Suez Canal

Suez Canal

Overview
The Suez Canal also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 and the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation
Water transportation
Water transportation is the intentional movement of water over large distances. Methods of transportation fall into three categories:* Aqueducts, which include pipelines, canals, and tunnels,...

 between Europe and Asia without navigation around Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. The northern terminus is Port Said
Port Said
Port Said is a city that lies in north east Egypt extending about 30 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north of the Suez Canal, with an approximate population of 603,787...

 and the southern terminus is Port Tawfik at the city of Suez
Suez
Suez is a seaport city in north-eastern Egypt, located on the north coast of the Gulf of Suez , near the southern terminus of the Suez Canal, having the same boundaries as Suez governorate. It has three harbors, Adabya, Ain Sokhna and Port Tawfiq, and extensive port facilities...

. Ismailia
Ismaïlia
-Notable natives:*Osman Ahmed Osman, a famous and influential Egyptian engineer, contractor, entrepreneur, and politician, was born in this town on 6 April 1917....

 lies on its west bank, 3 km (1.9 mi) north of the half-way point.

When first built, the canal was 164 km (101.9 mi) long and 8 m (26.2 ft) deep.
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Timeline

1854   In Egypt, the Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, is given the necessary royal concession.

1859   British and French engineers break ground for the Suez Canal.

1867   The first ship passes through the Suez Canal.

1869   In Egypt, the Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, is inaugurated.

1888   The Convention of Constantinople is signed, guaranteeing free maritime passage through the Suez Canal during war and peace.

1956   Following the World Bank's refusal to fund building the Aswan High Dam, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal sparking international condemnation.

1956   Suez Crisis begins: Israeli forces invade the Sinai Peninsula and push Egyptian forces back toward the Suez Canal.

1956   Suez Crisis: The United Kingdom and France begin bombing Egypt to force the reopening of the Suez Canal.

1957   Egypt re-opens the Suez Canal after the Suez Crisis.

1957   The Suez Canal in Egypt is cleared and opens to shipping.

 
Encyclopedia
The Suez Canal also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 and the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation
Water transportation
Water transportation is the intentional movement of water over large distances. Methods of transportation fall into three categories:* Aqueducts, which include pipelines, canals, and tunnels,...

 between Europe and Asia without navigation around Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. The northern terminus is Port Said
Port Said
Port Said is a city that lies in north east Egypt extending about 30 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north of the Suez Canal, with an approximate population of 603,787...

 and the southern terminus is Port Tawfik at the city of Suez
Suez
Suez is a seaport city in north-eastern Egypt, located on the north coast of the Gulf of Suez , near the southern terminus of the Suez Canal, having the same boundaries as Suez governorate. It has three harbors, Adabya, Ain Sokhna and Port Tawfiq, and extensive port facilities...

. Ismailia
Ismaïlia
-Notable natives:*Osman Ahmed Osman, a famous and influential Egyptian engineer, contractor, entrepreneur, and politician, was born in this town on 6 April 1917....

 lies on its west bank, 3 km (1.9 mi) north of the half-way point.

When first built, the canal was 164 km (101.9 mi) long and 8 m (26.2 ft) deep. After multiple enlargements, the canal is 193.3 km (120.1 mi) long, 24 m (78.7 ft) deep and 205 metres (672.6 ft) wide as of 2010. It consists of the northern access channel
Channel (geography)
In physical geography, a channel is the physical confine of a river, slough or ocean strait consisting of a bed and banks.A channel is also the natural or human-made deeper course through a reef, sand bar, bay, or any shallow body of water...

 of 22 km (13.7 mi), the canal itself of 162.25 km (100.8 mi) and the southern access channel of 9 km (5.6 mi).

The canal is single-lane with passing places in Ballah By-Pass and in the Great Bitter Lake
Great Bitter Lake
The Great Bitter Lake is a salt water lake between the north and south part of the Suez Canal. It is adjoined by the Small Bitter Lake . Before the Canal was built, their site was occupied by dry salt valleys. Together, the Bitter Lakes now have a surface area of about 250 km²...

. It contains no locks
Lock (water transport)
A lock is a device for raising and lowering boats between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways. The distinguishing feature of a lock is a fixed chamber in which the water level can be varied; whereas in a caisson lock, a boat lift, or on a canal inclined plane, it is...

; seawater flows freely through the canal. In general, the canal north of the Bitter Lakes flows north in winter and south in summer. The current south of the lakes changes with the tide at Suez.

The canal is owned and maintained by the Suez Canal Authority
Suez Canal Authority
is a state owned authority which owns, operates and maintains the Suez Canal. It was set up by Egypt to replace the Suez Canal Company in the 1950s which resulted in the Suez Crisis...

 (SCA) of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. Under international treaty, it may be used "in time of war as in time of peace, by every vessel of commerce or of war, without distinction of flag."

Nile-Red Sea Canal(s)


Ancient west-east canals have facilitated travel from the Nile
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

 to the Red Sea. One smaller canal is believed to have been constructed under the auspices of either Senusret II
Senusret II
Khakeperre Senusret II was the fourth pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled from 1897 BC to 1878 BC. His pyramid was constructed at El-Lahun...

 or Ramesses II
Ramesses II
Ramesses II , referred to as Ramesses the Great, was the third Egyptian pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire...

. Another canal probably incorporating a portion of the first was constructed under the reign of Necho II
Necho II
Necho II was a king of the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt .Necho II is most likely the pharaoh mentioned in several books of the Bible . The Book of Kings states that Necho met King Josiah of the Kingdom of Judah at Megiddo and killed him...

 and completed by Darius
Darius I of Persia
Darius I , also known as Darius the Great, was the third king of kings of the Achaemenid Empire...

.

2nd millennium BC


The legendary Sesostris
Sesostris
Sesostris was the name of a legendary king of ancient Egypt who led a military expedition into parts of Europe, as related by Herodotus.-Account of Herodotus:...

 (likely either Pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 Senusret II or Senusret III
Senusret III
Khakhaure Senusret III was a pharaoh of Egypt. He ruled from 1878 BC to 1839 BC, and was the fifth monarch of the Twelfth Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom. Among his achievements was the building of the Sisostris Canal...

 of the Twelfth dynasty of Egypt
Twelfth dynasty of Egypt
The twelfth dynasty of ancient Egypt is often combined with Dynasties XI, XIII and XIV under the group title Middle Kingdom.-Rulers:Known rulers of the twelfth dynasty are as follows :...

) is suggested to have perhaps started work on an ancient canal joining the River Nile with the Red Sea (1897 BC–1839 BC). (It is said that in ancient times
Ancient history
Ancient history is the study of the written past from the beginning of recorded human history to the Early Middle Ages. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, with Cuneiform script, the oldest discovered form of coherent writing, from the protoliterate period around the 30th century BC...

 the Red Sea reached northward to the Bitter Lakes and Lake Timsah
Lake Timsah
Lake Timsah, also known as Crocodile Lake, is a lake in Egypt on the Nile delta. It lies in a basin developed along a fault extending from the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of Suez through the Bitter Lakes region. In 1800, a flood filled the Wadi Tumilat, which caused Timsah's banks to overflow and...

.)

In his Meteorology
Meteorology (Aristotle)
Meteorology is a treatise by Aristotle which contains his theories about the earth sciences. These include early accounts of water evaporation, weather phenomena, and earthquakes....

, Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 wrote:
One of their kings tried to make a canal to it (for it would have been of no little advantage to them for the whole region to have become navigatable; Sesostris is said to have been the first of the ancient kings to try), but he found that the sea was higher than the land. So he first, and Darius afterwards, stopped making the canal, lest the sea should mix with the river water and spoil it.


Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 also wrote that Sesostris started to build a canal, and Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 wrote:
165. Next comes the Tyro
Tyro
In Greek mythology, Tyro was the daughter of Salmoneus and married Cretheus, but loved Enipeus. She gave birth to Pelias and Neleus, the twin sons of Poseidon. With Cretheus she had Aeson, Pheres, and Amythaon....

 tribe and, on the Red Sea, the harbour of the Daneoi, from which Sesostris, king of Egypt, intended to carry a ship-canal to where the Nile flows into what is known as the Delta; this is a distance of over 60 miles. Later the Persian king Darius had the same idea, and yet again Ptolemy II, who made a trench 100 feet wide, 30 feet deep and about 35 miles long, as far as the Bitter Lakes.


French cartographers discovered the remnants of an ancient north-south canal running past the east side of Lake Timsah and ending near the north end of the Great Bitter Lake in the second half of the 19th century. (This ancient, second, canal may have followed a course along the shoreline of the Red Sea when it once extended north to Lake Timsah.) In the 20th century the northward extension of this ancient canal was discovered, extending from Lake Timsah to the Ballah Lakes, which was subsequently dated to the Middle Kingdom of Egypt
Middle Kingdom of Egypt
The Middle Kingdom of Egypt is the period in the history of ancient Egypt stretching from the establishment of the Eleventh Dynasty to the end of the Fourteenth Dynasty, between 2055 BC and 1650 BC, although some writers include the Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties in the Second Intermediate...

 by extrapolating the dates of ancient sites erected along its course. However it remains unknown whether or not this is the same as Sesostris' ancient canal and whether it was used as a waterway or as a defence against the east.

The reliefs of the Punt
Land of Punt
The Land of Punt, also called Pwenet, or Pwene by the ancient Egyptians, was a trading partner known for producing and exporting gold, aromatic resins, African blackwood, ebony, ivory, slaves and wild animals...

 expedition under Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut also Hatchepsut; meaning Foremost of Noble Ladies;1508–1458 BC) was the fifth pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt...

 1470 BC depict seagoing vessels carrying the expeditionary force returning from Punt. This has given rise to the suggestion that, at the time, a navigable link existed between the Red Sea and the Nile. Evidence seems to indicate its existence by the 13th century BC during the time of Ramesses II
Ramesses II
Ramesses II , referred to as Ramesses the Great, was the third Egyptian pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire...

.

Canals dug by Necho, Darius I and Ptolemy


Remnants of an ancient west-east canal, running through the ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

ian cities of Bubastis
Bubastis
Bubastis , also known as Tell Basta or Egyptian Per-Bast was an Ancient Egyptian city, the capital of its own nome, located along the River Nile in the Delta region of Lower Egypt...

, Pi-Ramesses
Avaris
Avaris , capital of Egypt under the Hyksos , was located near modern Tell el-Dab'a in the northeastern region of the Nile Delta, at the juncture of the 8th, 14th, 19th and 20th Nomes...

, and Pithom
Pithom
Pithom also called Per-Atum or Heroöpolis or Heroonopolis Pithom also called Per-Atum or Heroöpolis or Heroonopolis Pithom also called Per-Atum or Heroöpolis or Heroonopolis (Greek: or , Strabo xvi. 759, 768, xvii. 803, 804; Arrian, Exp. Alex. iii. 5, vii. 20; Joseph. Ant. Jud. ii. 7. § 5;...

 were discovered by Napoleon Bonaparte and his cadre of engineers and cartographers in 1799.

According to the Histories of the Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 historian Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

, about 600 BC, Necho II
Necho II
Necho II was a king of the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt .Necho II is most likely the pharaoh mentioned in several books of the Bible . The Book of Kings states that Necho met King Josiah of the Kingdom of Judah at Megiddo and killed him...

 undertook to dig a west-east canal through the Wadi Tumilat between Bubastis and Heroopolis
Pithom
Pithom also called Per-Atum or Heroöpolis or Heroonopolis Pithom also called Per-Atum or Heroöpolis or Heroonopolis Pithom also called Per-Atum or Heroöpolis or Heroonopolis (Greek: or , Strabo xvi. 759, 768, xvii. 803, 804; Arrian, Exp. Alex. iii. 5, vii. 20; Joseph. Ant. Jud. ii. 7. § 5;...

, and perhaps continued it to the Heroopolite Gulf
Heroopolite Gulf
The Heroopolite Gulf was the term used to describe the Gulf of Suez in the vicinity of Heroopolis in ancient times when, as some sources believe, the Red Sea and its Gulf of Suez extended as far northward as the Bitter Lakes of Egypt....

 and the Red Sea. Regardless, Necho is reported as having never completed his project.

Herodotus was told that 120,000 men perished in this undertaking, but this figure is doubtlessly exaggerated. According to Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

, Necho's extension to the canal was approximately 57 English miles, equal to the total distance between Bubastis and the Great Bitter Lake, allowing for winding through valley
Valley
In geology, a valley or dale is a depression with predominant extent in one direction. A very deep river valley may be called a canyon or gorge.The terms U-shaped and V-shaped are descriptive terms of geography to characterize the form of valleys...

s that it had to pass through. The length that Herodotus tells us, of over 1000 stadia (i.e., over 114 miles), must be understood to include the entire distance between the Nile and the Red Sea at that time.

With Necho's death, work was discontinued. Herodotus tells us that the reason the project was abandoned was because of a warning received from an oracle
Oracle
In Classical Antiquity, an oracle was a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods. As such it is a form of divination....

 that others would benefit by its successful completion. In fact, Necho's war with Nebuchadnezzar II most probably prevented the canal's continuation.

Necho's project was finally completed by Darius I of Persia
Darius I of Persia
Darius I , also known as Darius the Great, was the third king of kings of the Achaemenid Empire...

, who conquered Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

. We are told that by Darius's time a natural waterway passage which had existed between the Heroopolite Gulf and the Red Sea in the vicinity of the Egyptian town of Shaluf (alt. Chalouf or Shaloof), located just south of the Great Bitter Lake, had become so blocked with silt
Silt
Silt is granular material of a size somewhere between sand and clay whose mineral origin is quartz and feldspar. Silt may occur as a soil or as suspended sediment in a surface water body...

 that Darius needed to clear it out so as to allow navigation
Navigation
Navigation is the process of monitoring and controlling the movement of a craft or vehicle from one place to another. It is also the term of art used for the specialized knowledge used by navigators to perform navigation tasks...

 once again. According to Herodotus, Darius's canal was wide enough that two trireme
Trireme
A trireme was a type of galley, a Hellenistic-era warship that was used by the ancient maritime civilizations of the Mediterranean, especially the Phoenicians, ancient Greeks and Romans.The trireme derives its name from its three rows of oars on each side, manned with one man per oar...

s could pass each other with oars extended, and required four days to traverse. Darius commemorated his achievement with a number of granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 stelae that he set up on the Nile bank, including one near Kabret, and a further one a few miles north of Suez
Suez
Suez is a seaport city in north-eastern Egypt, located on the north coast of the Gulf of Suez , near the southern terminus of the Suez Canal, having the same boundaries as Suez governorate. It has three harbors, Adabya, Ain Sokhna and Port Tawfiq, and extensive port facilities...

