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A landlocked country is a country that is unsurprisingly surrounded by land.
But sometimes, the world just doesn't like making sense because 9 landlocked countries right now
have an active naval force and 8 more have some water-based military forces,
which means that 35% of all landlocked countries have some kind of navy.
Three of these: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan
all border the Caspian sea and operate their navies there, but since the Caspian sea has no natural link
to the world's oceans, they're all still considered to be landlocked. There's a few other landlocked countries that have navies, but none of them are
more interesting than the three examples this video is going to focus on: Mongolia, Bolivia, and Switzerland.
Let's start with Mongolia, who over 700 years ago, had the largest navy in the world when they tried to invade Japan
twice, but failed twice; the first time with 800 ships in the second time with
4,400 ships. The Mongol Empire really isn't what it used to be these days and modern Mongolia is landlocked between Russia and China,
but the modern Mongol navy can proudly say that it has never been defeated. The mighty fleet consists of one tugboat named the Sukhbataar 3
and her crew of seven sailors, one of whom is even said to be able to swim.
So six guys that can't swim, one who can, and a tugboat may not sound like that much of a navy, but they operate the ship here on Lake Khövsgöl close to the border with Russia and the entire reason it exists is to
simply transport oil from the north side over to the south side. Yeah, pretty exciting right?
Let's move over to the Bolivian navy next, which compared to the Mongols, is actually pretty serious with 5,000 sailors and
173 vessels. They do some serious stuff like patrolling their rivers to stop drug traffickers, but the largest reason a landlocked country
has this large of a navy is a symbolic one since bolivia used to not be landlocked.
Over a hundred and thirty years ago, Chile fought a war with Bolivia and took over their coastline since there's wasn't already long enough and
Bolivia has basically never forgotten about this right up until the modern day. The Bolivian navy largely
exists to keep the hope alive of one day
covering their coastline, which can be seen during one of the largest holidays in the country called Dia del Mar or Day of the Sea,
in which every year Bolivia reaffirms its claim to a coast
somewhere, but perhaps the most substantial and interesting navy of a landlocked country can be found in Switzerland. Despite being landlocked,
Switzerland has a long tradition of navigation out on the open ocean and even today, you can spot merchant ships flying the Swiss flag,
but
how do they get there? It all started back in 1941 when Switzerland was faced with a crisis of being completely surrounded by axis occupation.
Neutral Switzerland couldn't trade with the allies without the goods being transported or flown over access occupied territory, but somewhat uniquely for a landlocked country,
Switzerland does have a natural way to
access the world's oceans. The answer was the river Rhine in the port city of Basel, which became the home port of the Swiss merchant marine.
Through vessel, ships transporting cargo can navigate up the Rhine into the port of Rotterdam
in the Netherlands, which connects Switzerland with the global sea trade network. This natural advantage enabled Switzerland to continue trading with the allies
during the second world war and it continues to provide a substantial
amount of Swiss imports and exports
today. The first ships in Switzerland merchant marine were owned by the government, but after the war ended, it gradually became
privatized. Today, a merchant fleet of 37 ships are flying the Swiss flag out of the open ocean and are operated by six different
companies. Just because you're surrounded by land doesn't mean that you can't or shouldn't have a naval presence,
but Switzerland has won for very real and practical reasons,
Bolivia has won for mostly symbolic reasons, and Mongolia has won because
well probably just because having a navy gives you some street cred on the world stage. If you think it's absurd that
35% of landlocked countries have a navy, where there's no way to measure the length of a country that does have a coast, or that a lake can kill thousands of people and cattle
overnight, then you know that I love figuring out all
kinds of absurd scenarios, making sense of it and explaining them to you, but as much as I love doing so, I think that everyone should have this
skill and the best way is to practice it yourself over at Brilliant.org
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Why Landlocked Countries Still Have Navies

48 Folder Collection
Taka published on November 20, 2019
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