An archipelagic state is a designation used for island countries that consist of an archipelago. The designation is legally defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. In various conferences, The Bahamas, Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines are the five original sovereign states that obtained approval in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea signed in Montego Bay, Jamaica on 10 December 1982 and qualified as the archipelagic states.
Archipelagic states are composed of groups of islands forming a state as a single unit, with the islands and the waters within the baselines as internal waters. Under this concept ("archipelagic doctrine"), an archipelago shall be regarded as a single unit, so that the waters around, between, and connecting the islands of the archipelago, irrespective of their breadth and dimensions, form part of the internal waters of the state, and are subject to its exclusive sovereignty. The baselines must enclose the main islands of the archipelago, and the enclosed water to land ratio must be "between 1:1 and 9:1".
The approval of the United Nations (UN) for the five sovereign states as archipelagic states respect existing agreements with other countries and shall recognize traditional fishing rights and other legitimate activities of the immediately adjacent neighboring countries in certain areas falling within archipelagic waters. The terms and conditions for the exercise of such rights and activities, including the nature, the extent and the areas to which they apply, shall, at the request of any of the countries concerned, be regulated by bilateral agreements between them. Such rights shall not be transferred to or shared with third countries or their nationals.
As of 20 June 2015, a total of 22 countries have sought to claim archipelagic status.
List of archipelagic states
This is a list of the archipelagic states in the world. These 22 island countries have sought to claim archipelagic status by utilising the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea provisions. Bolded are the five original official archipelagic states.
|Name||Geographic configuration||Geologic location||Population||Area (km²)||Population
|Antigua and Barbuda||One archipelago consists of two main islands||Continental shelf||86,295||440||194||Caribbean Sea, Leeward Islands|
|Bahamas||One archipelago||Continental shelf||392,000||13,878||23.27||Atlantic Ocean, Lucayan Archipelago|
|Cape Verde||One archipelago||Oceanic||518,467||4,033||125.5||Atlantic Ocean, West Africa|
|Comoros||One archipelago consists of three main islands||Oceanic||784,745||2,235||275||Indian Ocean, East Africa|
|Dominican Republic||One archipelago with the main island (Hispaniola) shared with another country (Haiti)||Continental shelf||10,652,000||48,442||208.2||Caribbean Sea, Greater Antilles|
|Fiji||One archipelago consists of two main islands||Oceanic||859,178||18,274||46.4||Pacific Ocean, Melanesia|
|Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique||One archipelago consists of two main islands||Continental shelf||110,000||344||319.8||Caribbean Sea, Windward Islands|
|Indonesia||One archipelago||Two continental shelves||255,461,700||1,904,569||124.7||Maritime Southeast Asia, Malay Archipelago|
|Jamaica||One archipelago consists of one main island||Continental shelf||2,847,232||10,991||252||Caribbean Sea, Greater Antilles|
|Kiribati||Archipelago||Oceanic||98,000||811||135||Pacific Ocean, Micronesia|
|Maldives||One archipelago||Oceanic||329,198||298||1,105||Indian Ocean, South Asia|
|Marshall Islands||Archipelago||Oceanic||62,000||181||342.5||Pacific Ocean, Micronesia|
|Mauritius||Two archipelagos consist of two main islands||Oceanic||1,244,663||2,040||610||Indian Ocean, East Africa|
|Papua New Guinea||One archipelago with the main island (New Guinea) shared with another country (Indonesia)||Continental shelf||6,732,000||462,840||14.5||Pacific Ocean, Melanesia|
|Philippines||One archipelago||Continental shelf||101,398,120||300,000||295||Pacific Ocean, Malay Archipelago|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Archipelago consists of one main island||Continental shelf||120,000||389||307||Caribbean Sea, Windward Islands|
|São Tomé and Príncipe||One archipelago consists of two main islands||Continental shelf||163,000||1,001||169.1||Atlantic Ocean, Central Africa|
|Seychelles||Four archipelagos||Oceanic||87,500||455||192||Indian Ocean, East Africa|
|Solomon Islands||Five archipelagos||Oceanic||523,000||28,400||18.1||Pacific Ocean, Melanesia|
|Trinidad and Tobago||One archipelago consists of two main islands||Continental shelf||1,299,953||5,131||254.4||Caribbean Sea, Windward Islands|
|Tuvalu||One archipelago||Oceanic||12,373||26||475.88||Pacific Ocean, Polynesia|
|Vanuatu||One archipelago||Oceanic||243,304||12,190||19.7||Pacific Ocean, Melanesia|
- "Preamble to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: Article 46 – Use of Terms". United Nations. May 13, 2013.
- "United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982". United Nations. May 13, 2013.
- "Semaphore: April 2005". www.navy.gov.au. Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
- "2 laws UNLCOS 200 and Archipelagic States to End Spratlys Disputes: THE ARCHIPELAGIC STATES". Rebuilding for the Better Philippines. May 13, 2013.
- "PART IV ARCHIPELAGIC STATES: Article 51 – Existing agreements, traditional fishing rights and existing submarine cables". United Nations. May 13, 2013.
- Archipelagic States Practice
- The Law of the Sea — Practice of Archipelagic States
- "Island Countries Of The World". WorldAtlas.com. Archived from the original on 2017-12-07. Retrieved 2019-08-10.