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Weird Geographical Information
« on: March 30, 2017, 08:03:02 PM »
Ever wonder why the State of Michigan is divided into two peninsulas?   



The answer goes back to the Northwest Ordinance passed by the precursor of the U.S. Congress in 1787.   The law stated that the north-south boundary for three of the states would be 'an east and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan" which pretty much is modern day Gary, Indiana.  The intent was clear enough but trouble soon followed.

In 1802, Ohio began the process of attempting to become a state.   Reports were received from a fur trappers that Lake  Michigan extended further south than was previously thought.  Worried about the prospect of losing territory and some access to Lake Erie, the Ohio Constitutional convention 'bent' the northern border upwards to protect their interests. However, this was included as minor provision.  When the Congressional Committee reviewed Ohio's entrance into the United States the  matter was not dealt with, the Committee's report simply said the boundary depended on a 'fact not yet ascertained'.  In 1803, Jefferson signed an act of Congress that approved Ohio’s constitution which in essence made Ohio the 17th State in the Union [although techincally the Congress did not declare it such until 1953 when the oversight was noticed – the paperwork in 1953 made the induction retroactive to 1803].

In 1805,  the Territory of Michigan was formed, quite rightly using the language of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 to define it’s southern border.  The Ohio legislature petitioned the US Congress on the matter but nothing was done and when the War of 1812 broke out there were more pressing matters to deal with.  It was not until 1816 when Indiana joined the Union as a State that a survey was ordered. Typically, the Congress put a former governor of Ohio in charge of the survey and lo and behold it came out in Ohio’s favor.

Michigan then commissioned it’s own survey. The results of which put the “Toledo Strip” into Michigan’s territory as was originally intended back in 1787. As such, the Territory of Michigan  began building roads, collecting taxes and what not in this piece of land.  While most of this 8 mile wide strip of land was farm land of not huge importance the section near Lake Erie was.  With the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 what would become the Port of Toledo increased in economic importance greatly.

In 1833 the Territory of Michigan gained enough population to begin the statehood process.  However the enabling act was blocked in Congress by the Ohio delegation.  In 1835, Ohio then setup county governments throughout the “Toledo Strip”.  Enraged,  the young Governor of Michigan signed a law that made it a crime for anyone to carry out Ohio governmental actions in the disputed area – punishable by five years of hard labor.   The original “Michigan Militia” was then formed and sent into the “Toledo Strip” to enforce the law.  Former President John Quincy Adams sided with Michigan during the dispute and said: "Never in the course of my life have I known a controversy of which all the right was so clearly on one side and all the power so overwhelmingly on the other.

Ohio did indeed have power.   They quickly raised an even larger militia and sent it near the strip. In response Michigan occupied the City of Toledo and the Toledo War was on.  Then, as now, Ohio was swing state in Presidential elecetions and Michigan was still a Territory.  As such President Andrew Jackson was definitely on Ohio’s side.   He had nothing to gain politically by supporting Michigan’s claim – whether it was legally correct or not. 

A skirmish broke out on April 26th, 1835 in what is known as the Battle of Phillips Corners.   The Ohioans retreated but by this time there was almost out and out war.  Both sides allocated more monies towards increasing the size of their respective militia’s. Again Michigan petitioned for Statehood but this time Andy Jackson squashed it until the border issue was resolved.  Jackson then removed Michigan’s territorial governor with a more compliant individual – a guy named “Little Jack” Horner.

Horner, obviously, was loathed in Michigan and he was pelted with veggies upon his entry into the territorial capital.   Andrew Jackson then let it be known that he would approve Michigan’s statehood if the Toledo Strip was ceded. In compensation, Michigan would be given the Upper Peninsula. Michigan had no realistic choice but to accept.    On December 14th, 1836 the terms were officially accepted and the Toledo War was over.


On January 26th, 1837 Michigan officially became the 26th state in the union – without the Toledo Strip but with the U.P.  Even with the agreement in place there were still squabbles over the exact location of the border.  This was drag on for decades and decades.  In fact, it wasn’t until a 1973 Supreme Court decision in Michigan Vs. Ohio that the matter was put to rest once and for all.   

 This is why Michigan has both a lower and upper peninsula and why there is still no love lost between Michigan and Ohio. 





