This is Geography Awareness Week, so let’s get more aware about just how unusual the borders of the U.S. are.
It’s probably no surprise that the northernmost point in the country is in Alaska: Nuvuk, or Point Barrow, which is above the Arctic Circle.
It’s probably also not a surprise that America’s westernmost point, at least by longitude, is also in Alaska, part of the Aleutian Islands.
But so is the easternmost point by longitude.
The Aleutians stretch so far out into the Pacific Ocean that they actually cross the International Date Line; they’re as far away from the Prime Meridian as any spot in the country.
By other measures, the furthest points east and west in the country are on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands and on Guam, respectively.
They’re quite far away from each other, but both locations are named Point Udall.
And the furthest point south is Rose Atoll in American Samoa, which is east of Australia.
As for the center?
Geographically it’s in western South Dakota; there’s a marker you can visit.
But there’s another marker in Lebanon, Kansas, because that was the geographic center before Alaska and Hawaii became states and people still like to visit.
However you see the boundaries, there’s likely to be an interesting spot to visit there.
The map is a fascinating place, and one big reason is because it changes.
For years, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera was an island off the coast of Morocco controlled by Spain.
But in 1930, a storm sent enough sand flying to create a tiny land border between the Spanish military installation and Morocco.
It’s actually kind of a complicated situation, so no, they don’t get a lot of visitors.
The Surprising Easternmost Point in the US (Wendover Productions)
The last remains of the Spanish empire (El Pais)