The 5 Stupidest Things Ever Done With Borders

#2. India and Pakistan Argue Over a Worthless Border Glacier

India and Pakistan are like the bickering brothers of nation-states -- their sibling rivalry is so ingrained that they wind up arguing about things that don't matter, just for the sake of arguing. A case in point is the bitter dispute over which of them owns the Siachen Glacier -- a piece of land so incredibly useless that any nation in their right mind wouldn't pay to take it. The problem is that when India and Pakistan were first drawing up their borders, nobody bothered to figure out exactly how the border would cut through Siachen Glacier, because the 20,000-foot-high deathtrap is so inhospitable that they couldn't even get to it, let alone send a team of surveyors through there.

Getty
"Send a message back to command. Tell them this place can eat every single dick."

So, they just agreed that India ended and Pakistan began at some indeterminate point over the barren wasteland. That was fine, for a while. Then, in 1984, Pakistan began issuing permits for people to climb around in the Siachen Glacier area. Just like a kid who isn't interested in playing with a turd until his sibling picks it up, India immediately claimed that the glacier was theirs, and history's most pointless war has been raging ever since.

India was first to secure around 900 square miles of territory with a 300-troop force. Pakistan showed up to the party late, and secured all the land that was left. They have been playing tug-of-war ever since, and today the Siachen Glacier is the highest battlefield in the world, and one of the most dangerous, but not because of the shooting -- more troops are killed by the elements than are ever killed by enemy gunfire. The Indians even had to design a special helicopter to reach and supply troops up there because the air is so thin.

Natural Beauty
"Quick, fire it! I can use the flames from the rocket to warm my hands!"

So what's so important about establishing the border on the Siachen Glacier? Nothing. Nothing at all, besides the fact that if one side backs off, the other will get a symbolic victory, which is something everyone is willing to freeze to death to prevent.

#1. The Town That Got Scrambled

Aloxe

What, you thought that Inception-style enclave-within-an-enclave thing we had earlier was as crazy as they got? Welcome to the town of Baarle-Hertog, an ordinary town in Belgium, except that it's also in the Netherlands, and if you lived there, you might very well not know what country you're in at any one time. Here's a map:

BLDG BLOG
It looks like somebody dropped the town and it shattered.

The city is split between the Netherlands and Belgium in 24 separate divisions of land, some no larger than a Little League baseball field. This madness came about back in the Middle Ages, when feudal lords would gamble with chunks of their land instead of money. Today, having international borders running rampant through the streets like this has led to some quirky situations where the border will run straight through houses or buildings that have been built since. Or, through the dining area of a cafe:

Jerome
"Hey, you spilled your coffee." "Screw it, it's Belgium's problem now."

Some have even taken advantage of the screwy legal situation this presents. Like when Dutch laws required restaurants to close at a certain time, restaurants on the border would simply move their patrons to the Belgian side.

Then there's one story about a bank that had an ingenious method for money laundering -- Dutch authorities knew they were doing something criminal, but couldn't get to the vault since, even though the entrance was in the Netherlands, the vault was in Belgium. But likewise, Belgian authorities couldn't enter the entrance because it was in the Netherlands. So they both had to sit idly by and watch it happen, until someone had the amazing idea that the two nations should work together to make the bust. Now that's thinking outside the box.

Getty
"... and eventually, we all just sort of decided 'Fuck those guys.'"

Thanks to Kier Harris for the Canusa Avenue entry. You can find Xavier Jackson on Facebook or email him at XavierJacksonCracked@gmail.com.

For more ridiculous disputes, check out The 5 Most Retarded Wars Ever Fought. Or learn about The 7 Most Insane True Stories of Neighbors from Hell.

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