P.S. Of course Michigan ended up having the last laugh in the long run.  I had the pleasure of living in the Upper Peninsula for five years as I attended college and it is a beautiful place.  Michigan picked up a future National Park and a National Lake Shore,  along with all the Copper, Iron Ore and Lumber resources in the U.P.   Ohio?  Well, they got to keep Toledo. 

U.P. of Michigan


Toledo



Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2017, 08:12:37 PM »
Some interesting consequences about the border issues between Ohio and Michigan still remain. 

Tiny Turtle Island is partially in Michigan and partially in Ohio:



Michigan has an exclave that juts out into Lake Erie that is only reachable by land from Ohio.   
It, of course, is known as Lost Peninsula and encompasses a
few homes and a marina




Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2017, 08:15:53 PM »
Not sure if weird geography is of interest to anyone else but I can do some more if there is any interest.

I get a kick out of it...........


Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2017, 08:33:17 PM »
Not sure if weird geography is of interest to anyone else but I can do some more if there is any interest.

I get a kick out of it...........

Angle Inlet/Northwest Angle?

Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2017, 08:34:17 PM »
Angle Inlet?

The Angle is an interesting one.......     I'll start a little list - I've got some others in mind as well.

Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2017, 09:18:49 PM »
I enjoy stuff like this, and I should be able to contribute some facts. I'll start with a fairly basic one:



Australia's capital is like Washington DC in that it's a national capital city which is an independent territory amongst the other states. The reason this came about is because when the separate colonies were uniting at the start of the 20th century the two large capitals of Victoria (Melbourne) and New South Wales (Sydney) had an intense rivalry (which continues today) and refused to let the other become the national capital. An agreement was made between the two with New South Wales to be the location of the capital but it could be no less than 100 miles (160 kilometres) from Sydney, and Melbourne would be capital in the interim.  Possible sites were ranked in terms of accessibility (for connections to the rest of the country and protection from invasion), communications, climate (eg to limit disease), topography, water supply, drainage, soil, building materials, fuel and general suitability. The location of Canberra was selected in a valley 155 miles from Sydney and 65 miles from the coast, and was given independence from New South Wales in 1911. The city finally became capital in 1927 with the opening of the what is called today 'Old Parliament House'.



Although the reason behind the creation of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) itself is a bit odd, there is an additional oddity to it. In 1915 the Jervis Bay Territory was given over to the federal government so that the ACT would have sea access, and is located 127 miles to the north east of Canberra. This small area only has a population of ~320, but it does house the Royal Australian Navy College and at one time was the site of construction for a nuclear power plant (later abandoned).



=========================================

You might enjoy this blog about maps and geographical quirks (used to be on a standalone site, but I guess it was too expensive for the owner): http://bigthink.com/articles?blog=strange-maps



Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2017, 09:28:27 PM »
Supposed to be doing work stuff but what the hell.......

Most folks know that the French North American Empire at one time stretched from Newfoundland to the prairies and from Hudson Bay all the
way south to the Gulf of Mexico.   Between the Treaty of Utrecht, the Louisiana Purchase and the Treaty of Paris [1763], everyone knows that France lost their North American empire of New France.  This is true but the French did not lose *all* of it.

They managed to hang onto the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon off of the coast of Newfoundland.  This was a result of the Treaty of Paris in 1763 and was most certainly due to fishing rights.

The Brits put the hurt on the French in the islands in 1778, 1793 with the French returning in 1802 only to lose them again in 1803.  The Treaty of Paris in 1816 returned the islands to France and the French resettled in 1816.  By 1910 the fisheries had turned unprofitable and then The
Great War broke out in 1914.  All male inhabitants of fighting age were sent to fight for France and almost 25% of the total islands population was killed.

The future looked bleak for Saint Pierre and Miquelon until Prohibition was passed in the United States.   This kicked off an economic boom in the islands as they were a hub for smuggling booze.   When Prohibition ended in 1933 the islands again were plunged into hard times and were mostly forgotten by the world powers.

That is until World War Two broke out and France fell.  It suddenly dawned on the US and UK that the islands were controlled by Vichy France. The prospect of the Axis controlling islands that close to vital shipping lanes was intolerable.   On December 24th, 1941 the islands were invaded by Free French forces and the issue was solved then and the islands have once again become over looked on the world stage.

