List of sets of four countries that border one another

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The typical case: one country surrounded by three others

This is a list of sets of at least four countries that border one another. In the typical case, three countries that border one another form a ring around a landlocked fourth. Examples of states in the centers of such configurations include Burundi, Luxembourg, Malawi and Paraguay.

No more than four contiguous countries can share borders since the complete graph K5 is not planar. On the other hand, non-contiguous countries that have exclaves (sometimes in the form of dependent territories) may form sets of five or more. Also, when regarding point borders as borders (e.g. Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado at the Four Corners in the U.S.), theoretically any number of regions may meet at one point and all may be considered as bordering one another.

As of the 2006 breakup of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, there are at least twelve four-country sets in the world in which each country shares a boundary (land or fresh water) with the others (thirteen when including states with limited recognition).

South America[edit]

Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia[edit]

  Paraguay
  Brazil
  Argentina
  Bolivia

This set has existed since the early-mid 19th century. In the early 19th century all that existed was the Spanish Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata and the Portuguese colony of Brazil. With the independence of Argentina (revolution in 1810, fully achieved 1816) and Paraguay (1811) the four-border set began to emerge, and was consolidated by the Brazilian and Bolivian independence (1822 and 1825, respectively).

Borders (km) Paraguay Brazil Argentina Bolivia
 Paraguay - 1290 1880 750
 Brazil 1290 - 1224 3400
 Argentina 1880 1224 - 832
 Bolivia 750 3400 832 -

Northeastern and Eastern Europe[edit]

Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia[edit]

  Belarus
  Latvia
  Lithuania
  Russia

This set has existed since the 1991 Dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Russian Kaliningrad Oblast, an exclave on the Baltic Sea, creates a Russian border with Lithuania. Belarus and Latvia share boundaries with both mainland Russia and Lithuania.

Borders (km) Belarus Latvia Lithuania Russia
 Belarus - 171 502 959
 Latvia 171 - 576 292
 Lithuania 502 576 - 227
 Russia 959 292 227 -

Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Russia[edit]

  Belarus
  Lithuania
  Poland
  Russia

This set has existed since the 1991 Dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The Russian Kaliningrad Oblast, an exclave on the Baltic Sea, creates Russian borders with both Lithuania and Poland. Belarus does not border Kaliningrad, but has borders with mainland Russia, Lithuania, and Poland.

Borders (km) Belarus Lithuania Poland Russia
 Belarus - 502 407 959
 Lithuania 502 - 91 227
 Poland 407 91 - 206
 Russia 959 227 206 -

Belarus, Poland, Russia, Ukraine[edit]

  Belarus
  Poland
  Russia
  Ukraine

This set has existed since the 1991 Dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The Russian Kaliningrad Oblast, an exclave on the Baltic Sea, creates a Russian border with Poland.

Borders (km) Belarus Poland Russia Ukraine
 Belarus - 407 959 891
 Poland 407 - 227 428
 Russia 959 227 - 1576
 Ukraine 891 428 1576 -

Western Europe[edit]

Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, France[edit]

  Belgium
  France
  Germany
  Kingdom of the Netherlands
France and the Netherlands border on the island of Saint Martin, shown top left.

This set has existed since the 1830 Independence of Belgium. Even though the German lands have had many territorial changes, Prussia's Rhine Province and later the various unified German states have always bordered the other three countries.

The only land boundary between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and France is on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, where the Dutch constituent country of Sint Maarten meets the French Overseas Collectivity of Saint Martin.

Borders (km) Belgium Germany Kingdom of the Netherlands France
 Belgium - 167 450 620
 Germany 167 - 577 451
 Netherlands 450 577 - 10
 France 620 451 10 -

Luxembourg, France, Germany, Belgium[edit]

  Belgium
  France
  Germany
  Luxembourg

This set has existed since the 1839 independence of Luxembourg.

