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Articles in North America

The Sovereignty of Non-Sovereign Tribes =

By Martin W. Lewis | March 30, 2010 |

The federally recognized Native American groups of the United States are held to possess “tribal sovereignty.” The autonomy they enjoy is obviously limited, as the U.S. government maintains considerable control. But as we saw in yesterday’s post, sovereignty in practice is a divisible bundle of powers, which can be shared between a supreme political

The Sovereignty of Non-Sovereign States

By Martin W. Lewis | March 29, 2010 | 2 Comments

The concept of sovereignty is a foundation of global politics. The countries that constitute the international system are supposedly defined by their ability to exercise supreme political authority over their entire territorial domains. But sovereignty in practice is often qualified, its limits varying as the context changes. This is particularly true in the United States

Misleading Historical Maps

By Martin W. Lewis | March 12, 2010 | 4 Comments

Many maps are misleading, but few are as consistently deceptive as the basic historical-political maps that fill the pages of most historical atlases. Such maps usually portray the polities of past, whether smallish kingdoms or vast empires, as if they were clearly bounded entities that exercised full control over their territorial domains. In actuality, most

The New State of Coastal California?

By Martin W. Lewis | February 25, 2010 | 2 Comments

In 2009, former California legislator Bill Maze proposed dividing his state, hiving off thirteen counties as Coastal (or Western) California (see map). Maze, a conservative from the agricultural Central Valley, objects to the domination of state politics by the left-leaning Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas. The initial impetus for his proposal

The Mendocino Marijuana Economy

By Martin W. Lewis | January 19, 2010 |

As mentioned recently in this blog, organized criminal activity supposedly accounts for seven percent of the total value of goods and services produced annually in Italy. But that figure is nothing compared to the illicit economy of Afghanistan, where a 2007 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report argued claimed that opium accounted

The Marshall Islands and the U.S.

By Martin W. Lewis | January 7, 2010 |

The Marshall Islands is a sovereign state in the Pacific Ocean, recognized as such by its fellow members of the United Nations. But the Marshall Islands forms an unusual country in several regards. Its population is small (62,000) and its land area meager (70 square miles), yet its tiny atolls spread across a vast swath

The Country of Greenland

By Martin W. Lewis | January 3, 2010 | One Comment

There is no single, unambiguous term in the English language to denote the sovereign entities that form the bedrock of the global political system. We often call them “nations,” but strictly speaking a “nation” is a group of people who either have or aspire to have a sovereign entity of their own

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