. The Darius Inscriptions
Darius the Great's Suez Inscriptions
Darius the Great's Suez Inscriptions were texts written in Old Persian, Elamite, Babylonian and Egyptian on five monuments erected in Wadi Tumilat, commemorating the opening of a canal between the Nile and The Bitter Lakes....

 read:
The canal left the Nile at Bubastis. An inscription on a pillar at Pithom
Pithom
Pithom also called Per-Atum or Heroöpolis or Heroonopolis Pithom also called Per-Atum or Heroöpolis or Heroonopolis Pithom also called Per-Atum or Heroöpolis or Heroonopolis (Greek: or , Strabo xvi. 759, 768, xvii. 803, 804; Arrian, Exp. Alex. iii. 5, vii. 20; Joseph. Ant. Jud. ii. 7. § 5;...

 records that in 270 or 269 BC it was again reopened, by Ptolemy II Philadelphus
Ptolemy II Philadelphus
Ptolemy II Philadelphus was the king of Ptolemaic Egypt from 283 BCE to 246 BCE. He was the son of the founder of the Ptolemaic kingdom Ptolemy I Soter and Berenice, and was educated by Philitas of Cos...

. In Arsinoe
Arsinoe (Gulf of Suez)
Arsinoe or Arsinoites or Cleopatris or Cleopatra, was an ancient city at the northern extremity of the Heroopolite Gulf , in the Red Sea.-History:...

, Ptolemy constructed a navigable lock
Lock (water transport)
A lock is a device for raising and lowering boats between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways. The distinguishing feature of a lock is a fixed chamber in which the water level can be varied; whereas in a caisson lock, a boat lift, or on a canal inclined plane, it is...

, with sluice
Sluice
A sluice is a water channel that is controlled at its head by a gate . For example, a millrace is a sluice that channels water toward a water mill...

s, at the Heroopolite Gulf of the Red Sea which allowed the passage of vessels but prevented salt water from the Red Sea from mingling with the fresh water in the canal.

Receding Red Sea and the dwindling Nile


The Red Sea is believed by some historians to have gradually receded over the centuries, its coastline slowly moving farther and farther southward away from Lake Timsah
Lake Timsah
Lake Timsah, also known as Crocodile Lake, is a lake in Egypt on the Nile delta. It lies in a basin developed along a fault extending from the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of Suez through the Bitter Lakes region. In 1800, a flood filled the Wadi Tumilat, which caused Timsah's banks to overflow and...

 and the Great Bitter Lake to its present coastline today. Coupled with persistent accumulations of Nile silt
Silt
Silt is granular material of a size somewhere between sand and clay whose mineral origin is quartz and feldspar. Silt may occur as a soil or as suspended sediment in a surface water body...

, maintenance and repair of Ptolemy's canal became increasingly cumbersome over each passing century.

Two hundred years after the construction of Ptolemy's canal, Cleopatra seems to have had no west-east waterway passage, because the Pelusiac branch of the Nile River, which had fed Ptolemy's west-east canal, had by that time dwindled, being choked with silt.

Old Cairo to the Red Sea


By the 8th century, a navigable canal existed between Old Cairo
Old Cairo
Old Cairo is a part of Cairo, Egypt, that contains the remnants of those cities which were capitals before Cairo, such as Fustat, as well as some other elements from the city's varied history. For example, it encompasses Coptic Cairo and its many old churches and ruins of Roman fortifications...

 and the Red Sea, but accounts vary as to who ordered its construction—either Trajan
Trajan
Trajan , was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD. Born into a non-patrician family in the province of Hispania Baetica, in Spain Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in Spain, in 89 Trajan supported the emperor against...

 or 'Amr ibn al-'As
'Amr ibn al-'As
`Amr ibn al-`As was an Arab military commander who is most noted for leading the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 640. A contemporary of Muhammad, and one of the Sahaba , who rose quickly through the Muslim hierarchy following his conversion to Islam in the year 8 AH...

, or Omar the Great
Umar
`Umar ibn al-Khattāb c. 2 November , was a leading companion and adviser to the Islamic prophet Muhammad who later became the second Muslim Caliph after Muhammad's death....

. This canal reportedly linked to the River Nile at Old Cairo and ended near modern Suez
Suez
Suez is a seaport city in north-eastern Egypt, located on the north coast of the Gulf of Suez , near the southern terminus of the Suez Canal, having the same boundaries as Suez governorate. It has three harbors, Adabya, Ain Sokhna and Port Tawfiq, and extensive port facilities...

. A geography treatise by Dicuil reports a conversation with an English monk, Fidelis, who had sailed on the canal from the Nile to the Red Sea during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the first half of the 8th century

The Abbasid
Abbasid
The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

 Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 al-Mansur
Al-Mansur
Al-Mansur, Almanzor or Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur was the second Abbasid Caliph from 136 AH to 158 AH .-Biography:...

 is said to have ordered this canal closed in 767 to prevent supplies from reaching Arabian
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

 detractors.

Repair by Tāriqu l-Ḥākim


Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah
Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah
Abu ‘Ali Mansur Tāriqu l-Ḥākim, called Al-Hakim bi Amr al-Lāh , was the sixth Fatimid caliph and 16th Ismaili imam .- History :...

 is claimed to have repaired the Old Cairo to Red Sea passageway, but only briefly, circa 1000 AD, as it soon "became choked with sand." However, we are told that parts of this canal still continued to fill in during the Nile's annual inundations.

Napoleon discovers an ancient canal


Napoleon Bonaparte's interest in finding the remnants of an ancient waterway passage culminated in a cadre of archaeologists, scientist
Scientist
A scientist in a broad sense is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. In a more restricted sense, a scientist is an individual who uses the scientific method. The person may be an expert in one or more areas of science. This article focuses on the more restricted use of the word...

s, cartographers and engineer
Engineer
An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures, machines and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality,...

s scouring the area beginning in the latter months of 1798. Their findings, recorded in the Description de l'Égypte
Description de l'Egypte
Description de l'Égypte is the title of several books.* Description de l'Égypte - Description de l'Égypte ou Recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Égypte pendant l'expédition de l'armée française Pub; First Edition , L'Imprimerie Imperiale, 1809-1813; l'Imprimerie...

, include detailed maps that depict the discovery of an ancient canal extending northward from the Red Sea and then westward toward the Nile.

Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 had contemplated the construction of another, modern, north-south canal to join the Mediterranean and Red Sea. But his project was abandoned after the preliminary survey erroneously concluded that the Red Sea was 10 metres (32.8 ft) higher than the Mediterranean, making a locks-based canal too expensive and very long to construct. The Napoleonic survey commission's error came from fragmented readings mostly done during wartime, which resulted in imprecise calculations.
Though by this time unnavigable, the ancient route from Bubastis
Bubastis
Bubastis , also known as Tell Basta or Egyptian Per-Bast was an Ancient Egyptian city, the capital of its own nome, located along the River Nile in the Delta region of Lower Egypt...

 to the Red Sea still channeled water in spots as late as 1861 and as far east as Kassassin
Kassassin
Kassassin is a village of Lower Egypt by rail, west of Ismailia on the Suez Canal. At this place, on 28 August and again on 9 September 1882 the British force operating against Urabi Pasha was attacked by the Egyptians. Both attacks were repulsed....

