Would nearby bodies of water count as geography of a state?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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First of all, there is no official definition of what counts as “the geography” of a state.  However, I would say that any body of water that touches a given state would count as part of its geography.  If the body of water is only “nearby,” but does not touch it, it would probably not be counted.

One source that can help us with this is The National Geographic Bee Ultimate Fact Book, a copy of which I have on my desk at the moment.  This book is meant to help people who are trying to study for the National Geographic Bee.  It lists various facts about countries, including the bodies of water that are associated with them.  Let us look at its entry for Portugal.  It lists the Atlantic Ocean in Portugal’s geography because that is a body of water that touches Portugal.  However, it does not list the Mediterranean Sea or the Straits of Gibraltar as part of Portugal’s geography because those do not touch Portugal even though they are nearby. 

Given the evidence from the National Geographic book, I would say that any body of water that touches the state is part of its geography, but bodies of water that are only “nearby” are not. 

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