However they remain an Overseas collectivity of France and have 6,000+ residents to this day.   

They are also pretty islands and on my wish list of places to visit some day:




Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2017, 09:34:21 PM »
Hey great stuff Taaroa!   Obviously I learned Canberra was the Capital of Australia in like 5th grade geography but had no inkling
about the reason behind it.  The Jervis Bay information  was totally new to me.

Thanks Paper Boy - that should be fodder for future posts.   


Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2017, 10:34:52 PM »
I found these Wikipedia articles on enclaves and exclaves doing other research awhile back. 
There are a lot of weird enclave things going on around the world, like pic related:



Hey great stuff Taaroa!   Obviously I learned Canberra was the Capital of Australia in like 5th grade geography but had no inkling
about the reason behind it.  The Jervis Bay information  was totally new to me.

I'll give you another Australia based one:

The biggest state in the country is Western Australia, which is bigger than Western Europe and is roughly 4 times the size of Texas with a population of 2.6 million. The capital city is Perth (pop 1.8million) is one of the most isolated cities on Earth, with the next nearest settlement of over 100k (Adelaide) being 1324mi away. In fact it's actually closer to Jakarta (capital of Indonesia) than it is to Canberra, which are respectively 1865mi and 1930mi away.



During the federation of the country in the late 1800s/early 1900s, Western Australia showed a great deal of reluctance in joining the new country to the point that a referendum was held on it and the Constitution of Australia does not mention the state in the preamble (unlike all the other states). In 1933 a referendum was held on whether the state should secede, with the result being that 68% of the populace voted in favour of leaving the Commonwealth. As the Constitution of Australia was originally an act of the British parliament and the two countries still shared legal systems (only separated completely in 1986), the state government petitioned the British parliament to act upon it to legally give separation. The British refused to do so after 18 months, arguing that they couldn't do so without the support of the Australian federal government who of course were opposed to territory seceding. WW2 broke out soon after, and the issue was largely forgotten outside of Western Australia.



Now in addition to what I mentioned previously about the state being extremely isolated physically (and somewhat culturally), you also need to keep in mind that Western Australia is a major force economically. In 2010 it had a 13.1% share of the total Australian GDP, 48% of the minerals and energy output, 39% of merchandise exports, and 28% of private investment - all while comprising only 10% of the total population. Despite this, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue which gets redistributed to Western Australia is only 30% of the national average while the 'Eastern States' benefit, and has become a greater issue now that the state government's revenues have been badly hurt by the downturn in the mining industry.
As such, there is still a lot of support in the state for greater autonomy as people view themselves as 'forgotten' and being taken advantage of (it has been referred to in the past as the Cinderella State), and the New York Times has compared the situation to that in Catalonia and Scotland. Due to the fact that Fremantle is a somewhat important port on the Indian Ocean for the US Navy and that there are a few American run "communications facilities" in the state, people that propose secession nowadays tend to suggest that America would protect an independent Western Australia.


Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2017, 10:41:36 PM »

Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2017, 11:00:58 PM »

Since I'm talking about federation, I may as well add another one. Now during the discussions for federation during the late 1800s, they were between the six Australian colonies (Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland) and New Zealand and Fiji. In fact, New Zealand is mentioned in the Australian Constitution when defining what a state would be. Despite this, New Zealand refused to join the country out of a combination of factors including physical distance, fear of domination by the other states, a view of the other colonies as competitors and not friends or brothers (which existed in the other colonies too) and a self sense of superiority to the other colonies.
I can't say why Fiji didn't join, but I think physical distance, fear of domination by the other states, and a racial element played a role.



There are still proposals today for Australia and NZ to unite further, but Australia sees little benefit to themselves in doing it and New Zealanders still don't want to be labelled 'Australians' or be dominated by the mainland. New Zealand was at one time ruled from New South Wales, which you can see in this .gif of Australia's territorial evolution:


Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2017, 11:21:27 PM »
The Republic of Texas used to be a lot bigger than the current state. In 1850 they traded the lands outside of the current borders to the federal government in exchange for their debt.

Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2017, 11:37:29 PM »
The Republic of Texas used to be a lot bigger than the current state. In 1850 they traded the lands outside of the current borders to the federal government in exchange for their debt.

Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2017, 11:57:40 PM »
What a cool thread. Really enjoyed learning that bit of  geographical history about Australia. :D  I haven't said anything about this but my godfather was an Australian citizen.  He was a rather famous doctor who located to Long Beach here in the states in the late 1950's where my mother worked for him in the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade and he and my family were close.  He really was like a grandfather to me.  We visited each other up unto the late 1990's when he finally retired back to Australia.  He died in 2009 at the age of 96.  His name was Fred Schwarz and he hobnobbed with the conservative Hollywood stars like Ronald Reagan, Gloria Swanson, Robert Taylor, Jimmy Stewart, Adolphe Menjou and many others.  He consulted President Reagan in an unofficial capacity during his Presidency.  He was a well-read man who loved to recite poetry to us and we loved to hear him recite it.  Charge of The Light Brigade and The Cremation of Sam McGee were two of our favorites that he recited.   I have never known a better man than him. God, I loved that man and I miss him.  He'd bring us presents from Australia.  There's a wiki page on him but it hardly does him justice.  So to say I have a fondness for all things Aussie would be an understatement.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Schwarz

Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2017, 12:49:29 AM »
What a cool thread. Really enjoyed learning that bit of  geographical history about Australia.
I'll give you another one then - I'm only doing Australia because they're the first to come to mind, but I'll do others at a later time. These kinds of topics aren't taught in school anyway.



Australia is like a mini USA in the Asia/Pacific area, acting as a regional power and at times deploying their military and other federal agencies in nearby nations (such as East Timor and the Solomon Islands) and throws its weight around a bit. I've told the story of one nation where it's occurred here:
Let me tell you the story of Nauru.
There are others though. Papua New Guinea (PNG) - like Nauru - has a bit of a dependence on Australia's investment and aid in the country, and agreed to house and resettle boat people in their country. But not that long ago, PNG was an Australian administered area called the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
The southeastern quarter (Territory of Papua) of the main island was annexed to the British Empire in 1883, and was effectively administered by Australia from then on. During the early stages of WW1, Australia seized the German quarter of the island (Territory of New Guinea) and the neighbouring Bismarck Achipelago. At the end of the war, Australia was given a mandate over the area as part of the Paris Peace Convention. During WW2 the Japanese invaded and captured large swathes of the territories and was the site of the infamous Kokoda Trail. Following the conclusion of the war, the two territories were combined into one and were ruled from Australia until 1975 when independence was granted to Papua New Guinea.



While Papua New Guinea was given up, Australia still has external territories in a similar way as America does. These are:
- Christmas Island (350km from Java), famous for the red crab migration and the site of a migrant detention center.
- Cocos Islands (nearly halfway between Australia and Sri Lanka), formerly ruled in a feudal manner by a private family until the Australian government forced them out.
- Heard and McDonald Islands (2,547mi away from Perth), home to the highest mountain in the country which is an active volcano.
- Norfolk Island (877mi east of the mainland), somewhat self administrating and has a unique history including settlement by some HMS Bounty Mutineers.
- Ashmore and Cartier Islands (89mi from Indonesia), famous for being 'excised' out of Australia's migration zone to prevent boat people from arriving there illegally.
- Australian Antarctic Territory, transferred by the British to Australia in 1933 and not recognised by Japan (because they like to whale in the waters off of it).


Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2017, 01:36:43 AM »
Did you know there's a short, roughly 11-mile border between North Korea and Russia?  I didn't, till I heard about it on Jeopardy.   ???



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korea%E2%80%93Russia_border

Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2017, 07:01:09 AM »
One of the oddest US/Canadian border towns is Hyder, Alaska. Its a village where bears roam the streets, open carry is common and Canadian currency is accepted at the bars and stores. There's a symbiotic relationship with Stewart, British Columbia. Hyder drives the tourism and provides low tax cigrarettes and alcohol and the ultiliies, telephone, fire, police and ambulance services are all Canadian and come from Stewart BC. Canada Day and Independence Day are jointly celebrated in a huge 4 day party by the two towns.

The Alaska State patrol comes into Hyder just to catch speeders during tourist season, but are otherwise absent. Its a very laid-back kind of place that libertarians would love.

