Tripoint
Overview
 
A tripoint, or trijunction (also, if inexactly, known as tri-border area), is a geographical
Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

 point at which the border
Border
Borders define geographic boundaries of political entities or legal jurisdictions, such as governments, sovereign states, federated states and other subnational entities. Some borders—such as a state's internal administrative borders, or inter-state borders within the Schengen Area—are open and...

s of three countries
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

 or subnational entities meet.

There are currently 157 international tripoints (i.e., tricountry points) by some accounts, and as many as 176 (or even 207) by others, but in any case these counts include a few condominial and buffered trijunctions that are technically tri lines or tri areas rather than simply tripoints.
Encyclopedia
A tripoint, or trijunction (also, if inexactly, known as tri-border area), is a geographical
Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

 point at which the border
Border
Borders define geographic boundaries of political entities or legal jurisdictions, such as governments, sovereign states, federated states and other subnational entities. Some borders—such as a state's internal administrative borders, or inter-state borders within the Schengen Area—are open and...

s of three countries
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

 or subnational entities meet.

There are currently 157 international tripoints (i.e., tricountry points) by some accounts, and as many as 176 (or even 207) by others, but in any case these counts include a few condominial and buffered trijunctions that are technically tri lines or tri areas rather than simply tripoints. Nearly half of these usually exact but sometimes slightly indefinite places are situated not on dry land but in rivers or lakes or seas. When on dry land, the exact tripoints are usually demarcated by the center or vertex of special (but highly various) markers or pillars. Often and increasingly such places are also the sites of sometimes extensive monumental memorials and expositions.

Usually, the more neighbours a country has, the more international tripoints that country has. China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 with 16 tripoints and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 with 11 to 14 lead the list of states by number of tripoints. Within Europe, landlocked Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 has nine tripoints, among them two with Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 and Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east. Its area is just over , and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz. The biggest town is Schaan...

. Island countries such as the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 or Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 have no tricountry points (some, like Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

 and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, have tripoints in the territorial waters
Territorial waters
Territorial waters, or a territorial sea, as defined by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, is a belt of coastal waters extending at most from the baseline of a coastal state...

), nor have states with only one neighbour state, like Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 or Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

. Likewise the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 with two neighbour states has no tricountry points; it has a number of tristate points as well as one point where four states meet.

Border junctions (or "multiple points" or "multipoints" as they are also sometimes called) are most typically threefold. (Hence their commonest names "tripoint," "trijunction," "triple point," "triune point" "trifinium," "triplex confinium" etc.) But like clover they are also found in a much less common alternative fourfold arrangement, which accordingly is known as a quadripoint
Quadripoint
A quadripoint is a point on the Earth that touches the border of four distinct territories. The term has never been in common use—it may not have been used before 1964, by the Geographer of the United States...

, "quadruple point," etc. (And there are even a handful of still more multiple combinations so rare that they are not normally acknowledged or known by any names, but may nevertheless be informally grouped into a small handful of fivefold points, as well as probably unique examples of a sixfold, sevenfold, and eightfold point respectively. No more than eight borders are known to meet at a single multipoint anywhere on earth. But various and in some cases conflicting territorial claims of six countries have historically converged and by some accounts still do converge at the south pole in a point of elevenfold complexity.)

It is often illegal to pass a national border outside border controls, and therefore illegal to walk around many tripoint markers. According to the Schengen
Schengen Area
The Schengen Area comprises the territories of twenty-five European countries that have implemented the Schengen Agreement signed in the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, in 1985...

 rules, it is illegal to pass the outside border of the Schengen area except at border controls. But it is legal to pass the border between two Schengen countries at any place. Countries with good relations will generally have the checkpoints a bit off the technical border line to allow tourists to walk around border marker monuments without getting in the way of immigration authorities.

Examples

Well known international tripoints include:
  • the Treriksröset
    Treriksröset
    Treriksröset , Treriksrøysa , Kolmen valtakunnan rajapyykki is the point at which the borders of Sweden, Norway and Finland meet....

     tripoint of Finland
    Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

    , Norway
    Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

     and Sweden
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

     (the exact point is in a lake, but a marker is built on that point)
  • the Vaalserberg
    Vaalserberg
    The Vaalserberg is a hill 322.7 metres in height and the highest point in the European part of the Netherlands. The Vaalserberg is located in the province of Limburg, at the south-easternmost edge of the country in the municipality of Vaals, near the eponymous town, some three kilometres west of...

     of the Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

    , Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

     and Belgium
    Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

  • the "Dreiländereck" of Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    , France
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

     and Switzerland
    Switzerland
    Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

