Ever heard of Bir Tawil? It’s the world’s only true terra nullius – the Latin term for “nobody’s land”, AKA a place that no one wants. It’s pretty much a piece of desert between Sudan and Egypt that arose from an anomaly between two conflicting maps drawn up the British in the late 19th and early 20th century. And though it might not exactly sound like a prime piece of real estate, that has not stopped a number of micronations and other weirdos trying to claim it.
Here’s our ultimate guide to claiming Bir Tawil as sovereign nation.
Why don’t Egypt or Sudan want Bir Tawil?
The two countries are in something of a catch 22: there is a much more lucrative parcel of land that borders the Red Sea to the east, named the Hala’ib Triangle. Both countries want this, but if they claim Bir Tawil then they lose their right to claim the Triangle. Quite simply, whoever claims Hala’ib doesn’t get Bir Tawil. The two nations are therefore quite content to let the essentially useless swathe of desert that is Bir Tawil lie unclaimed.
Can I claim Bir Tawil?
Technically you can proclaim yourself the Emperor of France, but you can also stick feathers up your arse and call yourself a duck. Currently there are at least 5 claimants. To be less of douchebag we at least suggest you go there in person. In our personal opinion Jeremiah Heaton, who went there in 2014 to claim the Kingdom of North Sudan (currently) has the most legitimacy.
What is the population of Bir Tawil?
Again whilst you might fancy the idea of starting great nation here, it is hardly prime piece of real estate, evidenced by the fact that the permanent population of Bir Tawil is zero. Occasionally, nomadic people and flag planters pass through here.
How can I visit?
From Egypt – or, if you have a whole lot of supplies, Sudan – in a 4×4. It’s hardly on the tourist trail, although there is at least one tour company going there.
The natural resources of the region consist of rocks and sand. Rest assured – if Bir Tawil had any resources, the USA would have invaded by now.
Is there any other unclaimed land in Africa?
Is there any other unclaimed land on earth?
There’s a huge part of Antarctica called the Marie Byrd Land that is unclaimed, but if you truly tried to claim it, the Antarctic Treaty means that countries such as the USA and Russia would be entitled to fuck you up. There’s also a few islands between Serbia and Croatia that are technically unclaimed, but again refer to my previous ‘fuck you up’ comment. Though this has not put off Liberland.
In conclusion to the question of claiming Bir Tawil
Rome was not built in day. Micronations, on the other hand, can be built in a day with a laptop and a Geocities page. Making genuine nation here might not be that straightforward, but you should at least come here and plant a flag.