The video above is the first in the Jay Foreman and Mark Cooper-Jones Map Men series. The area they discuss is Bir Tawil. See a map below:
The video titled “Bir Tawil – the land that nobody wants” discusses the unique situation of Bir Tawil, a piece of land between Egypt and Sudan that is unusual because neither country claims it. Here’s a summary of the video:
- Introduction to Bir Tawil: The video starts by introducing Bir Tawil, a piece of land about the size of London, located in the disputed border area between Egypt and Sudan. It is notable because, unlike most disputed territories, nobody wants to claim it.
- Historical Background: The situation in Bir Tawil is traced back to the British colonial era. The British drew a straight line in the desert to demarcate the border, ignoring tribal boundaries. Later, in 1902, they drew a new line to better reflect cultural differences, resulting in two borders: a straight one and a squiggly one.
- The Hala’ib Triangle Dispute: The creation of these two borders led to a dispute over the Hala’ib Triangle, a valuable area that both Egypt and Sudan wanted to control. Egypt claimed the straight line border, while Sudan claimed the squiggly line. The unique situation arose where if either country claimed Bir Tawil, they would have to relinquish their claim to the more valuable Hala’ib Triangle.
- Bir Tawil’s Status: As a result, Bir Tawil remains the only territory in the world where both neighboring nations insist it’s not theirs. This has led to it being internationally recognized as terra nullius, meaning ‘land belonging to no one’.
- Attempts to Claim Bir Tawil: The video mentions a 2014 incident where an American named Jeremiah Heaton traveled to Bir Tawil and claimed it so his daughter could be a princess. However, due to a lack of United Nations recognition and recognition from any other country, such claims are not taken seriously.
- Conclusion: The video concludes by reiterating the unique status of Bir Tawil as a piece of land with literally nothing in it, which remains unclaimed due to the surrounding geopolitical situation.
The video provides an interesting insight into the complexities of territorial disputes and the unusual circumstances that can arise from colonial-era border decisions.
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