Borders (km) Luxembourg France Germany Belgium
 Luxembourg - 73 138 148
 France 73 - 451 620
 Germany 138 451 - 167
 Belgium 148 620 167 -

Southeastern Europe[edit]

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia[edit]

  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Croatia
  Montenegro
  Serbia

This set has existed since the 2006 independence of Montenegro.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has 20 km of coastline on the Adriatic Sea while Croatia borders Montenegro only through the non-contiguous southern portion of the Dubrovačko-neretvanska county, which is an exclave connected to the rest of Croatia only by territorial waters.

Borders (km) Bosnia and Herzegovina Serbia Montenegro Croatia
 Bosnia and Herzegovina - 302 225 932
 Serbia 302 - 203 241
 Montenegro 225 203 - 25
 Croatia 932 241 25 -

Caucasus[edit]

Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, Iran[edit]

  Azerbaijan
  Armenia
  Iran
  Turkey

This set has existed since the 1991 Dissolution of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan has a border with Turkey through its exclave of Nakhichevan.

Borders (km) Azerbaijan Armenia Turkey Iran
 Azerbaijan - 787 9 611
 Armenia 787 - 268 35
 Turkey 9 268 - 499
 Iran 611 35 499 -

Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Turkey[edit]

  Azerbaijan
  Armenia
  Georgia
  Turkey

This set has existed since the 1991 Dissolution of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan has a border with Turkey through its exclave of Nakhichevan.

Borders (km) Azerbaijan Armenia Georgia (country) Turkey
 Azerbaijan - 787 322 9
 Armenia 787 - 164 268
 Georgia 322 164 - 252
 Turkey 9 268 252 -

Africa[edit]

Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo[edit]

  Rwanda
  Burundi
  DR Congo
  Tanzania

This set has existed since the 1962 change of the united Belgian colony of Ruanda-Urundi into the independent states of Burundi and Rwanda. The Democratic Republic of the Congo had achieved independence in 1960 and was followed the next year by Tanganyika, which would later merge with Zanzibar to form Tanzania. The border between DR Congo and Tanzania is entirely aquatic; the two countries are separated by Lake Tanganyika.

Borders (km) Burundi Rwanda Tanzania Democratic Republic of the Congo
 Burundi - 209 451 233
 Rwanda 209 - 217 217
 Tanzania 451 217 - 459
 DR Congo 233 217 459 -

Rwanda, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania[edit]

  DR Congo
  Rwanda
  Tanzania
  Uganda

By the time of Ugandan independence in 1962, all of the borders of this set were already established. DR Congo and Tanzania are separated by Lake Tanganyika.

Borders (km) Rwanda Uganda Democratic Republic of the Congo Tanzania
 Rwanda - 169 217 217
 Uganda 169 - 765 396
 DR Congo 217 765 - 459
 Tanzania 217 396 459 -

Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania[edit]

  Malawi
  Mozambique
  Tanzania
  Zambia

This set has existed since the 1964 independence of Zambia and Malawi. Mozambique became independent from Portugal in 1975.

Borders (km) Malawi Mozambique Zambia Tanzania
 Malawi - 1569 837 475
 Mozambique 1569 - 419 756
 Zambia 837 419 - 338
 Tanzania 475 756 338 -

Sets involving states with limited recognition[edit]

Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran, Nagorno-Karabakh[edit]

  Azerbaijan
  Armenia
  Iran
  Nagorno-Karabakh Republic

This de facto set has existed since the 1992 Nagorno-Karabakh declaration of independence.

The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is claimed in whole by Azerbaijan and not recognised as independent by any UN member state or observer state.

Near misses[edit]

If one includes states with limited recognition, the following near misses also exist:

Former border sets of at least four countries[edit]

The first two sets below include boundaries shared by former colonial empires (specifically territorial claims in South America, Africa, India, Europe, and the East and West Indies), and thus do not reflect continuous areas of land. In the third one it is referred to Nazi Germany after its annexation of Austria.

