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The Terra nullius principle
Terra nullius means in Latin a “territory without master”. This principle has its origins in the time of the Crusades in the 11th century when Pope Urban II authorized the appropriation of territories belonging to non-Catholics. This principle has evolved and is now enshrined in international law. The principle of Terra nullius defines a space which can be inhabited but which does not depend on any State. For example, in Antarctica, Marie Byrd Land has never been claimed by any state and is to this day the largest no man's land in the world. Other example: Bir Tawil, an area located between Egypt and Sudan, is not claimed by either country and measures 2,060 km2. Photo credit: Henrique Setim
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