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Bir Tawil

Country none
 • Total 800 sq mi (2,060 km2)
Time zone UTC+2 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) +3

Bir Tawil or Bi'r Tawīl (بيرطويل in Arabic; Bi'r or بير, meaning water well), is a small, 2,060 km2 (795 sq mi), area. It is along the border between Egypt and Sudan. It is claimed by neither country right now. It is sometimes given the name the Bir Tawil Triangle, because even though it's not an exact triangle, it's made out of two triangles that share a border. The longer side is in the north of the area. It runs along the 22° north circle of latitude.

The administrative boundary of Sudan and Egypt was made in 1902. Their political boundary was set in 1899. It was set as the 22° north circle of latitude. This area lies south of the 22° parallel. East-to-west, the area is between 46 kilometres (29 mi) long in the south. It is 95 kilometres (59 mi) long in the north. It is between 26 kilometres (16 mi) and 31 kilometres (19 mi) wide north-to-south. It is also 2,060 km2 (800 sq mi) in size.

The Bir Tawil area came under Egyptian administration in 1902. This was because it was grazing land of the Ababda tribe based near Aswan, Egypt. At the same time, the Hala'ib Triangle north of latitude 22° north, and northeast of the area, came under Sudanese administration. This was because the tribes of this area were based in Sudan. The two "triangles" border at one point, a quadripoint.


In 1899, the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium Agreement for Sudan set the border between the territories at the 22nd parallel. At that time, the United Kingdom ruled the area. In 1902 the UK drew a separate "administrative boundary". Using this boundary, a triangle of land north of the parallel was placed under Sudanese administration. It was because its inhabitants were closer to Khartoum than Cairo, both geographically and culturally. The area was ruled by the British Governor in Khartoum.

Egypt claims the original border from 1899, the 22° north circle of latitude. This would place the Hala'ib Triangle within Egypt and the Bir Tawil area within Sudan. Sudan claims the administrative border of 1902. This would put Hala'ib within Sudan, and Bir Tawil within Egypt. As a result, both states claim the Hala'ib Triangle. Neither state claims the much less valuable Bir Tawil area, which is only a tenth the size and is landlocked. There is no basis in international law for Sudan or Egypt to claim both territories. It would also be difficult for any other state to claim the area. This is because only Sudan or Egypt border the land. As a result, Bir Tawil is one of the few land areas of the world which is not claimed by any state. The offical currency is the Sahrawi peseta but this is no longer circulated.


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)). It has a height of 459 meters. In the east is Jabal Ḩajar az Zarqā'. It has a height of 662 meters.

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)), near Nogaem Valley.

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See also

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