5. Falkland Islands
Not every modern-day sovereignty dispute takes place in the Pacific. Located near the southern tip of South America, controversy over the governance of the Falklands hit its peak in 1982 with the Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom. Thousands of mines left by the Argentine military still lurk in the waters surrounding the islands to this day.
Although diplomatic relations between the two countries have, of course, normalized since the dispute 30 years ago, the Falklands can still be a sore point between both sides. Just this year, a legal decision over oil exploration around the Falklands drew heated responses, with Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner describing the United Kingdom’s claim as a relic of the colonial past.
A vote scheduled for early 2013, however, will give the 3,000 residents of the Falkland Islands the right to self-determination, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
Although these disputes may have claims from both sides dating back centuries, these long-standing issues aren’t irreconcilable. In the 20th century, the United States had its share of territorial disputes with other nations. The Department of the Interior lists 30 islands or atolls once claimed by both the United States and a foreign power. In all cases, the matters were settled, and no remaining claims are still outstanding.