for the longest time during their history Portugal was actually quite level with Spain because it had overseas territories such as Brazil and even when it wasn’t level with Spain they did have some fighting but they usually had alliances involved and yeah Those two things combined with the fact that it does contain Mostly natural borders and combined with the fact that they are pretty friendly They have a lot in common fun fact, actually, even though Portuguese and Spanish are entirely separate languages Spanish people in Portuguese People can vaguely understand each other as I understand it. It works a little bit better Portuguese people can understand Spanish a little bit better than Spanish people can understand Portuguese people But they can still just about get the gist of what each other is saying Which again, a wacky thing that I can’t experience as an English speaker. But you can experience if you live in Spain or Portugal and yeah like I said, there border mostly follows natural ish formations you’ll see it follows a lot of rivers, you know only about half the border is that but again It means that it’s just about defendable. It means that because both countries are familiar and because they’ve lasted so long separate There’s not a strong movement to really unifying anyway, and it’s not something you ever see despite a lot of people are looking at it like You know someday they should get together. The truth is even though they might seem like they have similarities They also have a lot of differences. It’s that weird thing Were like, oh, yeah We’re really similar except all the ways we’re different which is a lot of ways and that kind of defines the relationship speaking of their relationship again the border it’s a really boring one to go over it has the same thing as France and Spain because like oh Yeah
if you look at any borderpoint crossing You can see the same kind of checkpoints – oh this is we got into the wrong place there You can see the same checkpoints where you have to again. You’re meant to be checked for your goods and stuff however since Spain and Portugal both joined the EU or the EUC as it was known back then at the same time in 1986 Both the borders were just abolished at the same time and now you can freely go between the two and so can goods Isn’t that wonderful? Look at that Spain-Portugal, no border controls whatsoever. Sometimes they actually do put up border controls It’s been like four separate occasions But mostly no border controls between Spain and Portugal and it’s interesting that Spain and Portugal managed to have such good relations Despite the huge territorial dispute that they actually do have so it’s funny because this is the world’s Second oldest border that is still in place to this day But Portugal doesn’t agree with that and it’s you you might find it weird that it’s 700 years old How can you not agree with it? But I mean it actually comes down to a pretty interesting territorial dispute in the realm of Olivença so Olivença is this town right here and These surrounding areas are also part of the same dispute Because Portugal believes that the border includes Olivença inside of Portugal whereas Spain believes that this is their territory and it is currently owned by Spain and they de facto control it and they banned the Portuguese language So it’s effectively a part of Spain but when you look into the history of why it is because it seems like Portugal’s being petty and just claiming Something that doesn’t belong to them, but the truth is is that in the Treaty of Fernet Vienna 1815 exciting treaty, by the way just it’s a thrilling read but um in the Treaty of Vienna the Officially had an agreement where Spain had to give this town – or they had to agree to be mediated with this town going to Portugal Eventually and that mediation never came because eventually, you know Portugal wanted to speed up the process So they just occupied Uruguay and then Spain was like well if you’re occupying Uruguay You don’t get your town of Olivença. And Olivença, the reason it’s never called disputes is because it’s not that tactically important It’s a town of 15,000 people with no hugely important natural resources. It’s just kind of like a portugal feels like they earned it There’s a treaty that says they can have it and Spain feels like it’s been theirs for 200 years So, how about we just keep it and to this day it doesn’t cause real disputes between the two countries, which is nice because most you know big areas like that cause some big issue but in the case of Spain and Portugal they just kind of agree that like we agree to disagree on this one and in Spain’s case that works because they currently do control Olivença, but if you look at any official Portuguese government map it’ll either claim that as their own or will be very ambiguous about that. So yeah Worlds second-oldest border has a border dispute I think that’s kind of wonderful and it’s a sign of things to come with the next border we’re gonna talk about because again You can see the border is pretty straight forward with Spain and Portugal But the Spanish UK border is one that you might be