A map such as this is a way of organizing the world into distinctly defined nations. But the lines on a map can and often do differ from what is true in the physical and political world that map attempts to represent.
Many of the lines on international maps—especially the straight ones—were a creation of colonial convenience, explains Stanford geography professor Martin Lewis, but have proved to have remarkable staying power.
Borders clearly define national borders on paper, says Martin Lewis, but the country in question may not actually control all that territory.
See the map of Somalia, below, for another example.
That's also the title of the talk that professor Lewis will present to the World Affairs Council of Sonoma County onThursday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 pm at Spring Lake Village in Santa Rosa. To see a full-length video presentation of Lewis speaking on "Misled by the Map," click here.
The map below shows the difficulty in representing a politically volatile area, such as Somalia, an area now "governed" by multiple regional entities, as shown in the color key. Note the disclaimer at the bottom.