PHOTOS Virginia dad Jeremiah Heaton claimed African land to make a kingdom for his daughter

Emily Heaton - Kingdom of North Sudan

A Virginia man on a mission to show his children he “will literally go to the ends of the earth to make their wishes and dreams come true” recently claimed an 800 square mile region between Egypt and Sudan to serve as a kingdom for his daughter, “Princess Emily.”

Jeremiah Heaton told The Washington Post, his unusual mission began last winter when his daughter asked whether she could be a real princess. He began looking into it by searching for unclaimed swaths of land around the world and eventually learned about Bir Tawil, a small region in Northern Africa that remained unclaimed because of a border dispute between Egypt and Sudan.

With permission from Egpytian authorities, Jeremiah traveled to the region last month and staked a flag in the newly designated “Kingdom of North Sudan” on June 16, Emily’s seventh birthday.

“It’s beautiful there,” he told The Bristol Herald Courier. “It’s an arid desert in Northeastern Africa. Bedouins roam the area. The population is actually zero.”

Jeremiah Heaton - Kingdom of Northern Sudan

Although he argues the land is his because he was the first to stake a flag, Jeremiah won’t have political control until he receives legal recognition from neighboring countries and/or the United Nations. He said he plans to reach out to the African Union for help.

“I feel confident in the claim we’ve made,” said Jeremiah, who works in the mining industry and unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2012. “That’s the exact same process that has been done for thousands of years. The exception is this nation was claimed for love.”

Princess Emily Heaton - David Crigger BHC

Once he returned home, Jeremiah and his wife got their daughter a princess crown and asked others — including her two brothers — to address her as Princess Emily. Even though it sounds pretty hokey, he says all three kids are thinking about the larger responsibilities of running a kingdom.

“If we can turn North Sudan into an agricultural hub for the area… A lot of technology has gone into agriculture and water,” he said. “They are really getting into the idea. I think the idea of a nation with a clear purpose of helping other people… will be well-received.”

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