surprised at because Spain does infact border the UK So Gibraltar is one of the few UK territories, which is a part of the UK in almost every single way again There’s a lot of overseas territories that are kind of not the UK and kind of are but Gibraltar is a part of the UK It is a part that of the EU and interestingLY enough If you look at the EU referendum the result across the rest of the UK was you know 51.9% to leave but the result in Gibraltar was 97 percent in favor of staying in the EU because they have a direct border with another EU state which is Spain So the Spanish Gibraltar border is a very tiny border seriously. Look look at this border right here It’s like okay just over a kilometer long. I mean if you put it like that It’s 1.2 kilometers long from one side to the other if you include to sea it’s longer, but you know It’s a very very short border and the reason this exists The reason this is a part of the UK, because I’ll be honest when I first learned about Gibraltar I’m like, how did how did we cuz I’m from the UK a lot of people think I’m American somehow but uh How did we get a hold of that? How is that a thing? That’s the UK? okay, if that’s the line, but yeah, the reason that Gibraltar is owned by the UK is Because in the 1700s there was a treaty that was signed Spain was kind of on the weak and one of the things they agreed to give away was Gibraltar to the UK and they’re really not Happy about the fact that they did and I can I can I can understand like this is right here on Spanish territory, it’s also a really heavily defendable Rock heavily dependable place It is called the Rock of Gibraltar or just the Rock and you can control all of the trade that goes through the Suez Canal And therefore from Asia to Europe from this point because there’s a very thin point between Morocco and between Spain This is where a lot of the world trade goes through. It’s incredibly crowded and because of Gibraltars Strategic position the UK kind of has a say over all of that which is both a good thing and also a bad thing So yeah Gibraltar and Spain have a very short border. It’s a cause of contention and especially during the The Franco years when the dictator was in charge they would make it really tricky for people to get past one way or the other Nowadays, it just goes up and down based on like how they’re feeling It’s easier to get across than it was before but because the UK is not in Schengen there is still border checks There is a whole thing and also their border is like right on an international airport Which I find just be a wacky little thing. I’m gonna throw out there. So yeah, basically it’s it’s a mess It’s a confusing situation It’s a weird place for the UK to be but because of the treaty we’re keeping it and Spain every now and then says like why don’t we make it a condominium and it’s Like that’s a goodish idea I guess but we’ll see how that goes in the future, basically a lot of people the Gibraltar is not a negotiating point and I don’t imagine it will be one but you might see that come up in the point at future because it is A very weird place for a UK part to be so now let’s finally talk about the Spanish and the Moroccan border because again when we’re talking about Spain’s borders you Again, look you’re thinking about the mainland the Iberian Peninsula Because that’s where the four other borders are. But Spain actually has some territories in North Africa. These aren’t even just territories they are strictly a part of the Spanish state and have been since around about the 1500s or a little bit longer for some of them and these are very interesting because Ceuta, this territory here, the very very edge of Morocco belongs to Spain and you know Morocco claims it but this is one of the interesting territories because because this is Spain its EU Its Schengen, it’s all the other stuff They use the euro as their currency If you can cross this border right here You are officially in Europe and you can’t be If you cross the border, then you can claim- so there’s a whole system about that So basically this border right here is the most militarized In terms of like keeping people out in the world because if people can get over it That means they have a free reign people set up camp around the border just so they can climb over it and it’s so crazy When you look at the fortifications because there’s like layers of Defense. There’s a wall there’s another wall. There’s another wall Basically, they want it there’s a one of the you know places where they really want to keep people out Is this border right here. Because it is strict access into Europe and I don’t necessarily understand the exact reason why you let people Into your country just cuz they can climb a wall and why it’s okay not to let them into a country just cuz they can’t climb the wall, it seems like a really ridiculous system where like Oh