Hyder is situated such that there is no way out except into Canadian land by road or the airport in Stewart BC.

http://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2013-09-09/hyder-alaska-maphead-ken-jennings

Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2017, 07:03:09 AM »
As Taaroa mentions above regarding Nauru there was a time when phosphate mining was a huge thing.
So big in fact that the United States passed the Guano Islands Act in 1856 - yes that's right.  Guano. 
As in bird shit. 

The law states:

Quote
Whenever any citizen of the United States discovers a deposit of guano on any island, rock, or key, not within the lawful jurisdiction of any other Government, and not occupied by the citizens of any other Government, and takes peaceable possession thereof, and occupies the same, such island, rock, or key may, at the discretion of the President, be considered as appertaining to the United States.

In other words if you find an uninhabited, unclaimed strip of land and it has dung on it, you may claim it and Uncle Sam has your back.
The term for places such as this is Terra Nullius or Nobody's land. The law remains on the books to this day and over 100 islands, cays, reefs and shoals have been claimed.  Most of the claims have been renounced but not all and the US still holds 12 such islands.  Some have interesting little histories that deserve their own posts.

Guano was a great source of saltpeter and was much prized as a fertilizer prior to rise of modern, artificially created fertilizer.  For a time there was a "Guano Mania" with the 'White Gold' hitting highs of $76 a pound - in 1850's dollars.



Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2017, 06:44:05 PM »
As Taaroa mentions above regarding Nauru there was a time when phosphate mining was a huge thing.
So big in fact that the United States passed the Guano Islands Act in 1856 - yes that's right.  Guano. 
As in bird shit. 

The law states:

In other words if you find an uninhabited, unclaimed strip of land and it has dung on it, you may claim it and Uncle Sam has your back.
The term for places such as this is Terra Nullius or Nobody's land. The law remains on the books to this day and over 100 islands, cays, reefs and shoals have been claimed.  Most of the claims have been renounced but not all and the US still holds 12 such islands.  Some have interesting little histories that deserve their own posts.

Guano was a great source of saltpeter and was much prized as a fertilizer prior to rise of modern, artificially created fertilizer.  For a time there was a "Guano Mania" with the 'White Gold' hitting highs of $76 a pound - in 1850's dollars.



So if I find an unclaimed island and take a shit on it, I can claim it as my own and it becomes a US territory?  Damn, I need to take up sailing.

Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2017, 01:08:58 AM »
Johnston Atoll



Johnston Atoll consists of 4 islands for a landmass of 2.67km˛, and is located in the Pacific Ocean 1390km (860mi) to the south west of Hawaii. It was first recorded by Westerners in 1796 when an American ship ran aground on it, but was not named until 1807 when a captain Johnston of the Royal Navy sighted them. In 1858 it was claimed by both the Kingdom of Hawaii and the US (under the Guano Act) and a dispute occurred over whose territory it was which only ended with the annexation of Hawaii, but the island was mined for phosphate regardless.



In 1934 the island was transferred to US Navy control, and from then on it was built up as a major base in the Pacific Ocean. During WW2 it became a transfer point and a supply base, and was attacked on two occasions by the Japanese. Following the conclusion of the war, a LORAN (a long range navigation system) station was built and operated until 1992. Between 1958 and 1975 the atoll was a nuclear test site, mainly specialising in high altitude tests - a number of which failed and contaminated the island with radioactive materials.



In the 1960s and 1970s, the island was an anti satellite missile site and was additionally used in tracking satellites in orbit. The atoll was also a location where reconnaissance data from satellites was retrieved in mid air by specially equipped  C130s. A biological weapons testing site was present in 1964 and 1965.

From 1971 to 2001, the facility was used to store chemical weapons - including Agent Orange, VX, sarin, and mustard gas. Efforts at disposing and destroying the chemical weapons began in the 1980s, and was only completed in 2003 following which the islands were abandoned.
Following the abandonment, the atoll was briefly listed for sale by the US government, but this was subsequently withdrawn and today the island is administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The site had been used as a possible emergency landing airfield for aircraft crossing the Pacific Ocean, but following the abandonment of the facilities this is no longer possible. In 2007 the runway was cleared of debris in an emergency to allow the US Coast Guard to extract an ill sailor to Hawaii.



Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2017, 08:28:08 PM »
In 1935, the US Department of Commerce launched the American Equatorial Islands Colonization Project with
the idea of setting up shop on a number of small uninhabited islands in the Pacific that lay on the air route between
California and Australia.  Weather stations and air strips would be built for commercial use and of course to check Japanese
expansion. One of the islands, Howland, was Amelia Earhart destination when she disappeared.

Young Hawaiian men, known as Hui Panala'au, were recruited for the project.  In general, they did well and had a pretty good time
as there were plenty of opportunities to surf.   Once the war broke out they were eventually withdrawn  and the project came to
a close. 



There is a documentary called Under a Jarvis Moon that tells their story.

Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2017, 06:17:58 PM »
Rockall is a lump of granite that juts out into the North Atlantic about 300 miles west of Scotland.  It's roughly 100 feet wide and 80 feet long at the base and
rises up above the waves by about 56 feet.  It first appears in written records in the 16th century and for most of history it has been a place to stay away
from as there are nearby rocks that sometimes peek above the waves in the right conditions that have caused ship wrecks.

Things changed during the Cold War.   The United Kingdom became concerned that the Soviet Union might install spy or communications equipment on it and in the
last territorial expansion to date, they claimed the islet.   A group of Royal Navy and Royal Marine members were winched down to the islet via a helicopter and
nabbed Rockall for the Crown.

The following brass plaque as attached to Rockall at that time:
Quote
By authority of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of her other realms and territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, and in accordance with Her Majesty's instructions dated the 14th day of September, 1955, a landing was effected this day upon this island of Rockall from HMS Vidal. The Union flag was hoisted and possession of the island was taken in the name of Her Majesty. [Signed] R H Connell, Captain, HMS Vidal, 18 September 1955.

On occasion someone will venture out and managed to climb on it.  It was said at one point that more humans have walked on the Moon than have stood on Rockall
but that probably is no longer the case.




Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #23 on: April 03, 2017, 10:12:23 PM »
It was said at one point that more humans have walked on the Moon than have stood on Rockall
but that probably is no longer the case.

That's probably true for this island.



Sitting 5km off the coast of Wilson's Promontory (which itself is the southernmost point of the Australian mainland) in the Anser Group is Cleft Island, which is also known as Skull Rock. It is surrounded by sheer cliffs meaning it is difficult - if not impossible - to access via boat, with the last known people having been dropped onto the island via helicopter.



The island gets its name from the large hollow it possesses of measurements 426ft wide by 200ft high by 200ft deep, which is believed to have been caused when the sea levels were higher. This cave is believed to have been used for target practice by passing ships, and cannonballs have been found to support that theory. Today it is home to a large number of birds, particularly the Black-faced Cormorant.



Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #24 on: April 04, 2017, 07:42:10 PM »
Point Roberts, Washington is a 5 square mile community with a population of about 1,300. It has its own zip code and is an exclave
that is only reachable by a 25 mile drive through Canada.   It was overlooked when the Oregon Treaty was signed between the United
States and Britain in which the border was set at the 49th parallel.   Point Roberts sits at the tip of the Tsawwassen and as such juts
south of the 49th parallel.   

From what I gather it is a pleasant place to live and has more sunny days due to its location than most places in the Pacific Northwest. 
Lots of NHLer's live or have lived there - Pavel Bure, Glen Hanlon and few more Hockey  pro's have called Point Roberts home.  It has it's
challenges however.  After the third grade, children have a long bus ride to attend school in the US and trips to the Doctor and Pharmacy
are also inconvenient. 





Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2017, 08:51:39 PM »
Mount Baekdu / Mount Paektu / 백두산
Mount Baekdu is a 9003ft high active volcano on the border of China and North Korea which is roughly half inside each country. From the lake (called Heaven Lake) at the peak of the volcano the rivers Tumen and Yalu flow, which form the borders between North Korea and China and between North Korea and Russia.



For the Chinese, the manchu clan which founded the Qing dynasty claimed their progenitor was born nearby the mountain. Recent attempts to encourage infastructure, tourism, and other development in the area (including registration as a world heritage site) have upset the South Koreans and has caused diplomatic incidents in the past between the two countries.