.

Interim period



Although the alleged difference in sea levels could be problematic for a canal's construction, the idea of finding a shorter route to the east remained alive. In 1830, F. R. Chesney
Francis Rawdon Chesney
right|thumb|200px|General F.R.Chesney in 1863Francis Rawdon Chesney , general and explorer, was a son of Captain Alexander Chesney, an Irishman of Scottish descent who, having emigrated to South Carolina in 1772, served under Lord Rawdon in the American War of Independence, and subsequently...

 submitted a report to the British government, which stated that there was no difference in altitude, and that the Suez Canal was feasible, but his report received no further attention. Lieutenant Waghorn
Thomas Fletcher Waghorn
Thomas Fletcher Waghorn , whose statue stands in Chatham, Kent, was a postal pioneer who developed a new route from Great Britain to India. Waghorn's route reduced the journey from 16,000 miles, via the Cape of Good Hope, to 6,000 miles: from three months to between 35 and 45 days.Waghorn was born...

 established his Overland Route, which transported post and passengers to India via Egypt. Linant de Bellefonds
Louis Maurice Adolphe Linant de Bellefonds
Louis Maurice Adolphe Linant de Bellefonds better known as Linant Pasha was an explorer of Egypt and, as the chief engineer of Egypt's public works, 1831–1869, the chief engineer of the Suez Canal.- Life and work :Having taken advantage of a sound education that emphasized mathematics,...

, a French explorer of Egypt, became chief engineer of Egypt's Public Works
Egyptian Public Works
The Egyptian Department of Public Works was established in the early Nineteenth Century, and concentrates mainly on public works relating to irrigation and hydraulic engineering. These irrigation projects have constituted the bulk of work performed by this entity in Egypt...

. In addition to his normal duties, he surveyed the Isthmus of Suez
Isthmus of Suez
The Isthmus of Suez is the narrow strip land that lies between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, linking the continents of Africa and Asia. It contains the country of Egypt and the Suez Canal. Like many isthmuses, it is a location of great strategic value....

 and made plans for the Suez Canal. French Saint-Simonianists
Saint-Simonianism
Saint-Simonianism was a French political and social movement of the first half of the 19th century, inspired by the ideas of Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon ....

 showed an interest in the canal and in 1833, Barthélemy Prosper Enfantin
Barthélemy Prosper Enfantin
Barthélemy Prosper Enfantin was a French social reformer, one of the founders of Saint-Simonianism.-Early life:...

 tried to draw Muhammad Ali's attention to the canal but was unsuccessful. Alois Negrelli
Alois Negrelli
Alois Negrelli, Ritter von Moldelbe , was an engineer and railroad pioneer in Austria, Italy and Switzerland.-Biography:...

, the Austrian
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 railroad pioneer, became interested in the idea in 1836. In 1846, Prosper Enfantin's Société d'Études du Canal de Suez
Société d'Études du Canal de Suez
The Société d'Études du Canal de Suez was a society set up in 1846 by the Saint-Simonist Prosper Enfantin in Paris to study the Isthmus of Suez and the possibility of a Suez Canal....

 invited a number of experts, among them Robert Stephenson
Robert Stephenson
Robert Stephenson FRS was an English civil engineer. He was the only son of George Stephenson, the famed locomotive builder and railway engineer; many of the achievements popularly credited to his father were actually the joint efforts of father and son.-Early life :He was born on the 16th of...

, Negrelli and Paul-Adrien Bourdaloue
Paul-Adrien Bourdaloue
Paul Adrien Bourdaloue was a French civil engineer and topographer, who proposed the first orthometric levelling of France.-Life:...

 to study the feasibility of the Suez Canal (with the assistance of Linant de Bellefonds). Bourdaloue's survey of the isthmus was the first generally accepted evidence that there was no practical difference in altitude between the two seas. Britain, however, feared that a canal open to everyone might interfere with its India trade and, therefore, preferred a connection by train from Alexandria via Cairo to Suez, which eventually was built by Stephenson.

Construction by Suez Canal Company




In 1854 and 1856 Ferdinand de Lesseps
Ferdinand de Lesseps
Ferdinand Marie, Vicomte de Lesseps, GCSI was the French developer of the Suez Canal, which joined the Mediterranean and Red Seas in 1869, and substantially reduced sailing distances and times between the West and the East.He attempted to repeat this success with an effort to build a sea-level...

 obtained a concession from Sa'id Pasha
Sa'id of Egypt
Muhammad Sa'id Pasha was the Wāli self-declared Khedive of Egypt and Sudan from 1854 until 1863, officially owing fealty to the Ottoman Sultan but in practice exercising virtual independence. He was the fourth son of Muhammad Ali Pasha. Sa'id was a Francophone, educated in Paris.Under Sa'id's rule...

, the Khedive
Khedive
The term Khedive is a title largely equivalent to the English word viceroy. It was first used, without official recognition, by Muhammad Ali Pasha , the Wāli of Egypt and Sudan, and vassal of the Ottoman Empire...

 of Egypt and Sudan, to create a company to construct a canal open to ships of all nations. The company was to operate the canal for 99 years from its opening. De Lesseps had used his friendly relationship with Sa'id, which he had developed while he was a French diplomat during the 1830s. As stipulated in the concessions, de Lesseps convened the International Commission for the piercing of the isthmus of Suez
International Commission for the piercing of the isthmus of Suez
The International Commission for the piercing of the isthmus of Suez was the commission consisting of various European experts convened in 1855 by Ferdinand de Lesseps as instructed by the viceroy of Egypt Muhammad Sa'id in order to ascertain the feasibility of a canal between the Mediterranean...

 (Commission Internationale pour le percement de l'isthme des Suez) consisting of thirteen experts from seven countries, among them McClean, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers in London, and again Negrelli, to examine the plans of Linant de Bellefonds and to advise on the feasibility of and on the best route for the canal. After surveys and analyses in Egypt and discussions in Paris on various aspects of the canal, where many of Negrelli's ideas prevailed, the commission produced a final unanimous report in December 1856 containing a detailed description of the canal complete with plans and profiles. The Suez Canal Company (Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez) came into being on 15 December 1858 and work started on the shore of the future Port Said on 25 April 1859.

The excavation took some 10 years using forced labour (corvée
Corvée
Corvée is unfree labour, often unpaid, that is required of people of lower social standing and imposed on them by the state or a superior . The corvée was the earliest and most widespread form of taxation, which can be traced back to the beginning of civilization...

) of Egyptian workers during a certain period. Some sources estimate that over 30,000 people were working on the canal at any given period, that altogether more than 1.5 million people from various countries were employed, and that thousands of laborers died on the project.

The British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 government had opposed the project of the canal from the outset to its completion. As one of the diplomatic moves against the canal, it disapproved the use of slave labor of forced workers on the canal. The British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 was the major global naval force and officially condemned the forced work and sent armed Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

s to start a revolt among workers. Involuntary labour on the project ceased, and the viceroy condemned the corvée, halting the project.

