Unusual Boundaries in UAE

One of the most unusual of political border is the small village of Nahwa. It is a territory of the United Arab Emirates, but it is completely surrounded by Madha, a territory on Oman which in is turn completely surrounded by the United Arab Emirates. See the map below:

Map showing Nahwa - Madha - UAE

The map shows that Madha is a dry exclave of Oman because it is completely surrounded by United Arab Emirates but is a territory of Oman. Nahwa is a counter enclave, a term seldom used to describe an enclave inside another enclave.

Another example of a counter enclave lie between the Netherlands and Belgium, in the town of Baarle. See map below:

Map showing Nahwa - Madha - UAE

The town is completely surrounded by Dutch territory, but parts of the town belong to Belgium. It has the two administrative units, the Baarle-Nassau (Dutch) and the Baarle-Hertog (Belgian). The town is riddled with enclaves and counter-enclaves.

The term enclave was derived from the French, with roots in the Latin word inclavatus, meaning shut in or locked up. The term exclave was derived from enclave.

To help you understand these terms, think of Lesotho. Lesotho is an enclave in South Africa because it is completely surrounded by us. For instance, if Lesotho belonged to Mozambique, then Lesotho would be an exclave of Mozambique. If South Africa owned a portion within Lesotho, that area would be a counter-enclave.


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