Broad area of land that borders the sea. The coastlines of the world's continents measure about 193,000 mi (312,000 km). They have undergone shifts in position and changes in shape over geologic time because of substantial changes in the relative levels of land and sea. Other factors that alter coasts are erosion processes such as wave action and weathering, deposition of rock debris by currents, and tectonic activity. Coastal features result largely from the interaction and relative intensity of these processes, though the type and structure of the underlying rocks also play a part.
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Region along the coast of eastern Nicaragua and Honduras. It comprises a lowland about 40 mi (65 km) wide that skirts the Caribbean Sea for about 225 mi (360 km). It was visited by Christopher Columbus in 1502, but Europeans had little contact with the area until the rise of the buccaneers in the 17th century, after which England established a protectorate there. It is named for the Miskito Indians. Spain, Nicaragua, and the U.S. disputed England's protectorate until the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty (1850). In 1894 the region was incorporated into Nicaragua, but the northern part was granted to Honduras in 1960 by the International Court of Justice. The chief town is Bluefields, at the mouth of the Escondido River in Nicaragua.
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Region, southwestern coast of India, stretching from the Western Ghats to the Arabian Sea. It now includes most of Kerala state and the coastal region of Karnataka state. It has sometimes been used to refer to the entire western coast of peninsular India. A large part of it was within the ancient kingdom of Keralaputra. The Portuguese established trading posts there; they were followed by the Dutch in the 17th century and the French in the 18th century. The British gained control of the region in the late 18th century.
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Section of the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, western Africa. Extending approximately from Axim, Ghana, in the west to the Volta River in the east, it was so called because it was an important source of gold. It was an area of intense colonial rivalry from the 17th century. Acquired as a colony by the British in the 19th century and named the Gold Coast, the area achieved independence as the Republic of Ghana in 1957.
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Mediterranean coastal region, North Africa. It extends from Egypt to the Atlantic Ocean. Once part of Roman Africa, the region was overrun by Vandals in the 5th century AD. Reconquered by the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) circa AD 533, it was overcome by Arabs during the 7th century and was eventually broken up into the independent Muslim polities known collectively as the Barbary states (Morocco, Algeria [Algiers], Tunisia [Tunis], and Libya [Tripoli]). For centuries the coast was notorious as a haven for pirates, who ravaged shipping and collected tribute from European states. After the U.S. war with Tripoli (see Tripolitan War), the U.S. expedition to Algiers (1815), and the bombardment of Algiers by the British (1816), the pirates ceased exacting tribute.
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Shores are influenced by the topography of the surrounding landscape, as well as by water induced erosion, such as waves. The geological composition of rock and soil dictates the type of shore which is created. Although a beach is a synonym for a shore, the term typically refers to shores which are sandy or pebbly, which can be produced by erosion of sedimentary soils.
A strict definition is the strip of land along a water body that is alternately exposed and covered by waves and tides. Shores may also include a strip of land by a body of water, such as a lake.