An archipelagic state is an island country that consists of an archipelago. The designation is legally defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). In various conferences, The Bahamas, Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines are the five original sovereign states that obtained approval in the UNCLOS signed in Montego Bay, Jamaica on 10 December 1982 and qualified as the archipelagic states.
Archipelagic states are composed of groups of islands forming a state as a single unit, with the islands and the waters within the baselines as internal waters. Under this concept ("archipelagic doctrine"), an archipelago shall be regarded as a single unit, so that the waters around, between, and connecting the islands of the archipelago, irrespective of their breadth and dimensions, form part of the internal waters of the state, and are subject to its exclusive sovereignty. The baselines must enclose the main islands of the archipelago, and the enclosed water to land ratio must be "between 1:1 and 9:1".
The approval of the United Nations (UN) for the five sovereign states as archipelagic states respect existing agreements with other countries and shall recognize traditional fishing rights and other legitimate activities of the immediately adjacent neighboring countries in certain areas falling within archipelagic waters. The terms and conditions for the exercise of such rights and activities, including the nature, the extent and the areas to which they apply, shall, at the request of any of the countries concerned, be regulated by bilateral agreements between them. Such rights shall not be transferred to or shared with third countries or their nationals.
As of 20 June 2015, a total of 22 sovereign states have sought to claim archipelagic status.
List of archipelagic states
This is a list of the current archipelagic states in the world. These 22 island countries have sought to claim archipelagic status by utilising the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea provisions.
Bolded are the five original official archipelagic states.
|State||Geographical configuration||Geological type||Population||Area (km2)||Population
|Antigua and Barbuda||One archipelago with two main islands||Oceanic||97,118||440||194||Caribbean Sea|
|Bahamas||One archipelago||Oceanic||392,000||13,878||23.27||North Atlantic Ocean|
|Cape Verde||One archipelago||Oceanic||518,467||4,033||125.5||North Atlantic Ocean|
|Comoros||One archipelago with three main islands||Oceanic||784,745||2,235||275||Indian Ocean|
|Dominican Republic||One archipelago with the main island (Hispaniola) shared with another country (Haiti)||Continental||10,652,000||48,442||208.2||Caribbean Sea|
|Fiji||One archipelago with two main islands||Various[note 1]||859,178||18,274||46.4||South Pacific Ocean|
|Grenada[note 2]||One archipelago with two main islands||Oceanic||110,000||344||319.8||Caribbean Sea|
|Indonesia||One archipelago with three islands (Borneo, New Guinea, and Timor) shared with four other countries (Brunei, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and Timor-Leste).||Various[note 3]||270,203,917||1,904,569||124.7||World Ocean|
|Jamaica||One archipelago with one main island||Various[note 4]||2,847,232||10,991||252||Caribbean Sea|
|Kiribati||Three archipelagos||Oceanic||123,346||811||152||Pacific Ocean|
|Maldives||One archipelago||Oceanic||329,198||298||1,105||Indian Ocean|
|Marshall Islands||Two archipelagos||Oceanic||62,000||181||342.5||North Pacific Ocean|
|Mauritius||Two archipelagos[clarification needed] with two main islands||Oceanic||1,244,663||2,040||610||Indian Ocean, East Africa|
|Papua New Guinea||One archipelago with the main island (New Guinea) shared with another country (Indonesia)||Continental shelf||6,732,000||462,840||14.5||Pacific Ocean, Melanesia|
|Philippines||One archipelago||Continental shelf||101,398,120||300,000||295||Pacific Ocean, Malay Archipelago|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Archipelago with one main island||Continental shelf||120,000||389||307||Caribbean Sea, Windward Islands|
|São Tomé and Príncipe||One archipelago with two main islands||Continental shelf||163,000||1,001||169.1||Atlantic Ocean, Central Africa|
|Seychelles||Four archipelagos||Oceanic||87,500||455||192||Indian Ocean, East Africa|
|Solomon Islands||Five archipelagos||Oceanic||523,000||28,400||18.1||Pacific Ocean, Melanesia|
|Trinidad and Tobago||One archipelago with two main islands||Continental shelf||1,299,953||5,131||254.4||Caribbean Sea, Windward Islands|
|Tuvalu||One archipelago||Oceanic||12,373||26||475.88||Pacific Ocean, Polynesia|
|Vanuatu||One archipelago||Oceanic||243,304||12,190||19.7||Pacific Ocean, Melanesia|
- ^ Viti Levu is continental while some small offshore islands are oceanic.
- ^ Including Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
- ^ The geology of Indonesia is very complex, as the country is located at a meeting point of several tectonic plates. Indonesia is located between two continental plates: Australian Plate (Sahul Shelf) and the Eurasian Plate (Sunda Shelf); and between two oceanic plates: the Pacific Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate.
- ^ The main island is continental while some offshore islands, such as the Morant Cays, are oceanic.
- ^ "Preamble to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: Article 46 – Use of Terms". United Nations. May 13, 2013.
- ^ "United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982". United Nations. May 13, 2013.
- ^ "Semaphore: April 2005". www.navy.gov.au. Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
- ^ "2 laws UNLCOS 200 and Archipelagic States to End Spratlys Disputes: THE ARCHIPELAGIC STATES". Rebuilding for the Better Philippines. May 13, 2013.
- ^ "PART IV ARCHIPELAGIC STATES: Article 51 – Existing agreements, traditional fishing rights and existing submarine cables". United Nations. May 13, 2013.
- ^ a b Archipelagic States Practice
- ^ The Law of the Sea — Practice of Archipelagic States
- ^ United Nations Environment Programme – Island Directory
- ^ "Island Countries Of The World". WorldAtlas.com. Archived from the original on 2017-12-07. Retrieved 2019-08-10.
- ^ Analysis on the legitimacy of the Declaration of the Dominican Republic as an Archipelagic State and its legality under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the international law