Yough Pioneer Tours

Should we randomly claim land? And other questions for Micronations

When talking about micronations there’s a million and one tangents we could go off on (hence the number of articles we write on the subject), but generally speaking you can split micronations in the following 4 categories:

  • People that genuinely kind of have land (Sealand);
  • Frauds (Dominion of Melchizedek);
  • People that claim their bedrooms (Kingdom of Lovely);
  • People that claim empty land (Terra Nullius).

The first 3 are fairly self-explanatory, but it’s number four that in some way is the most interesting one, and one that we are thinking about with our Islandia/Lets Buy An Island project. If you’ve not read about the Let’s Buy An Island project it is pretty much this in a nutshell: we crowdfund money, buy a tropical island and run it like a micronation. Simple, right? That is still the main plan, but then the chance to visit Bir Tawil, the world’s most famous ‘Terra Nullius’ came up and we thought: should we put a flag there? But more about Bir Tawil later.

Terra Nullius literally means ‘unclaimed land’, and despite the world being pretty damned massive there’s actually very little in the world that has been unclaimed. The only real examples of such are as follows:

  • Antarctica – whilst Antarctica has mostly been “claimed”, there’s a large part, namely Mary Byrd Land, which hasn’t been. Alas, there’s a treaty that includes the USA and Russia that says you can’t just claim stuff, so you’d need a fairly big war chest to actually claim it. There’s a lot of micronations that claim it regardless.
  • Gornja Siga and other pockets – Serbia and Croatia don’t get on that well, and there’s a few islands neither of them want. Liberland claim them.
  • Bir Tawil – Due to an anomaly between maps drawn by Sudan and Egypt neither wants this fairly big – but useless – piece of land. Five micronations have claimed it nonetheless. 

With our upcoming trip to Bir Tawil the question is: do we take a flag and claim it for ourselves?

To follow the adventures of buying an island check, out this link.

We will also be visiting Bir Tawil as part of our Sudan Nubian Legends Tour!

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