Borders of the United States

The US political borders can be classified into international and internal. An international boundary delineates the space between sovereign nations. Internal boundaries are more bureaucratic and used to break up space into manageable parts of administration.

International border states of the US

The U.S. shares international land borders with Canada and Mexico, and sea-borders with Bahamas and Cuba.

Below is the map showing the nearest country border to everywhere in the United States.

Map of the nearest border to everywhere in the United States
Reddit user: e8odie

The United States – Canada border is the longest international border in the world between two countries. The terrestrial boundary (including portions of maritime boundaries in the Great Lakes and on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic coasts) is 8,891 kilometers (5,525 mi) long, of which 2,475 kilometers (1,538 mi) is Canada’s border with Alaska.

The US-Canadian Border Overlaid on Europe
Map of US-Canadian border

The total length of the United States – Mexico border is 3,145 kilometers (1,954 miles).

The US-Mexican Border Overlaid on Europe
The map of US - Mexican border

US internal borders

Within the U.S., there are fifty states, each of which has its borders. Many people wonder why the borders between some states are drawn with geometric rigor.

Modern state boundaries
Map of the U.S. state borders

In general, there are two types of internal U.S. borders: natural (rivers, mountains) and man-defined.

When the boundary is natural, such as a big river, it is a pretty clear separation of a landmass. Mountains like rivers, serve as barriers that divide peoples, as well as their political and economic interests.

In the United States, relief and rivers, as well as political interests, religion, and languages, have not had such a strong influence on the creation of borders as in Europe.

Below is a map of the United States if all borders between states were drawn along rivers or mountains.

Europeanised America: US States with natural geographic borders
Map of United States drawn with Natural Borders
Reddit user: Voltion99

When we have to make the boundaries ourselves, the easiest line to draw is a straight one.

The first European understanding of North America was undifferentiated, endless space, which allowed for the imposition of coolly human-centered boundaries drawn with a geometric rigor. People who drew them wanted to get it done easily. It is clearly seen if we take the borders of the western states, which came into being long after the eastern.

Typically very straight U.S. boundaries mean that it’s in the middle of nowhere, or it was when drawn. No one worried enough to argue about it, and so an easy straight line was made.

An ideal map of the United States could look like this.

Map of the U.S. if all state borders were straight lines

At present, it may be more rational to draw the boundaries between the states, taking into account the location of major cities and highways.

Reddit user desfirsit redrawn borders so that each part of the map is assigned to the nearest (in travel time) of the 50 U.S. largest metropolitan areas.

The United Cities of America
Map of the United Cities of America

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