pass

pass, opening or way by which a natural or artificial barrier can be crossed. The term pass is usually applied to a relatively narrow passage through a mountainous region. A pass, like an isthmus, may have great strategic and economic importance; the history of a nation has often been determined by its success or failure in defending a pass, and land trade routes must necessarily cross passes. In the Alps, Saint Bernard, Simplon, and Saint Gotthard are important; in the Caucasus, Daryal is traversed by a great military road; in Asia, Khyber Pass into India and the passes of the Himalayas, Karakorum, and other ranges are important.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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