Borders come in many shapes and sizes. They are defined as physical or political demarcations that seperate two geographic areas, and they can be real, such as a wall, or they can simply be a line on a map. Borders outline countries, provinces, cities, states, villages and other political divisions. Maritime bordes are borders that pass between two countries, but they are in the water, and not on land. The US shares maritime borders with several countries, including Russia and Cuba. Here is a detailed look at these borders and where they lie in the US.
Russia may seem to be worlds away from the US, but the two countries actually share a water boundary off the coast of Alaska. The arch rivals sit rather close together in the Bering Sea, with fingers of land seemingly reaching across the ocean to touch each other.
The Russia/US maritime boundary is a relatively straight line across the sea, but it causes some confusion. Alaska was purchased by the US from Russia in 1867. Maritime rules were different back then, and in 1990 right before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, a new line was “drawn” between the two countries across the Bering Strait.
Something called the Law of the Sea caused some 15,000 square nautical miles to end up in disputed territories when this was done. An agreement over the area was ratified by the US at the time, but the Soviet Union failed to ratify their part of the agreement before collapsing.
The result? Some people in Russia now wish the agreement that exists between the US and Russia as to who has fishing rights in these watery areas, would be renegotiated.
This maritime boundary has yet to be approved by the Russian parliament, to this day.
Cuba shares a maritime boundary with the US off the coast of Florida that is halfway between Florida and Cuba. It was determined by a treaty in 1977.
The Bahamas also shares a maritime border with the US. It became a hot issue in the media following Hurricane Dorian, which left many Bahamians without a home. The border is somewhat disputed, with the US wanting to expand the border into Bahamian territory.
Other Insular Areas
The US owns other territories around the globe that are not part of the fifty states, nor a federal district. These areas are run differently than mainland US, and the people living there have different voting rights, as well as taxation laws. For example, the US shares maritime borders with Samoa in American Samo and in the Virgin Islands with the United Kingdom.