BY Edna Owusu-Ansah, 10:23am July 15, 2014,

U.S. Family Claims Deserted African Kingdom

Jeremiah Heaton

U.S. Father Jeremiah Heaton (pictured right) flew all the way to Africa to claim a “kingdom” between Egypt and Sudan so that his 7-year-old daughter, Emily (pictured), could be an actual princess, according to the Washington Post.

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Heaton, a Father of three, began his unusual quest for the piece of land, after making a promise to Emily that she would one day become a princess. Heaton found Bir Tawil — one of the last unclaimed pieces of land on the planet — after searching for how he could fulfill his promise to Emily.

Jeremiah Heaton north sudan

In June, he “claimed” the Bir Tawil region by planting a flag in the area that was designed by his children. The kingdom is about 800 square miles of desert and has never been claimed by Sudan or Egypt.

On his return, Heaton and his wife made a crown for their daughter and asked friends and family to refer to her as “Princess Emily.”

Several attempts to claim ownership of the region have been made online, but Heaton believes that traveling to the site and planting the flag gives his claim an edge.

“It’s beautiful there,” Heaton said. “It’s an arid desert in Northeastern Africa. Bedouins roam the area; the population is actually zero.”

It reportedly took Heaton 14 hours to travel by caravan through the desert before he could plant the flag, which has a blue background and a seal and stars representing the family.

As well as designing a flag for their country, Heaton’s children have also decided to name it the Kingdom of North Sudan.

Emily Heaton

Emily, who sleeps in a custom-made castle bed, is reportedly showing signs of being a generous ruler; she says that she wants to ensure that the children in the region have enough food.

“That’s definitely a concern in that part of the world. We discussed what we could do as a nation to help,” Heaton said.

He added that Princess Emily and her brothers Justin and Caleb could become a driving force in the region.

“If we can turn North Sudan into an agricultural hub for the area…a lot of technology has gone into agriculture and water,” Heaton said. “These are the things [the kids] are concerned with.”

The next step for Heaton is to get Sudan and Egypt to recognize his Kingdom of North Sudan.

Shelia Carapico, professor of political science and international studies at the University of Richmond, said the family’s claim will need to be recognized by other African nations.

She said it was not plausible for someone to plant a flag and say they have political control over the land without legal recognition from neighboring countries, the United Nations, or other groups.

In addition, she said, it is not known whether people already have ownership of the land, regardless of whether the property is part of a political nation.

Still, the Heaton family remain hopeful and have ordered letterheads bearing the country’s seal. One of Heaton’s sons also reportedly made a serving tray featuring the flag while at camp.

Emily HeatonBut for Heaton, the main purpose of the land claim is to show his daughter that he would follow through on the promise he made.

“I think there’s a lot of love in the world. I want my children to know I will do absolutely anything for them,” he said.

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Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: September 15, 2018


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