Today in 1899, the signing of the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium.

It was an agreement between the UK and Egypt that at least officially established a joint administration of what is now known as Sudan.

Much of what was set up then is in place now, though there are a couple disputed areas, one of which both Egypt and Sudan want, and another that neither wants.

That one is called Bir Tawil, and it’s one of the few unclaimed areas left on Earth.

The dispute that led to its unusual status started with that 1899 deal.

It established Egypt’s southern border and Sudan’s northern border along the 22nd parallel.

But a few years later, the Briitsh authorities revisited parts of that border.

There was a nomadic tribe that lived on the Sudanese side, but had stronger ties to Egypt, so they said a strip of land around a mountain should be administered by Egypt.

That’s Bir Tawil.

Further east, there was another stretch of land on the northern side of the border that was home to communities with Sudanese ties.

That part, known as the Halaib or Halaib Triangle, would not be under Egyptian control.

All of this was moot at that time, because the UK effectively called the shots for the whole region.

But when Sudan became independent in 1956, the new government said it would recognize the second set of borders, including that second area that had been on the Egyptian side of the 22nd parallel.

Egypt said wait a minute, that second set of borders was supposed to be temporary, so hands off our land.

Ever since, both countries have claimed the Halaib, which happens to be on the Red Sea and has had teams move in to look for mineral resources.

As for Bir Tawil, the other stretch of land further west?

Well, Sudan’s stance is that Bir Tawil has been Egypt’s land since the border was redrawn, so they don’t claim it as their own.

Egypt doesn’t recognize the redrawn border, so its stance is that the land is on Sudan’s side of the border.

Which means it’s not quite part of either country. Or any country.

That said, there’s no permanent population, no roads, no businesses.

Every so often someone drops by and plants their own flag and tries to claim the land as their own personal country.

But established nations don’t look at randos paying visits to unclaimed territory and say “that looks like a country we need to recognize.”

So if there’s going to be a final decision on what Bir Tawil is or should be, it’s probably not going to come from tourists.

Starting Friday in New Orleans, the running of the bulls… of a sort.

The more famous running of the bills is, of course, in Pamplona, Spain.

The New Orleans version doesn’t have any actual bulls.

Instead, runners dodge skaters from the Roller Derby, who are carrying plastic bats to gently wallop participants.

Forgive me if I watch the whole thing while eating beignets.

This man is the latest in a series of travellers to declare ownership of a bizarre no man’s land in north Africa (Business Insider)

Running of the Bulls (

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Image adapted from map by NordNordWest, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikicommons