International Condominiums

For the vast majority of people, a condominium is a suite in a commonly-held apartment building that is owned rather than rented.  Condominiums, however, also exist in international law. Not as apartment complexes lying on international borders, or anything like that. Rather, a condominium is a piece of territory shared equally by two or more…

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Revisiting Brasilia

The Basement Geographer is back again with another article on Google Sightseeing. This week, thanks to the new Street View and 45° imagery released at the end of July throughout Brazil, we decided to revisit one of the greatest civil engineering projects of all time – the city of Brasilia. You can read the article…

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A Gallery of Contrasts Along International Borders

We may think of borders as merely invisible lines on maps, but over time these ‘imaginary’ lines can become very real indeed. Countries regulate (or fail to regulate) the usage of their lands in very different ways. US astronaut and former NASA Chief Scientist John Grunsfeld remarked earlier this year how the differences in land…

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Google Sightseeing: Dubious Deserts

Over at Google Sightseeing, it’s one of the biggest weeks on the calendar as this week marks the fifth annual Desert Week.  With a nod to our look at the Carcross Desert a few weeks ago, The Basement Geographer’s contribution to this year edition is a tour of a few more of the world’s-deserts-that-aren’t-actually-deserts.  As…

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Why the Nile is the World’s Longest River (And Why It Isn’t)

The Amazon is the world largest river; of that there is no doubt.  One-fifth of the world’s entire freshwater flow is contained within the Amazon Basin.  By most accounts, however, it is not the longest.  That honour belongs to the Nile, at a generally accepted length of 6 650 km (4 152 mi) as compared…

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Same Name, Other Side of the Border (Part II: South America)

We continue with Part II of our multi-part look at places around the world where a regional name at-large is used on both opposing sides of the border in the official names of administrative divisions.   Part I (North America) can be found here. Misiones (Argentina/Paraguay) View Larger Map While not directly on opposite sides of…

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Counting Down the Ten Largest Empires in History, Nos. 10-6

For number 5 through number 1, click here.  10. Portuguese Empire (1815) – 10.4 million km2 (4.0 million sq mi) Portugal proper is not the largest country on the planet by any means, but its hold on a massive overseas colonial empire existed for nearly six centuries thanks to the maritime kingdom’s place at the…

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