Global Slice 🌍: Land and Ocean Ownership



Council on Hemispheric Affairs: .

The Top 15 Landowners

[ The table and chart below are based on the Business Insider link, itself based on the book by Kevin Cahill, . Reviewed in . Note “Debbie”‘s review which says some statistics are uneven, like comparing apples with oranges.

I’m not sure how useful this is. The Queen, for example, may own Australia, but she can’t suddenly grab all of it to build palaces on. But they’re striking statistics, and Cahill thinks they demonstrate an important point about surviving feudal ownership. If we use this, it needs checking against tables in the print copy of New Statesman, or (presumably) of Cahill’s book. The web copy of New Statesman lacks the tables, and I can’t access the book, so I reconstituted them from the Business Insider article. I don’t know how reliable it is.

Note that the chart has a log Y scale. It was the only way to show all the percentages as visible bars. . How much of the world the Queen owns


Owner Percentage of Earth’s Habitable Land
Ted Turner 0.0057%
Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa of Qatar 0.0077%
James, Arthur and John Irving 0.0098%
King Mswati of Swaziland 0.0117%
Emir of Kuwait 0.0120%
King Letsie 111 of Lesotho 0.0204%
King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan 0.0261%
King Abdullah II of Jordan 0.0620%
King Gyanendra of Nepal 0.0991%
Sultan Qaboos of Oman 0.2078%
King Bhumibhol of Thailand 0.3478%
King Mohammed VI of Morocco 0.4772%
Pope Benedict 0.4810%
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia 1.4435%
Queen Elizabeth II 17.9348%

Land-Plus-Ocean Ownership by Country

[ There is a nice map by Rafi Segal and Yonatan Cohen showing the land, territorial waters, and also Exclusive Economic Zones. These are sea zones whose resources belong to their coastal-lying nations. International law defines these zones as lying within 200 nautical miles of the relevant coast seawards, with adjustment via international treaty if this is ambiguous. The map, and enlarged details from it, are available at , , and . The maps do not have a public-domain licence as far as I can see, so I am not including full-size versions here. We could ask for permission. This thumbnail gives the idea:

There is an explanation of Exclusive Economic Zones, and of who has rights to which parts of the land and nearby ocean at by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. This is summarised in the following image, which is freely reusable:

The Foundation’s Ocean Atlas, which I have downloaded, may have more information. ]