Top 7 areas in the world that do not belong to any state

Humans like to own stuff: cars, clothes, houses, mahogany coffee tables, Jean-Luc Reichmann effigy key chains, LR06 batteries, and also territories. Yeah, he likes that, owning territories, like it’s normal to come to a place and say: “You see, from there to there? Well, it’s mine now. » That’s how today all the places in the world belong to states. Well, almost all of them.

1. International waters

This is also called the high seas, and it corresponds to 64% of the surface of the oceans, or about half of the world’s surface. Basically, when a state has coastlines, it owns the area that extends up to 370.4 km from the coast. This is its “Exclusive Economic Zone”. Anything beyond this distance of 370.4 km belongs to no one, it is international waters. You can do just about anything you want there as long as you respect international conventions. Of course, here I gave you the simplified version because I haven’t yet become a specialist in international law, but that gives you an idea.

2. Bir Tawil

It is a small desert region of around 2000km2 which lies between Sudan and Egypt but which has not been claimed by either state. Moreover, it is rather the opposite: Sudan – which claims from Egypt a territory called the triangle of Hala’ib – considers that Bir Tawil belongs to Egypt, and Egypt, for its part, considers that Bir Tawil belongs to Sudan. In short, no one wants this little piece of land. Finally yes: in 2014, an American decided to proclaim himself king of this territory, but it has no value and no one cares.

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3. Marie Byrd Land

Seven countries have territorial claims on Antarctica and are struggling to own its lands. It’s honestly a bit of a mess, since some of these countries recognize the claims of others, but not all of them, so it’s hard to say whether the continent “belongs” to states or not. What is certain, however, is that the land of Marie Byrd, an area of ​​1,610,000 km2 in West Antarctica, does not belong to anyone, for the simple reason that no country never claimed it. Nobody wants her (a bit like me when we make football teams).

4. Space and celestial bodies

The Outer Space Treaty, which is an international treaty, prohibits states from appropriating space outside the atmosphere. Concretely, no country can claim to own a piece of space, a planet or a natural satellite. It’s dead from dead. And at the same time, it’s better that way, because it probably saved us from an open war between the United States and Russia, which would both have wanted to possess the Moon. Finally I imagine.

5. Some areas on the right bank of the Danube

The Danube is a river that marks, among other things, a natural border between Croatia and Serbia. Problem: over time, the course of the Danube has changed, and that fucks the mess, because one could wonder if the borders should also be modified. This is what Serbia thinks, while Croatia wants to keep the old course of the Danube as a border. As a result, the two countries both claim certain territories that suit them, but they also consider that certain areas belong to the other country. These areas (of a few square kilometres), located on the right bank of the Danube, are therefore no longer claimed by anyone. Don’t try to go and found a micro-nation there, the smart guys have already taken care of it.

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Here, I’ve put a map for you: in yellow, it’s the territories claimed by the two countries, and in green, the territories that the two countries want to pass on to each other. We understand better why Croatia would like to keep the old course of the Danube as a border. Not stupid guys.


Rockall is a small rock 25 meters wide in the west of Scotland which is claimed by the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark and Iceland. Basically, the United Kingdom wanted to own it to expand its fishing grounds, but the rock is too small to have its own Exclusive Economic Zone (remember, we talked about it above). As a result, the only reason why these countries are fighting over this little piece of land is to be able to exploit its subsoil. At present, Rockall is still the subject of disputes between the countries which claim it, but that will not prevent us from sleeping.

7. Hans Island

Canada and Denmark are vying for ownership of Hans Island, a 1.3 km² islet located between Greenland and the far north of Canada. Since 2013, as the two countries have not been able to reach an agreement and its status is still unclear, the association Hans Insula Universalis tries to make the island a “Terra nullius”, a place that could belong to no one. The goal would be to prevent anyone from exploiting the oil looting of the area the day the ice melts, so it’s rather a good thing (as long as we love our little planet).

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