Oceans and coastlines form an indispensable part of the geography, culture and economy of any country. From various economic activities like trade, shipping, fishing and tourism to cultural and historical impact on the people, the coastlines have a life of their own. Here is a list of countries with longest coastlines in the world.
Countries With Longest Coastline
Apart from being the country with the longest coastline, Canada is also the second largest country in the world. It is bordered by three oceans – the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the East and the Arctic Ocean to the north. In fact, all except two provinces in Canada have a coastline of their own. Because of the large geographical expanse, the coastlines have different ecosystems and wildlife. Canada is also one of the coldest countries in the world. Moreover, since Canada has many Island surrounding the mainland, the coastline area increases manifold. Canada is also one of the happiest countries in the world.
This South-east Asian country is not very large but is made up of many islands and has a total coastline of 34 thousand miles. The islands and coastlines exhibit a great diversity in terms of habitat and ecosystem. Some islands have dense mangrove vegetation while others have been fully used for building infrastructure and developing them as tourist attractions. In Indonesia, the smaller islands are more popular with tourists since they are more picturesque. The coast forms a very important part of the economy of this country since many activities like fishing, prawn cultivation and tourism are dependent on the coast.
This country located in the extreme north between the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans is a biodiversity hub because of the unique habitat it has on the coast. The cold climate makes this country home to some arctic animals like Arctic foxes, lemmings, birds and polar bears while the aquatic species to flourish here due to the undisturbed surroundings. Narwhales, beluga whales and blue whales are found off the coast of Greenland making it a popular destination for studying marine biology. Greenland is largest island in the world carrying 8 percent of the total fresh water available on Earth in the form of ice sheets.
The largest country in the world in terms of area, Russia is also one of the countries with longest coastlines in the world. The country is surrounded by multiple oceans and seas – Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Black Sea, Caspian Sea and Sea of Azov and the total length of its coastline is over 23000 miles. The major cities in Russia too are located along the coast and very few populated cities are present inland. St. Petersburg, Vladivostok, Yalta and Kaliningrad are all coastal cities. It is also one of the countries with largest forest area in the world.
The Philippines has a very small land area and compared to this, the coastline is very long. This is mainly because it is a nation of islands and consists of more than 7500 islands of different sizes. The islands are of a very irregular shape and have many water bodies that continue inland. Like Russia, most of the major cities in the Philippines too are coastal cities and they are more densely populated than cities located inland. Fishing is a major economic activity in the Philippines and many households depend on it as a sustenance activity. Beaches and spectacular marine beauty also attract many tourists to this country making tourism one of the main businesses.
The most technologically and economically advanced Asian country, Japan has a very small area but since it consists of over 6000 islands. hence, it is one of the countries with longest coastlines. The coastline is very large of over 18000 miles. Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku are the main four islands that are the most densely populated and have the highest economic activity. Japan also has some of the largest seaports in the world and this trade is possible only because of its long coastline. Fishing, whaling and other aquaculture related activities are practised by many and agriculture too are concentrated around the coastal cities because of easy accessibility of resources.
This large country has one of the longest coastlines in the world because of the sheer size of the landmass. Australia has a coastline of just over 16000 miles and has more than 10000 beaches. There are a wide variety of natural formations on the coastline like mangroves, coves, caves, coral reefs and cliffs. This has boosted the tourism industry in Australia and today it forms an important part of the economy. Most of the major Australian cities too are located along the coast and almost all the population lives on the coast.
Norway is on the Scandinavian Peninsula along with Finland and Sweden and consists of many islands and archipelagos apart from the mainland. It is surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Ocean and Barnet’s Sea and has many unique geological features along the coast. Oslo, the capital of Norway is located close to the sea and like other countries on this list, most major cities in Norway too are situated along the coast. Norway is famous for the spectacular atmospheric phenomenon called Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.Jostedalsbreen Glacier located in Norway is one of the most beautiful glaciers in the world.
9. The United States of America
The United Stated of America is one of the countries with largest coastlines since it is surrounded by four water bodies – Arctic Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Because of its strategic position in the middle of the important shipping and trade lanes, the US has a natural geopolitical advantage that it has effectively used in the past. Of the fifty states, 23 have their own coastline and Alaska has the longest coast of over 6000 miles. Some of the cities in the US listed under best beach cities in the world. The US has a 12380-mile-long seaboard. Cape Coral, a city in Florida, based in the United States is known as one of the most beautiful canal cities in the world.
The southernmost continent on Earth, this frozen land has a coastline of over 11000 miles and is covered perpetually in ice. The vast number and types of ice formations on the Antarctic coast give it a unique appearance and it is also home to some very peculiar wildlife. The penguins live on the coast of this continent and many aquatic animals like whales, orcas and seals can be spotted here. The southern edges of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans together from the Southern Ocean and surround Antarctica on all sides. It is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination but scientists fear that the damage done by a large number of tourists could harm the endemic wildlife.
Beaches and sand are every vacationer’s dream but all the countries with longest coastlines may be under threat because f multiple factors we as humans choose to turn a blind eye to. The disastrous effects of global warming are beginning to take their toll on the coastlines of the world as rising sea levels threaten the very existence of the coastal cities mentioned in this list. If the trend is not reversed immediately, the geography of the world will irreparable change for the worse and we will just have to stand back and watch as our beloved beaches get swallowed up by the water.