Few issues are more controversial in Malaysia than the country’s National Development Policy, particularly its extensive “affirmative action” provisions that provide economic and social advantages for the majority (61%) indigenous population (“Bumiputeras”) at the expense of the Chinese and Indian communities. Dating back to the early 1970s, this policy has resulted in significant economic gains for the Malay community, but at some economic price for the country as a whole—and at more significant costs for Malaysians of Chinese and Indian background. Although Muslim Malays—and all Malays are automatically registered… – Read More
The recent Iranian presidential election revealed some interesting geographical patterns. The election itself seems to have been reasonably free, although it was undermined by the previous disqualification of reformist candidates. Hassan Rouhani, widely viewed as the most moderate and pragmatic of the six candidates, won election handily. As can be seen in the Wikipedia map posted here, Rouhani took a majority or plurality of votes in all but three provinces, all located in the southwest. Elsewhere in the country, he triumphed in all but a handful… – Read More
An impressive map of China’s per capita GDP by prefecture, reposted here, appeared in late 2012 on the website Skyscraper City, posted by user “Chrissib” Cicerone. According to the map, the two poorest parts of China are in southern Gansu province, an area demographically dominated by Han Chinese, and in southwestern Xinjiang, an area demographically dominated by Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking, Sunni Muslim people.
On the surface, Ecuador and Bolivia exhibit close political similarities. Both countries are led by popular presidents who pursue leftist agendas, taking on multinational corporations, enacting land redistribution, and opposing U.S. interests. In Ecuador, incumbent president Rafael Correa just won an overwhelming victory, besting second-place finisher Guillermo Lasso by a 34 percent margin. In the most recent Bolivian general election (2009), Evo Morales, the socialist incumbent, won a similarly resounding victory, beating challenger Manfred Reyes Villa by a 38 percent margin. The two countries also evince ethno-geographical similarities… – Read More
Media reports of the recent Kenyan presidential election have generally focused on the facts that the contest was not as violent as many feared it would be, and that the winner, Uhuru Kenyatta, has been charged by the International Criminal Court with committing crimes against humanity in relation to the bloody presidential election of 2007. Some articles have also mentioned the intensely ethnic nature of the voting pattern, the topic of today’s GeoNote.
Although the election was relatively close, with Kenyatta receiving just over 50 percent… – Read More
Ghana is often regarded as West Africa’s best-governed country, with a relatively well-established system of democratic rule. Although the Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy Index for 2011 rates Ghana as a “flawed democracy,” it is nonetheless only one of two democracies listed in the region. (Mali appears in the same category on the map, but it has recently lost its democratic status.) Ghana’s December 2012 presidential election reinforced its democratic standing. The election was… – Read More
Fear are mounting that Spain will face a new secession crisis after the government of Catalonia called for a snap election on November 25, which is widely seen as a referendum on enhanced autonomy if not outright independence. The move came shortly after the Madrid government rejected Catalonia’s demand for greater autonomy on taxation issues. Desire for political separation is growing in the region, as evidenced by massive (600,000+) pro-independence demonstrations in Barcelona earlier this month. – Read More
The government of El Salvador has moved to constitutionally recognize the existence of the country’s indigenous peoples, although the measure must first be ratified by the legislature. Ratification looks likely, despite opposition from the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA). The measure would not provide any direct benefits to indigenous peoples, but it could be used to help protect them against discrimination. – Read More
Yakutia, officially the Sakha Republic of the Russian Federation, is a land of extremes. To begin with, it is by far the world’s largest “stateoid,” or political unit below the level of the sovereign state, covering 3,103,200 square kilometers (1,198,000 square miles), as opposed to second-place Western Australia’s 2,527,621 square kilometers (975,919 square miles). More than twice the size of Alaska, Yakutia would be the world’s eighth largest country by area if it were independent, barely trailing India. Unlike most other huge stateoids around the world, Yakutia has… – Read More
A tremendously useful website, with a wealth of cartographic resources, on the indigenous peoples of North America is Bryan A. Strome’s First Nations Seeker. Strome’s comprehensive list of indigenous groups—called “First Nations” in Canada—is organized linguistically. Strome himself has constructed a detailed map showing all the various groups, and for each particular nation he links to a variety of additional maps and other information sources.
Intriguingly—and appropriately—Strone also includes indigenous groups of northeastern Siberia. Note, on the map detail posted here, the “Sirenikski” people… – Read More
Connecticut has stark contrasts in prosperity and social development, including educational quality. The map showing the percentage of students of color in Connecticut school districts demonstrates that a handful of urban areas have high concentrations of people of color, while many of the school districts in the state have mostly white students. Unfortunately, it was impossible to locate the source of the map about students’ race and ethnicity, but the 2010 United States Census reflects many of its statistics. A comparison between this map and… – Read More
A comment from a GeoCurrents reader last week mentioned the linguistic situation in Latvia, where almost 40 percent of the population speaks Russian rather than Latvian as a first language. As it so happens, Latvia recently held a referendum on whether to elevate Russian to the status of a second official language. The election attracted a large turnout, more than 70 percent of the electorate, and the proposition was decisively defeated, gaining only about a quarter of the vote. Asya Pereltsvaig has analyzed this problematic vote… – Read More
On April 6, 2012, the Tuareg rebels declared the independence of the territory under their control in northern Mali, deeming the country “Azawad.” Within hours, the Wikipedia had posted an article on The Independent State of Azawad, – Read More
The fantastic map trove at Columbia University’s Gulf 2000 Project, generated by cartographer M. Izady, continues to expand. Many detailed maps of language, religion, ethnicity, and cultural-historical regions in the greater Middle East are found on the site.
Today’s GeoNote highlights Izady’s map of “Primary Cultural and Historical Zones.” This map makes an invaluable companion for historical sources covering the region. Regional terms, such as Khurasan, Hadramout, and Hijaz are often encountered in such works… – Read More
Previous GeoCurrents posts on historical instances of genocide have elicited critical comments from several readers, including one who took us to task for not mentioning genocidal events perpetuated by the United States. There is no denying that the U.S. government has been guilty of numerous genocidal assaults on indigenous communities. The United States engaged in wholesale “Indian removal,” often disregarding accommodations made by indigenous groups to American rule. The classic case was… – Read More