Ever glanced at a map of the world and stopped to wonder why some countries have seemingly nonsensical shapes? You can find the answers — or some of them, anyway — in our ongoing Mad Maps series.
Episode 1: The Bizarre ‘Border Salad’ of Central Asia’s Ferghana Valley
The crazy national boundaries of Tajiksitan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan in the Ferghana Valley have the power to spark violence. Who made them so complicated? Here’s a hint: Stalin had quite a bit to do with it.
Episode 2: Why Does India Have A ‘Chicken Neck’?
We look at how India ended up with a strange-looking, inconvenient “chicken neck,” thanks to the British Empire:
Episode 3: Those Crazy Panhandles And What A Pain They Can Be
Some of the wackiest-looking borders around the world contain so-called panhandles — for example, Namibia’s huge “landing strip” sticking out of its northeast corner. In this episode, we look at how and why many of the world’s panhandles were created, and what a headache they can be:
Episode 4: How Kaliningrad Became A Part Of Russia
Seventy-five years have passed since the German city of Koenigsberg and the surrounding area became Kaliningrad, now an odd piece of Russia disconnected from the rest of the country. So how did a German region become a Russian exclave, and what role does it play for Russia today?
This post was originally published on Radio Free.