The principle of Terra nullius (Latin for “landless land”) means that an area can be inhabited but not under a state. So these lands are not owned by anyone. However, in 1975, the International Court of Justice issued a more restrictive definition: “Territories inhabited by tribes or peoples with a social and political organization cannot be considered terranial.” But which region of the world is not under a single state?
Mary Byrdland, Antarctica
Mary Byrdland, in the western part of Antarctica, is a remote area with no government, no cities, no permanent residents. These lands have never been claimed by any state, making it the largest “no-man’s land” on earth.
Seven countries (France, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, United Kingdom and Norway) have made claims for the rest of the Antarctic continent. A dispute that has been put on hold until 2040 Antarctic TreatyIt establishes that this is a neutral area, focuses only on scientific research, and prohibits the establishment of military bases, the exploitation of natural resources, and the testing of weapons.
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At Birta, between Egypt and Sudan
It is located approximately 2,060 km from the border between Egypt and Sudan. In fact, both countries claim the neighborhood: the Halaib triangle, which covers an area of 20,000 km2 and shares a border with the Red Sea to the east. Thus claiming the sovereignty of each country over Bir Tawil would be tantamount to leaving the Halaib triangle to the other party. As a result, both countries claim the Halaib triangle, but neither claims the sovereignty of the Bir Tawil, which is ten times smaller than the triangle and has no access to the sea.
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Rockel, west of Scotland
Situated west of Scotland between Ireland and Iceland, this isolated rock rises to a depth of about 25 m and rises to a height of 17.15 m. Birds, mainly fulmars, gannets and guillotines, are its only permanent inhabitants. Many states (United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Iceland) have claimed this rock for their exclusive right to exploit the resources available in the groundwater (oil, natural gas, etc.). But the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea says: “Rocks that are not suitable for human habitation or proper economic life do not have a specific economic zone or intercontinental shelf.” Thus, Ireland, Denmark, Iceland and the United Kingdom are the four parties to the Convention. The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland agreed to demarcate the respective territories that ignored Rockell’s existence and granted them the right to explore there.
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