Countries From To Terminal Event
 France,[1]  Dutch Republic,[2]  Spain,[3]  Portugal,[4]  Great Britain[5] 1704 1713 Signing of the Treaty of Utrecht on 11 April 1713
 Belgium,[6]  Portugal,[7]  German Empire,[8]  France,[9]  United Kingdom,[10]  Netherlands[11] late 19th century 1914 Outbreak of World War I
 France,  Germany,  Italy,   Switzerland 1938 1945 The dissolution of Germany into allied occupation zones[12]
 Burma,  China,  India,  Pakistan[13] (see below) 1947 1971 Independence of Bangladesh
United Arab States,[14]  Iraq,  Jordan,  Saudi Arabia (see below) 1958 1961 Dissolution of the United Arab States

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Between 1704 and 1713, France and her colonies neighbored the Netherlands (on Saint Martin), Spain (in Europe), Portugal (between French Guyana and Portuguese Brazil) and Great Britain (between the Indian settlements of Hughli and Chandernagar).
  2. ^ Between 1704 and 1713, the Netherlands and her colonies neighbored France (on Saint Martin), Spain (in Europe between Dutch Republic and the Spanish Netherlands), Portugal (between Dutch Suriname and Portuguese Brazil), and Great Britain (between the Indian settlements of Pulicat and Madras.
  3. ^ Between 1704 and 1713, Spain and her colonies neighbored France (in Europe), the Netherlands (in Europe between Spanish Netherlands and the Dutch Republic), Portugal (in Europe and South America), and Great Britain (with the 1704 British capture of Gibraltar).
  4. ^ Between 1704 and 1713, Portugal and her colonies neighbored France (between Portuguese Brazil and French Guyana), the Netherlands (between Brazil and Dutch Suriname), Spain (in Europe and South America), and Great Britain (between the Indian settlements of Daman and Diu and Surat).
  5. ^ Between 1704 and 1713, the Kingdom of Great Britain (and prior to the 1707 Acts of Union, the Kingdom of England) and her colonies neighbored France (between the Indian settlements of Chandernagar and Hughli), the Netherlands (between the Indian settlements of Madras and Pulicat), Spain (with the 1704 British capture of Gibraltar), and Portugal (between the Indian settlements of Daman and Diu and Surat)
  6. ^ European Belgium bordered France, the Netherlands, and Germany. The Belgian Congo bordered Portuguese Angola and several French and British colonies in Africa.
  7. ^ European Portugal bordered Spain. In 1914, the African colonies of Mozambique, Angola, and Guinea-Bissau bordered territories held by Germany (Namibia and Tanganyika), Great Britain, France, and Belgium. The colony of Timor Leste bordered the Dutch East Indies.
  8. ^ Immediately prior to World War I, European Germany bordered the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. African colonies shared boundaries with territories held by Great Britain, Portugal, France, and Belgium
  9. ^ European France shared borders with Belgium and Germany. Vast French holdings in colonial Africa abutted colonies possessed by Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, and Portugal. In South America, French Guyana bordered Dutch Suriname.
  10. ^ British colonies in Africa shared boundaries with territories held by France, Belgium, Germany, and Portugal. In South America, British Guyana bordered Dutch Suriname.
  11. ^ The European Netherlands shared borders with Germany and Belgium. The Dutch East and West India Companies controlled territories that bordered colonies of Portugal (on the island of Timor), Great Britain (Guyana), and France (French Guyana).
  12. ^ Date of dissolution assumes that France continued to exist, and include the Occupied Zones, after June 1940; this phrasing ignores the de facto existence of the Italian Social Republic from 1943 on, which was adjacent to the other three states until its last days. The exact date at which a new Austria came into existence may be debatable.
  13. ^ From 15 August 1947 to 16 December 1971, Pakistan included modern-day Bangladesh (known as East Pakistan)
  14. ^ A short-lived confederation of North Yemen and the United Arab Republic, itself a union of Egypt and Syria.

Sources[edit]