Italy and France have a border dispute over the summit of Mont Blanc. Official Italian maps claims that the summit is shared while French ones claim the peak is entirely in French territory.

From reading the Wikipedia articles in Italian and French it seems to me that the current border in the area was decided by the treaty of Turin in 1860. The treaty annexes should contain 1/50000 maps of the area showing the border.(Unfortunately, I could not find on the web a scan of such maps).

It seems to me that this should be quite unambiguous. So I see two options:

  • the maps are not clear in the area.
  • one of the two country base its claim border on a different historical basis.

Do anyone knows specifically what contested historical facts/reconstructions originate the border dispute?

  • 4
    French/German TV channel arte has dedicated an episode of its series "Crazy Borders" to this question. (Availble with French and German audio, and with English and Spanish subtitles.) The map that was part of the treaty is shown at time 3:12–3:18, and again after 6:03, where the text adds: "the French lost their copy of the Sardinian map during the outbreak of the war in 1940, and this was not the only French mistake. In 1947, they also forgot to record the Treaty of Turin with the UN when they joined it".
    – ccprog
    Mar 25 at 21:23
  • 1
    ...At the end of the video, there is a page listing the "Archives Photos". Somewhere in there, there is also the source for the map. And on the bottom of that page is a book mentioned as a general source for the episode.
    – ccprog
    Mar 25 at 21:28
  • 4
    Don't know about that specific one, but I do know that rather a lot of weird state borders in the eastern half of the USA are down to the inaccuracies of surveying techniques in the 18th and 19th centuries. One such example is the triangular jog in the border between Kentucky and Tennessee.
    – T.E.D.
    Mar 25 at 21:31
  • @ccprog unfortunately in the video the authors over-imposed a peak triangle symbol on the map so it is not clear what is below. The border seems to pass on the peak tough.
    – pinpon
    Mar 25 at 21:48
  • 2
    May not be applicable in this case, but a third option for the discrepancy is that something physically changed on the peak, analogous to a border changing position when the defining river changes course. One side claims the new border line, the other wants the previous line to still apply.
    – bgwiehle
    Mar 26 at 12:48


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