Salient (geography)

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Map of Namibia clearly showing the Caprivi Strip, one of the world's best-known salients, in the country's northeast.

A salient is an elongated protrusion of a geopolitical entity, such as a subnational entity or a sovereign state.

While similar to a peninsula in shape, a salient is not surrounded by water on three sides and connected to a geographical mainland. Instead, it is delimited by a land border on at least two sides and extends out from the larger geographical body of the administrative unit.

In American English the term panhandle is often used to describe a relatively long and narrow salient, such as the westernmost extension of Florida. Less common descriptors include chimney (if protruding northward, as a chimney does from a roof) and bootheel (if protruding southward, as the heel underneath a boot).

Origin[edit]

The term salient is derived from military salients. The term "panhandle" derives from the analogous part of a cooking pan, and its use is generally confined to the United States.

The salient shape is the result of arbitrarily drawn international or subnational boundaries, although the location of some administrative borders takes into account other considerations such as economic ties or topography.

Country-level salients[edit]

Africa[edit]

Far North Province within Cameroon

Americas[edit]

Asia[edit]

Map of India showing the Seven Sister states in the northeast plus the smaller salient of Sikkim immediately to their west.

Europe[edit]

Dutch Limburg shown within the Netherlands

Subnational salients[edit]

The following locations are salients in First-level administrative subdivisions of nations.

Subnational salients in Africa[edit]

Location of Cuvette Department within the Republic of the Congo. The southwestern arm is Okoyo District. The Kimongo District salient, in Niari Department, can also be clearly seen in the country's southwest.
Location of the Fatick Region within Senegal. Gossas Departement is the northeastern arm.

Subnational salients in the Americas[edit]

Guayas Province, Ecuador. Balzar and El Empalme Cantons form the northern arm of the province.
Venezuela's Barinas State. Andrés Eloy Blanco is the small western extension of the state, Arismendi is the larger eastern extremity. Páez, in Apure, lies immediately to the south of western Barinas.

Panhandles in the United States[edit]

Locations of panhandles within states of the USA
State Largest city Population Area (sq mi) Area (km2) Population density
(per sq mi)
Population density (/km2)
Alaska Juneau 71,616 35,138 91,010 2 0.77
Connecticut Stamford 224,284 96 250 2,336 902
Florida* Tallahassee 1,407,925 11,304 29,280 125 48
Idaho Coeur d'Alene 317,751 21,013 54,420 15 5.8
Maryland Frederick 492,950 2,194 5,680 225 87
Nebraska Scottsbluff 87,789 14,258 36,930 6 2.3
Oklahoma Guymon 28,751 5,687 14,730 5 1.9
Texas Amarillo 427,927 25,887 67,050 17 6.6
Eastern West Virginia Martinsburg 261,041 3,499 9,060 75 29
Northern West Virginia Wheeling 132,295 601 1,560 220 85
The United States' best-known salient, the Florida Panhandle, extends to the west along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico from the rest of the state.

* This definition includes the following counties: Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington.

This definition includes the following counties: Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington

Many people in the Pacific Northwest refer to the extreme northern section of Idaho's panhandle as "The Chimney", due to its resemblance to a chimney when viewed on maps.[citation needed]

The northern segment of the borough of Manhattan in New York City represents a geographic panhandle as well.[citation needed]

Although Utah, like Nebraska, has a protrusion from its otherwise straight border, it is not usually considered a panhandle.

Subnational salients in Asia[edit]

Location of Nabatieh District within Nabatieh Governorate, Lebanon.
Map of Gorno-Badakhshan within Tajikistan, showing the panhandle of Darvoz District in the west.

Subnational salients in Europe[edit]

Location of Westfjords (Vestfirðir) within Iceland
Location of Newmarket (shown as red dot) within Suffolk, England.

Subnational salients in Oceania[edit]

Location of Anetan District within Nauru.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cook County Forest Preserve District Recreational Facilities". Users.rcn.com. Retrieved 2012-11-15.