     (the exact point is in the river and the monument is not on the exact point)
  • the Schengen tripoint of Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    , France
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

     and Luxembourg
    Luxembourg
    Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

     (the exact point is in the river)
  • the Triple Frontier
    Triple Frontier
    The Triple Frontier is a tri-border area along the junction of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil, where the Iguazú and Paraná rivers converge. Near the convergence are the cities of Ciudad del Este, Alto Paraná; Puerto Iguazú, Misiones and Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná...

     of Argentina
    Argentina
    Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

    , Brazil
    Brazil
    Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

     and Paraguay
    Paraguay
    Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

  • the Tres Fronteras
    Tres Fronteras
    Tres Fronteras is the Spanish name for an area of the Amazon Rainforest, noted for its natural beauty, where Brazil, Peru, and Colombia meet...

     of Brazil
    Brazil
    Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

    , Peru
    Peru
    Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

     and Colombia
    Colombia
    Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

  • the Mont Dolent
    Mont Dolent
    Mont Dolent is a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif that lies on the border of Italy and Switzerland.It is generally considered the tripoint between France, Italy and Switzerland, although the point itself lies at 3,749 metres, north-west of the summit of Mont Dolent.The first ascent of the...

     of Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

    , France
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

     and Switzerland
    Switzerland
    Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

  • the historic Three Emperors' Corner
    Three Emperors' Corner
    Three Emperors' Corner is a former tripoint at the confluence of the Black and White Przemsza rivers, near the town of Mysłowice in the present-day Silesian Voivodeship of Poland.-History:...

     of Austria–Hungary, the Russian
    Russian Empire
    The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

     and German Empire
    German Empire
    The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

  • the historic Cima Garibaldi (Ortles) of Austria–Hungary, the Kingdom of Italy and Switzerland
    Switzerland
    Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

  • the historic Rock of the Three Kingdoms
    Rock of the Three Kingdoms
    The Rock of the Three Kingdoms , known also as Fragua dos Tres Reinos in Galicia, is a rocky formation of 1025 meter of altitude in the Sierra del Marabón, part of the mountainous system of Sierra de la Culebra , that was the former tripoint between the three ancient medieval kingdoms of Portugal,...

     between the former kingdoms of Galicia
    Kingdom of Galicia
    The Kingdom of Galicia was a political entity located in southwestern Europe, which at its territorial zenith occupied the entire northwest of the Iberian Peninsula. Founded by Suebic king Hermeric in the year 409, the Galician capital was established in Braga, being the first kingdom which...

    , León
    Kingdom of León
    The Kingdom of León was an independent kingdom situated in the northwest region of the Iberian Peninsula. It was founded in AD 910 when the Christian princes of Asturias along the northern coast of the peninsula shifted their capital from Oviedo to the city of León...

     and Portugal
    Kingdom of Portugal
    The Kingdom of Portugal was Portugal's general designation under the monarchy. The kingdom was located in the west of the Iberian Peninsula, Europe and existed from 1139 to 1910...

     (nowadays part of the border between Kingdom of Spain and the Portuguese Republic).
  • the Tossal dels Tres Reis
    Tossal dels Tres Reis
    Tossal dels Tres Reis or Tossal del Rei is a mountain of the Ports de Tortosa-Beseit massif, Spain. It has an altitude of 1350 metres above sea level....

     ('Peak of the Three Kings'), located where the borders of the ancient Kingdoms of Valencia
    Kingdom of Valencia
    The Kingdom of Valencia , located in the eastern shore of the Iberian Peninsula, was one of the component realms of the Crown of Aragon. When the Crown of Aragon merged by dynastic union with the Crown of Castile to form the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Valencia became a component realm of the...

    , Catalonia
    Catalonia
    Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

     and Aragon
    Kingdom of Aragon
    The Kingdom of Aragon was a medieval and early modern kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula, corresponding to the modern-day autonomous community of Aragon, in Spain...

     meet.

For a full list, see list of tripoints.

See also

  • List of tripoints of English counties
  • Tri-state area
    Tri-state area
    There are a number of areas in the 48 contiguous United States known as tri-state areas where three states either meet at one point or are in proximity to each other. The best known of the latter type is the New York metropolitan area...

  • Quadripoint
    Quadripoint
    A quadripoint is a point on the Earth that touches the border of four distinct territories. The term has never been in common use—it may not have been used before 1964, by the Geographer of the United States...

  • Maritime boundary
    Maritime boundary
    Maritime boundary is a conceptual means of division of the water surface of the planet into maritime areas that are defined through surrounding physical geography or by human geography. As such it usually includes areas of exclusive national rights over the mineral and biological resources,...


External links

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