yeah people who climb the wall they’re allowed in and they Generally go to the rest of Europe if they can’t climb over then we don’t have to deal and that seems to be the rule And I again it’s it’s based on international treaties and the the the UN Convention on refugees It’s a whole you know thing But basically because of that this border is the most militarized and it’s part of the spanish moroccan border there is also another three or four points depending on whether you count maritime borders but if you scroll on the border a bunch more You’ll see there is a Melilla another huge city that belongs to Spain claimed by Morocco as well claim but Spain claims It’s theirs and has the same issue where it’s right here surrounded by Morocco, which was obviously previously a Spanish territory There’s also some islands found just over here. These are Spanish technically speaking again It’s not so important because there’s like nothing on them. But because that you know, they are Spanish technically speaking It is a Spanish island and they are claimed by Morocco and then finally We have one of the weirdest examples of a border between two countries because as you look along the border right here You’ll be like oh, yeah, everything here looks pretty normal right, and then you find the Spanish territory of this I’m not gonna attempt to say that but you find this Spanish you know territory of this which is a part of Spain and if you look at the border between this a Morocco is the world’s shortest border as far as I can tell that is by land. It is an 18 meter border You can run across left or right in this border in you know, like ten seconds flat. It’s a very very short border So given that the border is so short. Why is that the case? Why is this owned by Spain and the long story short that I didn’t realize when I last spoke about this border is that in… this border was set by Spain in the 1500s this belonged to Spain for hundreds of years You know both before and after Moroccan independence, which is why Spain claims all this stuff, but in 1934 There was a huge sandstorm and it swept enough sand here that it naturally formed a bridge between the island and the mainland Which means that the two countries… Accidentally ended up with a border. That’s right. The shortest border in the world is an accident. It wasn’t intended It’s just an island that eventually got a sandbridge with Morocco and therefore midway between them in the old maritime boundary as you can see right here. That’s the island. That’s the accidental sandbridge They ended up with this border, which means that that’s why you can walk directly from Morocco into Spain Obviously you can’t actually do that There’s like a lot of people that stop you from doing that but it’s just kind of wacky that like, oh, yeah There’s the restaurant and cafe Ismail, there’s Spanish, you know military base stuff. And yeah, that’s a thing You’ll find because of the Spanish Moroccan border and there ya go, that is Spain and it’s five separate borders That is every single border That Spain does have Spain is in this very interesting position being in the Iberian Peninsula and it takes advantage of it in a lot Of good ways It has a lot of islands which are just used for tourism in a very good and positive way and Spain as a whole however does have the problem of Being a country which is entirely based both in the capital and around the edges If you look at a population density map of Spain, it’s like oh, yeah Everyone lives either on the islands or they live on the coasts or they live in Madrid. There’s very little else going on there and because of that I feel like that’s one of the things Spain maybe will have you know as a problem or solution going forwards, however Because it has so little in between it has one of the longest high-speed rail networks in the world So they’ve got a lot of like pros and cons that come with everything and yeah Spain is one of the countries in Europe that I feel like is widely, recognized as being a good place to go and Therefore if for some reason you watched a video about its borders as a recommendation on Spain take this as a yes I’ve been to Spain twice. I only melted one of those times and would entirely recommend it also Just as a fun little thing. I know Catalonia I don’t wanna really talk about in this video if Catalonia goes independent then Spain would actually have the same number of borders because obviously they’d lose their border with Andorra so I don’t know, just a fun little thing there in case someone down there’s gonna be like Oh, but Catalonia, you don’t have to worry about it You don’t have to worry about it because again, it’s its whole own thing And again, I’m not going to about Catalonia because it’s looking like it’s less likely to happen now So that’s a good thing. Anyway with that said there’s everything I wanted to say about borders in Spain I hope you all enjoyed the video if you Liked it then I’d recommend you check out the subreddit reddit.com/r/toycat Discuss the video there say anything you want to say got any questions got any answers got any corrections all the stuff reddit.com/r/toycat – and also as always there’s a link to the other Stuff you might wanna check out playlists etc. And for now, you know, I’m just holding your time. That’s rude of me So I’ll let you go now. Have a nice day. Goodbye second channel don’t care I have to say it, I have to say it.