Page:Frontiers.djvu/46

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44
Frontiers

case for an advance of Frontier on the ground of territorial continuity. In one sense the doctrine is as old as humanity itself. Every occupation or conquest on a coast may be said to carry with it the presumption to a further inland claim. The Power that occupied Cairo, or built Calcutta, was thereby committed to an advance that could not stop at the deltaic region. The famous controversies between the United States and Spain as to the boundaries of Louisiana, after the cession of the latter to America by France in 1803, and between the United States and Great Britain over the Oregon Territory, revolved round the question of the rights conferred by discovery or settlement. At the Berlin Congress, Bosnia and Herzegovina, though inhabited by a Slav people, were handed over to Austria because she already possessed Dalmatia.

But it is, again, for the most part, in Africa, arising out of the emulous descent upon its coasts of the principal European Powers, that the doctrine of Hinterland in its modern aspect has taken formal shape. A double question arises in the case of such occupations, namely, how far they may be supposed to extend laterally, and how far inland. The latter is the Hinterland problem. It is often held that the inland Frontier should extend to the water-divide of the rivers debouching within the line of coast occupation. But any such principle must be open to many exceptions: and the actual extent of Hinterland that is held to belong to any Power depends, in the main, upon the degree to which it succeeds in rendering its authority effective in the interval before it is fixed by international agreement. A forward step in the regularization of coast occupation in Africa was taken by the Agreement of the leading