Koreans (both South and North) consider the mountain sacred, with prominent place in mythology and subsequent worship by various Korean dynasties. South Koreans claim all of North Korea's territory, but in addition to this believe that the Japanese illegally gave away the mountain to China in the early 20th century (when Korea was a Japanese colony). North Korea and China clarified the area with a treaty in 1962 resulting in North Korea controlling ~54.5%, which South Korea disputes claiming a greater area.



For North Korea, the mountain plays a role in their history and mythology/propaganda following Japanese rule. During the occupation and Korean Civil War, the forests around the mountain provided bases for anti Japanese guerrillas and communists in each respective conflict. It is claimed by the North that Kim Jong-Il was born on the mountain, possibly as an attempt to tie into pre existing myth and history of the mountain, but the likelihood of it as his birthplace is disputed by foreign records.
The mountain appears on the official emblem of North Korea, and a variety of their products (eg missiles, computers) have been named after it.


Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2017, 09:54:02 PM »
I mentioned how South Korea claims all of North Korea and a bit of China (not mentioning their disputes with Japan), but there is another nation which is claiming a lot of territory that belongs to others: the Republic of China aka Taiwan.



So some historical background is needed to understand the above. The ROC was established on the mainland of China following the fall of the Qing dynasty (~1912) and while Taiwan the island was part of Japan. Their control over the ex territory of the Qing Empire waxed and waned following their establishment due to warlords, invasion by Japan, and the Chinese Civil War (these factors overlapped in time periods). After WW2 and Japan's surrender, Taiwan and the chunks of the mainland captured by them were returned to the ROC as they were recognised as the legitimate ruler of China. The civil war turned badly for the ROC to the point that they retreated to Taiwan and a number of nearby islands, and the People's Republic of China was established on the mainland.



Eventually the diplomatic recognition of most of the world switched to the People's Republic of China instead of the Republic of China (mainly around 1971), resulting in that quagmire that looks like it has no easy solution. But the ROC still believes themselves as the rightful rulers of the mainland, with hopes that someday their exleader Chiang Kai-shek and his son would be buried on the mainland.
Some parts of the Qing dynasty territory became part of other nations such as Mongolia, Russia, and India and in most cases these are not disputed anymore by mainland China.

Despite all this, there is one place on the mainland where the symbol of the Republic of China (the blue sky with a white sun) on the mainland. That place is in the mausoleum of Sun Yat Sen, who is considered the father of modern China and who fought against imperial rule.


Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2017, 10:11:06 PM »
and a little bogus geography.   Dude trying to pass Bora Bora off as Guadalcanal

Hope no one was suckered in and bought tix.   They'll be a bit disappointed upon arrival




Not that Guadalcanal wouldn't be interesting.  Oh.  Look.  There's a F4F





Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2017, 09:23:11 PM »
The Diomede islands lie in the Bering Sea between the United States and Russia.  Little Diomede belongs to the US and Big Diomede is Russian territory. 
There are no permanent residents on Big Diomede - only Russian military but there are about 170 permanent residents on Little Diomede.  The islands are
about 2 and half miles apart and during the winter it is possible, although not legal, to walk across the ice between them. In 1987, open water swimmer
Lynne Cox swam between to two islands and was congratulated by both Gorbachev and Reagan. 

Even though they lie so close together the islands are separated by the International Date Line. 




Re: Weird Geographical Information
« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2017, 05:21:05 AM »
Sigmaringen



Sigmaringen is a town of ~18k people in south western Germany on the Danube river. A castle has existed there since the 11th century, before eventually winding up belonging to the Hohenzollern nobles in the 1500s. During the Thirty Years War it was occupied by the Swedes, and from 1806 to 1850 it was the capital of the Principality of Hohenzollern (which joined Prussia).



The reason I find this town interesting is due to this historical footnote:
Following the Allied invasion of France in WW2, the Vichy regime fled to Sigmaringen and the town became a city state ruled by them. The seat of the Vichy government became the Sigmaringen Castle after the gestapo confiscated it from the noble family. Politicians, officials, and soldiers of the Vichy regime were all relocated to the town as the embassies of Germany, Japan and Italy. The Vichy rule of the area came to an end in 1945, when Free French forces captured the city.



The town was also the birthplace of King Ferdinand of Romania, and Frederick Miller (of the Miller Brewery Company) started his brewing career there before emigrating to America.