Summary
Borders are usually defined as geographical boundaries, imposed either by features such as oceans and terrain, or by political entities such as governments, sovereign states, federated states, and other subnational entities. Political borders can be established through warfare, colonization, or mutual agreements between the political entities that reside in those areas; the creation of these agreements is called boundary delimitation. Some borders—such as most states' internal administrative borders, or inter-state borders within the Schengen Area—are open and completely unguarded. Most external political borders are partially or fully controlled, and may be crossed legally only at designated border checkpoints; adjacent border zones may also be controlled. Buffer zones may be set up on borders between belligerent entities to lower the risk of escalation. While border refers to the boundary itself, the area around the border is called the frontier. In the pre-modern world, the term border was vague and could refer to either side of the boundary, thus it was necessary to specify part of it with borderline or borderland. During the medieval period the government's control frequently diminished the further people got from the capital. Therefore borderland (especially impassable terrain) attracted many outlaws, as they often found sympathizers. In the past, many borders were not clearly defined lines; instead there were often intervening areas often claimed and fought over by both sides, sometimes called marchlands. Special cases in modern times were the Saudi Arabian–Iraqi neutral zone from 1922 to 1991 and the Saudi Arabian–Kuwaiti neutral zone from 1922 until 1970. In modern times, marchlands have been replaced by clearly defined and demarcated borders. For the purposes of border control, airports and seaports are also classed as borders. Most countries have some form of border control to regulate or limit the movement of people, animals, and goods into and out of the country.
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