Bir Tawil

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Bir Tawil
بيرطويل
Neither Egypt nor Sudan claim Bir Tawil, which is located between the two countries.
Neither Egypt nor Sudan claim Bir Tawil, which is located between the two countries.
Bir Tawil
Location between Egypt and Sudan
Coordinates: 21°52′14″N 33°44′14″E / 21.87056°N 33.73722°E / 21.87056; 33.73722Coordinates: 21°52′14″N 33°44′14″E / 21.87056°N 33.73722°E / 21.87056; 33.73722
Country None
Area
 • City 800 sq mi (2,060 km2)
Population (2014)
 • City 0
 • Density 0/sq mi (0/km2)
 • Metro 0
 • Metro density 0/sq mi (0/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) +3 (UTC)

Bir Tawil or Bi'r Tawīl (Arabic: بير طويلBīr Ṭawīl or بئر طويل Bi’r Ṭawīl; meaning "tall water well") is a 2,060 km2 (800 sq mi) area along the border between Egypt and Sudan, which is claimed by neither country. When spoken of in association with the neighboring Hala'ib Triangle, it is sometimes referred to as the Bir Tawil Triangle, despite the area's quadrilateral shape; the two "triangles" border at a quadripoint.

Its terra nullius status results from a discrepancy between the straight political boundary between Egypt and Sudan established in 1899, and the irregular administrative boundary established in 1902. Egypt asserts the political boundary, and Sudan asserts the administrative boundary, with the result that the Hala'ib Triangle is claimed by both, and Bir Tawil by neither.

History[edit]

A 1960 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers topographic map. The Bir Tawil area is at the top
Simplified map showing Egypt's claim (yellow and green), Sudan's claim (blue and green), the Hala'ib Triangle (green) and Bir Tawil (white).

In 1899, when the United Kingdom held hegemony in the area, the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium Agreement for Sudan set the border between the territories at the 22nd parallel. However, in 1902 the UK drew a separate "administrative boundary", intended to reflect the actual use of the land by the tribes in the region. Bir Tawil was grazing land used by the Ababda tribe based near Aswan, and thus was placed under Egyptian administration from Cairo. Similarly, the Hala'ib Triangle to the northeast was placed under the British governor of Sudan, because its inhabitants were culturally closer to Khartoum.

Egypt claims the original border from 1899, the 22nd parallel, which would place the Hala'ib Triangle within Egypt and the Bir Tawil area within Sudan. Sudan however claims the administrative border of 1902, which would put Hala'ib within Sudan, and Bir Tawil within Egypt. As a result, both states claim the Hala'ib Triangle and neither claims the much less valuable Bir Tawil area, which is only a tenth the size, and has no permanent settlements or access to the sea. There is no basis in international law for either Sudan or Egypt to claim both territories, and both nations are unwilling to cede Hala'ib. With no third state claiming the neglected area, Bir Tawil is one of the few land areas of the world not claimed by any recognised state. Egypt arguably still administers the territory, but it is not marked as Egyptian on government maps.[1][2]

Due to its status as de jure unclaimed territory, multiple individuals and organizations have attempted to claim Bir Tawil. However, due to the remoteness and hostile climate of the region, the vast majority of these claims have been by declarations posted online from other locations. One exception is Jeremiah Heaton, an American citizen who traveled to Bir Tawil in 2014 to claim the region as a new sovereign state.[3][4][5][6]

Geography[edit]

Bir Tawil is 2,060 km2 (795 sq mi) in size. The length of its northern and southern borders are 95 kilometres (59 mi) and 46 kilometres (29 mi) respectively; the length of its eastern and western borders are 26 kilometres (16 mi) and 31 kilometres (19 mi) respectively.

In the north of the area is the mountain Jabal Tawil (جبل طويل in Arabic, located at 21°57′56″N 33°48′05″E / 21.96556°N 33.80139°E / 21.96556; 33.80139 (Jabal Tawil)), with a height of 459 metres (1,506 ft). In the east is Jabal Ḩajar az Zarqā', with a height of 662 metres (2,172 ft).

In the south is the Wadi Tawil (وادي طويل in Arabic, also called Khawr Abū Bard, located at 21°49′25″N 33°43′42″E / 21.82361°N 33.72833°E / 21.82361; 33.72833 (Wadi Tawil)).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Official version of map of Egypt
  2. ^ "Egypt". CIA World Factbook 2010. CIA. 2010. 
  3. ^ Gibson, Allie Robinson (10 July 2014). "Abingdon man claims African land to make good on promise to daughter". Bristol Herald Courier (Bristol, Virginia: Berkshire Hathaway). Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  4. ^ Najarro, Ileana (12 July 2014). "Va. man plants flag, claims African country, calling it ‘Kingdom of North Sudan’". Washington Post (Washington, DC). Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  5. ^ Ensor, Josie (14 July 2014). "US father takes unclaimed African kingdom so his daughter can be a princess". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Mapping micronations" (in English). Al Jazeera. 14 August 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014. "Passports, currencies and flags: We discuss what it takes to create your own country." 

External links[edit]