Angered by the British opportunism, de Lesseps sent a letter to the British government remarking on the British lack of remorse a few years earlier when forced workers died in similar conditions building the British railway in Egypt.

Initially international opinion was skeptical and Suez Canal Company shares did not sell well overseas. Britain, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 did not buy any significant number of shares. All French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 shares were quickly sold in France. A contemporary British sceptic claimed:



The canal opened to shipping on 17 November 1869. Although numerous technical, political, and financial problems had been overcome, the final cost
Cost overrun
A cost overrun, also known as a cost increase or budget overrun, is an unexpected cost incurred in excess of a budgeted amount due to an under-estimation of the actual cost during budgeting...

 was more than double the original estimate. The opening was performed by Khedive Ismail of Egypt and Sudan, and at Ismail's invitation French Empress Eugenie in the Imperial yacht Aigle, piloted by Napolean Coste who was bestowed by the Khedive the Order of the Medjidie (Blue Flame of Service c1955). The first ship to follow the yacht Aigle through the canal was the British P&O liner Delta.

After the opening of the canal, the Suez Canal Company was in financial difficulties. The remaining works were completed only in 1871, and traffic was below expectations in the first two years. De Lesseps therefore tried to increase revenues by interpreting the kind of net ton referred to in the second concession (tonneau de capacité) as meaning a ship's real freight capacity and not only the theoretical net tonnage
Net tonnage
Net tonnage is a dimensionless index calculated from the total moulded volume of the ship's cargo spaces by using a mathematical formula...

 of the Moorsom System introduced in Britain by the Merchant Shipping Act in 1854. The ensuing commercial and diplomatic activities resulted in the International Commission of Constantinople establishing a specific kind of net tonnage and settling the question of tariffs in their protocol of 18 December 1873. This was the origin of the Suez Canal Net Tonnage
Net register tonnage
Net register tonnage is a ship's cargo volume capacity expressed in "register tons", one of which equals to a volume of . It is calculated by reducing non-revenue-earning spaces i.e. spaces not available for carrying cargo, for example engine rooms, fuel tanks and crew quarters, from the ship's...

 and the Suez Canal Special Tonnage Certificate
Net register tonnage
Net register tonnage is a ship's cargo volume capacity expressed in "register tons", one of which equals to a volume of . It is calculated by reducing non-revenue-earning spaces i.e. spaces not available for carrying cargo, for example engine rooms, fuel tanks and crew quarters, from the ship's...

 still used today.

The canal had an immediate and dramatic effect on world trade. Combined with the American transcontinental railroad
First Transcontinental Railroad
The First Transcontinental Railroad was a railroad line built in the United States of America between 1863 and 1869 by the Central Pacific Railroad of California and the Union Pacific Railroad that connected its statutory Eastern terminus at Council Bluffs, Iowa/Omaha, Nebraska The First...

 completed six months earlier, it allowed the entire world to be circled in record time. It played an important role in increasing Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an colonisation of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. The construction of the Suez Canal was one of the reasons of the Panic of 1873
Panic of 1873
The Panic of 1873 triggered a severe international economic depression in both Europe and the United States that lasted until 1879, and even longer in some countries. The depression was known as the Great Depression until the 1930s, but is now known as the Long Depression...

, because the goods from the Far East
Far East
The Far East is an English term mostly describing East Asia and Southeast Asia, with South Asia sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons.The term came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 19th century,...

 were carried in sailing vessels around the Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

 and were stored in British warehouses, but sailing vessels were not adaptable for use through the Suez Canal, because the prevailing winds of the Mediterranean Sea blow from west to east. External debts forced Said Pasha's successor, Isma'il Pasha
Isma'il Pasha
Isma'il Pasha , known as Ismail the Magnificent , was the Khedive of Egypt and Sudan from 1863 to 1879, when he was removed at the behest of the United Kingdom...

, to sell his country's share in the canal for £4,000,000 to the United Kingdom in 1875, but French shareholders still held the majority. Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 Benjamin Disraeli was accused by William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone FRS FSS was a British Liberal statesman. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four separate times , more than any other person. Gladstone was also Britain's oldest Prime Minister, 84 years old when he resigned for the last time...

 of undermining Britain's constitutional system, due to his lack of reference or consent from Parliament
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 when purchasing the shares with funding from the Rothschilds.

The Convention of Constantinople
Convention of Constantinople
The Convention of Constantinople was a treaty signed by the United Kingdom, Germany, Austro-Hungary, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia and the Ottoman Empire on October 29, 1888. In the 1880s Britain had recently acquired physical control over the Suez Canal and Egypt...

 in 1888 declared the canal a neutral zone under the protection of the British, who had occupied Egypt and Sudan at the request of Khedive Tewfiq to suppress the Urabi Revolt
Urabi Revolt
The Urabi Revolt or Orabi Revolt , also known as the Orabi Revolution, was an uprising in Egypt in 1879-82 against the Khedive and European influence in the country...

 against his rule. They were later to defend the strategically important passage against a major Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 attack in 1915, during the First World War. Under the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936
Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936
The Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936 was a treaty signed between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Egypt; it is officially known as The Treaty of Alliance Between His Majesty, in Respect of the United Kingdom, and His Majesty, the King of Egypt...

, the United Kingdom insisted on retaining control over the canal. In 1951 Egypt repudiated the treaty, and in 1954 the UK agreed to remove its troops. Withdrawal was completed on 18 July 1956.

Suez Crisis


After the United Kingdom and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 withdrew their pledge to support the construction of the Aswan Dam
Aswan Dam
The Aswan Dam is an embankment dam situated across the Nile River in Aswan, Egypt. Since the 1950s, the name commonly refers to the High Dam, which is larger and newer than the Aswan Low Dam, which was first completed in 1902...

 due to Egyptian overtures towards the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

 nationalized the canal in 1956 and transferred it to the Suez Canal Authority, intending to finance the dam project using revenue from the canal. This led up to the Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

, known in the Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

 as the 'Tripartite Aggression', in which the UK, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 invaded Egypt. According to the pre-agreed war plans under the Protocol of Sèvres
Protocol of Sèvres
The Protocol of Sèvres was a secret agreement reached between the governments of Israel, France and the United Kingdom during discussions held between 22 and 24 October 1956 at Sèvres, France...

, the Israelis invaded Egypt's Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

, forcing Egypt to engage them militarily, and allowing the Anglo-French partnership to declare the resultant fighting a threat to the canal and enter the war on Israel's side.

To save the British from what he thought was a disastrous action, and to stop the war from a possible escalation, Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs, Lester B. Pearson
Lester B. Pearson
Lester Bowles "Mike" Pearson, PC, OM, CC, OBE was a Canadian professor, historian, civil servant, statesman, diplomat, and politician, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis...

, proposed the creation of the first United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 peacekeeping force to ensure access to the canal for all, and an Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai. On 4 November 1956, a majority of nations at the United Nations voted for Pearson's peacekeeping resolution, which mandate
Mandate (international law)
In international law, a mandate is a binding obligation issued from an inter-governmental organization like the United Nations to a country which is bound to follow the instructions of the organization....

d the UN peacekeepers to stay in Sinai unless both Egypt and Israel agreed to their withdrawal. The United States backed this proposal by putting pressure on the British government by selling sterling
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

, which would cause it to depreciate. Britain then agreed to withdraw its troops. Pearson was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

. As a result of damage and ships intentionally sunk under orders from Nasser the canal was closed until April 1957, when it was cleared with UN assistance. A UN force (UNEF
United Nations Emergency Force
The first United Nations Emergency Force was established by United Nations General Assembly to secure an end to the 1956 Suez Crisis with resolution 1001 on November 7, 1956. The force was developed in large measure as a result of efforts by UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and a proposal...

