[Editor’s note: I’ve been researching sovereign state boundary disputes for Natural Earth Vector at the 1:15,000,000 and 1:50,000,000 scales so I read this entry at the StrangeMaps blog last week with some curiosity. Egypt effectively administers their portion of the “disputed” area along the Red Sea and seems to have dropped their claim to the Sudan portion south of the 22nd parallel. This boundary will be shown de facto along the 22nd parallel the Natural Earth Vector dataset. Thanks Laris!]
Republished from Strange Maps. June 28, 209.
The Bir Tawil Triangle is a desert of sand and rocks on the border between Egypt and the Sudan. It is also officially the most undesired territory in the world. Bir Tawil is the only piece of land on Earth (*) that is not claimed by any country – least of all by its neighbours. For either of them to claim the Bir Tawil Triangle would be to relinquish their claim to the Hala’ib Triangle. And while Hala’ib is also mainly rock and sand, it is not only ten times larger than Bir Tawil, but also adjacent to the Red Sea - so rather more interesting.
This bizarre situation started out with what is supposed to be the simplest of borders: a straight line. By the Condominium Treaty of 1899, the British drew the line between Egypt and what was then still known as the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan at the 22nd parallel north, resulting in a straight-line border of about 1,240 km (770 miles) from Libya to the Red Sea.