Boundaries and State Shapes


Why Do Boundaries Cause Problems?

A boundary is an invisible line that marks the extent of a state’s territory. Boundaries completely
surround an individual state to mark the outer limits of its territorial control and to give it a distinctive
shape. Historically, frontiers rather than boundaries separated states. A frontier is a zone where no state
exercises complete political control. Frontiers between states have been replaced by boundaries.
Boundaries may be classified into three categories:
• Cultural boundaries follow the distribution of cultural features.
• Geometric boundaries are based on human constructs, such as straight lines.
• Physical boundaries coincide with significant features of the natural landscape.

Boundary locations may be the source of conflict, both within a country and with its neighbors.

Shape of States The shape of a state controls the length of its boundaries with other states. Therefore, the
shape affects the potential for communication and conflict with neighbors. The shape is also a part of its
unique identity. Beyond its position as a centripetal force, the shape of a state can impact the degree of
successful of internal administration and can affect social unity.

States may take on one of five basic shapes:

  1. compact
  2. elongated
  3. prorupted 
  4. fragmented
  5. perforated






Part 1- Define the 5 shapes of states

  1. compact
  2. elongated
  3. prorupted 
  4. fragmented
  5. perforated

Part 2- Look at an online atlas to determine the shapes of the following countries based on the definition. On a sheet of paper, list the country and the shape of the country based on the information from your textbook and definitions. 

Use the following atlas online: to look up the states shapes. 

  • Spain
  • Japan
  • Italy
  • The Gambia
  • Mali
  • Indonesia
  • Ethiopia
  • South Africa
  • Vietnam
  • The Philippines
  • Namibia
  • Thailand
  • Poland
  • Chile
  • Greece
  • Belarus
  • Eritrea
  • Nunavut (Territory of Canada)
  • Sweden
  • Myanmar/Burma
  • Nepal
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo



Log into Socrative Room Name:  UZRGJS5 

Answer the questions for a quiz grade. 

There are 7 questions 




Turn your state shape papers and definitions into the box.  

Make sure your name is on it.