) was established to maintain the free navigability of the canal, and peace in the Sinai Peninsula.

Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973


In May 1967 President Nasser ordered the UN peacekeeping forces out of Sinai, including the Suez Canal area. Israel objected to the closing of the Straits of Tiran
Straits of Tiran
The Straits of Tiran , are the narrow sea passages, about wide, between the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas which separate the Gulf of Aqaba from the Red Sea...

 to Israeli shipping. The canal itself had been closed to Israeli shipping since 1949, except for a short period in 1951–1952.

After the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, called the Six Day War, the canal was closed by an Egyptian blockade until 5 June 1975. As a result, fourteen cargo ships known as "The Yellow Fleet" remained trapped in the canal for over eight years. In 1973, during the Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

, the canal was the scene of a major crossing by the Egyptian army into Israeli-occupied Sinai, and in the later stage of the war, a crossing by the Israeli army
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 to African Egypt. Much wreckage from this conflict remains visible along the canal's edges.

In reaction to the Yom Kippur War the United States initiated Operation Nimbus Moon
Operation Nimbus Moon
Operation Nimbus Moon was the 1974 clearance of naval mines and unexploded ordnance from portions of the Suez Canal conducted by the United States and its allies following the Yom Kippur War between Egypt and Israel in 1973. The work was completed on 20 December 1974.-External links:* *...

. The helicopter carrier USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2)
USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2)
USS Iwo Jima was the lead ship of her class and type—the first ship to be designed and built from the keel up as an amphibious assault ship. She carried helicopters and a detachment of embarked Marines for use in the Navy's "vertical envelopment" concept of amphibious operations...

 was sent to the Canal, carrying twelve RH-53D
CH-53 Sea Stallion
The CH-53 Sea Stallion is the most common name for the Sikorsky S-65 family of heavy-lift transport helicopters. Originally developed for use by the United States Marine Corps, it is also in service with Germany, Iran, Israel, and Mexico...

 minesweeping helicopters of HM-12. These partly cleared the Suez Canal between May and December 1974. She was relieved by the LST USS Barnstable County (LST1197). The British Royal Navy initiated ( Operation Rheostat) and Task Group 65.2 provided the RN Minehunters, HMS Maxton, HMS Bossington & HMS Wilton and HMS Abdiel a Practice Minelayer / MCMV Support Ship which spent two periods of 6 months in 1974 and in 1975 based at Ismailia. When the Canal Clearance Operations were completed, the Suez Canal and its lakes were considered 99% clear of mines. The Canal was then reopened by President Sadat aboard an Egyptian destroyer which led the first convoy Northbound to Port Said in 1975.

The UNEF
United Nations Emergency Force
The first United Nations Emergency Force was established by United Nations General Assembly to secure an end to the 1956 Suez Crisis with resolution 1001 on November 7, 1956. The force was developed in large measure as a result of efforts by UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and a proposal...

 mandate expired in 1979. Despite the efforts of the United States, Israel, Egypt, and others to obtain an extension of the UN role in observing the peace between Israel and Egypt, as called for under the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty of 1979, the mandate could not be extended because of the veto by the USSR in the security council, at the request of Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

. Accordingly, negotiations for a new observer force in the Sinai produced the Multinational Force and Observers
Multinational Force and Observers
The Multinational Force and Observers is an international peacekeeping force overseeing the terms of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.-Background:...

 (MFO), stationed in Sinai in 1981 in coordination with a phased Israeli withdrawal. It is there under agreements between the United States, Israel, Egypt, and other nations.

Capacity




The canal allows passage of ships up to 20 m (65.6 ft) draft or 240,000 deadweight tons and up to a maximum height of 68 m (223.1 ft) above water level and a maximum beam of 77.5 m (254.3 ft) under certain conditions.

Some supertankers are too large to traverse the canal. Others can offload part of their cargo onto a canal-owned boat to reduce their draft, transit, and reload at the other end of the canal.

Alternatives



The main alternative is travelling around the Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

 at the south of the African continent. This was the only route before the canal was constructed, and—more recently—when the canal was closed. It is still the only route for ships which are too large
Capesize
Capesize ships are cargo ships originally too large to transit the Suez Canal . To travel between oceans, such vessels used to have to pass either the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn. In effect Capesize reads as "unlimited"...

 for the canal. In the early 21st century the long route has enjoyed increased popularity because of increasing piracy in Somalia
Piracy in Somalia
Piracy off the coast of Somalia has been a threat to international shipping since the second phase of the Somali Civil War in the early 21st century...

. Between 2008 and 2010, it is estimated that the canal has lost 10% of traffic due to the threat of piracy, and another 10% due to the financial crisis. An oil tanker going from Saudi Arabia to the United States has 2,700 miles longer to go when taking the route south of Africa rather than the canal.

Before the canal's opening in 1869 goods were sometimes offloaded from ships and carried overland between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

In recent years, the shrinking Arctic
Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

 sea ice
Sea ice
Sea ice is largely formed from seawater that freezes. Because the oceans consist of saltwater, this occurs below the freezing point of pure water, at about -1.8 °C ....

 has also made the Northern Sea Route
Northern Sea Route
The Northern Sea Route is a shipping lane officially defined by Russian legislation from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean specifically running along the Russian Arctic coast from Murmansk on the Barents Sea, along Siberia, to the Bering Strait and Far East. The entire route lies in Arctic...

 viable for commercial cargo ships plying between Europe and East Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

 during a six-to-eight week window in the summer months, shaving off thousands of miles from the voyage compared to the Suez Canal. According to polar climate researchers, as the extent of the Arctic summer ice pack recedes, the route will become passable without the help of icebreaker
Icebreaker
An icebreaker is a special-purpose ship or boat designed to move and navigate through ice-covered waters. Although the term usually refers to ice-breaking ships, it may also refer to smaller vessels .For a ship to be considered an icebreaker, it requires three traits most...

s for a greater period each summer.

The Bremen
Bremen
The City Municipality of Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany. A commercial and industrial city with a major port on the river Weser, Bremen is part of the Bremen-Oldenburg metropolitan area . Bremen is the second most populous city in North Germany and tenth in Germany.Bremen is...

-based Beluga Group claimed in 2009 to be the first Western company to attempt crossing the Northern Sea Route for shipping without assistance from icebreakers, cutting 4000 nautical miles off the journey between Ulsan
Ulsan
Ulsan , officially the Ulsan Metropolitan City, is South Korea's seventh largest metropolis with a population of over 1.1 million. It is located in the south-east of the country, neighboring Busan to the south and facing Gyeongju to the north and the Sea of Japan to the east.Ulsan is the...

, Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

 and Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

, the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

.

Operation



The canal has no locks due to the flat terrain, and the minor sea level difference between each end is inconsequential for shipping.

