A strait is a narrow channel of water between two land areas. A strait connects two bodies of water. Straits often connect two seas. Many straits are economically and strategically important. Straits may be part of important shipping routes. So, someone who controls a strait can control the shipping. Wars have been fought to control them. Although rivers and canals often connect two large lakes or a lake and a sea, they are not straits. Straits are much larger and wider and do not have water running in a single direction.
Well-known straits in the world are:
- Bosporus and the Dardanelles, which connect the Mediterranean and the Black Sea
- Strait of Dover, between England and France, which connects the North Sea with the English Channel
- Strait of Gibraltar, the only natural passage between the World Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea
- Bering Strait between Alaska and Siberia, which connects the Pacific and Arctic Oceans
- Strait of Magellan, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans north of Tierra del Fuego
- Palk strait, between India and Sri Lanka, the location of Ram Sethu and rich in natural resources
- Strait of Hormuz connecting the Persian Gulf and the Oman Sea, through which Persian Gulf petroleum is shipped to the world
- Strait of Malacca, which separates the Malay Peninsula from Sumatra, and connects the Indian Ocean with the South China Sea. (It is one of the highest-volume shipping lanes in the world.)
- Bass Strait, which is between mainland Australia and Tasmania, and connects the Indian Ocean with the Pacific Ocean.
- Torres Strait which is between Australia and New Guinea.
- Cook Strait, between New Zealand's North and South Islands, and connects the Tasman Sea and the South Pacific Ocean.
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