There is one shipping lane with passing areas in Ballah-Bypass near El Qantara and in the Great Bitter Lake.
On a typical day, three convoys transit the canal, two southbound and one northbound. The first southbound convoy enters the canal in the early morning hours and proceeds to the Great Bitter Lake, where the ships anchor out of the fairway, awaiting passage of the northbound convoy. The northbound convoy passes the second southbound convoy, which moors in Ballah-Bypass. The passage takes between 11 and 16 hours at a speed of around 8 kn (16 km/h; 10 mph). The low speed helps prevent erosion of the canal banks by ships' wakes.

By 1955 approximately two-thirds of Europe's oil passed through the canal. About 7.5% of world sea trade is carried via the canal today. In 2008, a total of 21,415 vessels passed through the canal and the receipts from the canal totaled $5.381 billion, with the average cost per-ship at roughly $251,000.

New Rules of Navigation that constitute an improvement over the older ones were passed by the board of directors of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) to organise vessels’ and tankers’ transit that came into force as of 1 January 2008.

The most important amendments to the Rules include allowing vessels with 62 feet (18.9 m) draught to transit and increasing the allowed breadth from 32 metres (105 ft) up to 40 metres (131.2 ft) following improvement operations, as well as imposing a fine on vessels using divers without permission from outside the SCA inside the canal boundaries.

The amendments also allow vessels loaded with dangerous cargo, such as radioactive or inflammable materials, to transit, if they conform with the latest amendments provided by international conventions.

The SCA also has the right to determine the number of tugs required to assist warships transiting the canal to achieve the highest degree of safety during transit.

The Suez Canal can handle more ship traffic and larger ships than the Panama Canal
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

.

Connections between the shores


From north to south, the connections are:
  • The Suez Canal Bridge
    Suez Canal Bridge
    The Suez Canal Bridge, also known as the Shohada 25 January Bridge or the Egyptian-Japanese Friendship Bridge, is a road bridge crossing the Suez Canal at El Qantara. The Arabic "al qantara" means "the bridge". The bridge links the continents of Africa and Asia.-Design and construction:The bridge...

     (30.828248°N 32.317572°E), also called the Egyptian-Japanese Friendship Bridge, is a high-level road bridge at El Qantara. In Arabic, al qantara means "the bridge". It has a 70 metres (229.7 ft) clearance over the canal and was built with assistance from the Japan
    Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

    ese government and by PentaOcean
    PentaOcean
    is a major Japanese construction firm. It specializes in marine works and land reclamation. It is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Osaka Stock Exchange, and Nagoya Stock Exchange as ticker 1893.It originated from Mizuno Gumi in 1896 in Hiroshima Prefecture, and later renamed to the current...

     Construction.
  • El Ferdan Railway Bridge
    El Ferdan Railway Bridge
    The El Ferdan Railway Bridge is a swing bridge that spans the Suez Canal near Ismailia, Egypt. It is the longest swing bridge in the world, with a span of 1100 ft...

     (30.657°N 32.334°E) 20 km (12.4 mi) north of Ismailia
    Ismaïlia
    -Notable natives:*Osman Ahmed Osman, a famous and influential Egyptian engineer, contractor, entrepreneur, and politician, was born in this town on 6 April 1917....

     (30°35′N 32°16′E) was completed in 2001 and is the longest swing span bridge
    Swing bridge
    A swing bridge is a movable bridge that has as its primary structural support a vertical locating pin and support ring, usually at or near to its centre of gravity, about which the turning span can then pivot horizontally as shown in the animated illustration to the right...

     in the world, with a span of 340 m (1100 ft). The previous bridge was destroyed in 1967 during the Arab-Israeli conflict.
  • Pipelines taking fresh water under the canal to Sinai
    Sinai Peninsula
    The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

    , about 57 km (35.4 mi) north of Suez, at 30°27.3′N 32°21.0′E.
  • Ahmed Hamdi Tunnel
    Ahmed Hamdi Tunnel
    The Ahmed Hamdi Tunnel is an automobile tunnel under the Suez Canal. It has two lanes of traffic, one in each direction, and connects the Asian Sinai Peninsula to the town of Suez on the African mainland. It was originally constructed as a shield tunnel by the British government in 1983. Shortly...

     (30°5′9"N 32°34′32"E) south of the Great Bitter Lake (30°20′N 32°23′E) was built in 1983. Because of leakage problems, a new water-tight tunnel was built inside the old one, from 1992 to 1995.
  • The Suez Canal overhead line crossing
    Suez Canal overhead line crossing
    The Suez Canal overhead line crossing is an important electrical power line built across the Suez Canal in 1998, located in the city of Suez, Suez Governorate, Egypt...

     (29.996°N 32.583°E) powerline was built in 1999.


A railway on the west bank runs parallel to the canal for its entire length.

Environmental impact



The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 created the first salt-water passage between the Mediterranean and Red seas. Although the Red Sea is about 1.2 m (4 ft) higher than the eastern Mediterranean, the current between the Mediterranean and the middle of the canal at the Bitter Lakes flows north in winter and south in summer. The current south of the Bitter Lakes is tidal, varying with the height of tide at Suez. The Bitter Lakes, which were hypersaline natural lakes, blocked the migration of Red Sea species into the Mediterranean for many decades, but as the salinity of the lakes gradually equalised with that of the Red Sea, the barrier to migration was removed, and plants and animals from the Red Sea have begun to colonise the eastern Mediterranean. The Red Sea is generally saltier and more nutrient-poor than the Atlantic, so the Red Sea species have advantages over Atlantic species in the salty and nutrient-poor eastern Mediterranean. Accordingly, most Red Sea species invade the Mediterranean biota, and only few do the opposite. This migratory phenomenon is called Lessepsian migration (after Ferdinand de Lesseps) or Erythrean invasion. Also impacting the eastern Mediterranean, starting in 1968, was the operation of Aswan High Dam across the River Nile. While providing for increased human development, the project both reduced the inflow of freshwater and ended all natural nutrient-rich silt from entering the eastern Mediterranean at the adjacent Nile Delta
Nile Delta
The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers some 240 km of Mediterranean coastline—and is a rich...

. This provided less natural dilution of Mediterranean salinity and ended the higher levels of natural turbidity
Turbidity
Turbidity is the cloudiness or haziness of a fluid caused by individual particles that are generally invisible to the naked eye, similar to smoke in air. The measurement of turbidity is a key test of water quality....

, additionally making conditions more like those in the Red Sea.

Invasive species originated from the Red Sea and introduced
Introduced species
An introduced species — or neozoon, alien, exotic, non-indigenous, or non-native species, or simply an introduction, is a species living outside its indigenous or native distributional range, and has arrived in an ecosystem or plant community by human activity, either deliberate or accidental...

 into the Mediterranean by the construction of the canal have become a major component of the Mediterranean ecosystem, and have serious impacts on the Mediterranean ecology, endangering many local and endemic Mediterranean species. Currently about 300 species from the Red Sea have been identified in the Mediterranean Sea, and there are probably others yet unidentified. The Egyptian government's intent to enlarge the canal has raised concerns from marine biologists, fearing that this will worsen the invasion of Red Sea species in the Mediterranean.

Construction of the Suez Canal was preceded by cutting a small fresh-water canal from the Nile delta
Nile Delta
The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers some 240 km of Mediterranean coastline—and is a rich...

 along Wadi Tumilat to the future canal, with a southern branch to Suez and a northern branch to Port Said. Completed in 1863, these brought fresh water to a previously arid area, initially for canal construction, and subsequently facilitating growth of agriculture and settlements along the canal.

Timeline

  • Circa 1799 — Napoleon Bonaparte conquers Egypt and orders a feasibility analysis. This reports a supposed 10 metres (32.8 ft) difference in sea levels and a high cost, so the project is put on hold.
  • Circa 1840 — A second survey finds the first analysis incorrect. A direct link between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea is possible and not as expensive as previously estimated.
  • 30 November 1854 — The former French consul in Cairo, Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps, obtains the first license for construction and subsequent operation from the Viceroy for a period of 99 years.
  • 6 January 1856 — Lesseps is provided with a second, more detailed license.
  • 15 December 1858 — Lesseps establishes the "Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez", with Said Pasha
    Sa'id of Egypt
    Muhammad Sa'id Pasha was the Wāli self-declared Khedive of Egypt and Sudan from 1854 until 1863, officially owing fealty to the Ottoman Sultan but in practice exercising virtual independence. He was the fourth son of Muhammad Ali Pasha. Sa'id was a Francophone, educated in Paris.Under Sa'id's rule...

     acquiring 22% of the Suez Canal Company; the majority is still controlled by French private holders.
  • 25 April 1859 — The Suez Canal construction officially starts.
  • 16 November 1869 — The Suez Canal is opened, being owned and operated by Suez Canal Company.
  • 18 December 1873 — The International Commission of Constantinople establishes the Suez Canal Net Ton and the Suez Canal Special Tonnage Certificate (as known today)
  • 25 November 1875 — Britain becomes a minority share holder in the Suez Company, acquiring 44% of the Suez Canal Company, with the remainder being controlled by French business syndicates.
  • 20 May 1882 — Britain invades Egypt, with French assistance, and begins its occupation of Egypt.
  • 25 August 1882 — Britain takes control of the canal.
  • 2 March 1888 — The Convention of Constantinople
    Convention of Constantinople
    The Convention of Constantinople was a treaty signed by the United Kingdom, Germany, Austro-Hungary, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia and the Ottoman Empire on October 29, 1888. In the 1880s Britain had recently acquired physical control over the Suez Canal and Egypt...

     renews the guaranteed right of passage of all ships through the Suez Canal during war and peace; these rights were already part of the licenses awarded to Lesseps, but are recognized as international law.
  • 14 November 1936 — Following a new treaty
    Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936
    The Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936 was a treaty signed between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Egypt; it is officially known as The Treaty of Alliance Between His Majesty, in Respect of the United Kingdom, and His Majesty, the King of Egypt...

    , Britain theoretically pulls out of Egypt, but establishes the 'Suez Canal Zone', under its control.
  • 13 June 1956 — Suez Canal Zone is restored to Egyptian sovereignty, following final British withdrawal and years of negotiations.
  • 26 July 1956 — Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal Company; all its Egyptian assets, rights and obligations are transferred to the Suez Canal Authority, which compensates the previous owners at the established pre-nationalization price.
  • 31 October 1956 to 24 April 1957 — Suez Canal is blocked to shipping following the planned invasion
    Protocol of Sèvres
    The Protocol of Sèvres was a secret agreement reached between the governments of Israel, France and the United Kingdom during discussions held between 22 and 24 October 1956 at Sèvres, France...

     of the eastern Sinai by Israel, and later French and British, occupation of the Suez Canal Zone.
  • 22 December 1956 — The canal zone is restored to Egyptian control, following French and British withdrawal, and the landing of UNEF
    United Nations Emergency Force
    The first United Nations Emergency Force was established by United Nations General Assembly to secure an end to the 1956 Suez Crisis with resolution 1001 on November 7, 1956. The force was developed in large measure as a result of efforts by UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and a proposal...

     troops.
  • 5 June 1967 to 10 June 1975 — Suez Canal is blocked by Egypt, following a war with Israel
    Six-Day War
    The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

    ; it becomes the front line during the ensuing War of Attrition
    War of Attrition
    The international community and both countries attempted to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. The Jarring Mission of the United Nations was supposed to ensure that the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 242 would be observed, but by late 1970 it was clear that this mission had been...

     and the 1973 war, remaining closed to international shipping, until general agreement
    Sinai Interim Agreement
    The Sinai Interim Agreement, also known as the Sinai II Agreement, was a diplomatic agreement signed by Egypt and Israel on September 4, 1975...

     was near.
  • 1 January 2008 — New rules of navigation passed on by the Suez Canal Authority come into force.

Presidents of the Suez Canal Company (1858–1956)


Before nationalisation:
  • Ferdinand de Lesseps
    Ferdinand de Lesseps
    Ferdinand Marie, Vicomte de Lesseps, GCSI was the French developer of the Suez Canal, which joined the Mediterranean and Red Seas in 1869, and substantially reduced sailing distances and times between the West and the East.He attempted to repeat this success with an effort to build a sea-level...

     (15 December 1858 – 7 December 1894)
  • Jules Guichard (17 December 1892 – 17 July 1896) (acting for de Lesseps to 7 December 1894)
  • Auguste-Louis-Albéric, prince d'Arenberg
    Auguste-Louis-Albéric, prince d'Arenberg
    Auguste-Louis-Albéric, prince d'Arenberg was a French noble and monarchist politician, born in Paris. Third son of Pierre d'Alcantara Charles Marie, duc d'Arenberg and Alix de Talleyrand-Périgord, he inherited his father's title because of his older brothers' premature deaths.He was noted for his...

     (3 August 1896–1913)
  • Charles Jonnart
    Charles Jonnart
    Charles Célestin Auguste Jonnart was a French politician.Born into a bourgeois family in Fléchin, Pas-de-Calais, Charles Jonnart was educated at Saint-Omer, then in Paris. Interested in the Algeria that he had visited as a young man, he was appointed in 1881 by Léon Gambetta to the office of...

     (19 May 1913–1927)
  • Louis de Vogüé (4 April 1927 – 1 March 1948)
  • François Charles-Roux (4 April 1948 – 26 July 1956)

Chairmen of the Suez Canal Authority (1956–present)


Since nationalisation:
  • Doctor
    Doctor (title)
    Doctor, as a title, originates from the Latin word of the same spelling and meaning. The word is originally an agentive noun of the Latin verb docēre . It has been used as an honored academic title for over a millennium in Europe, where it dates back to the rise of the university. This use spread...

     Mohamed Helmy Bahgat Badawy (26 July 1956 – 9 July 1957)
  • Engineer
    Engineer
    An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures, machines and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality,...

     Mahmoud Younis (10 July 1957 – 10 October 1965)
  • Engineer Mashhour Ahmed Mashhour
    Mashhour Ahmed Mashhour
    Engineer Mashhour Ahmed Mashhour was the Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority - Birth :...

     (14 October 1965 – 31 December 1983)
  • Engineer Mohamed Ezzat Adel (1 January 1984 – December 1995)
  • Admiral
    Admiral
    Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

     Ahmed Ali Fadel (22 January 1996 – present)

Popular culture

  • Suez
    Suez (film)
    Suez is a 1938 film account of the building of the Suez Canal by Ferdinand de Lesseps, played by Tyrone Power. It was so highly fictionalized that de Lesseps' descendants sued for libel....

    , a film made in 1938, starred Tyrone Power
    Tyrone Power
    Tyrone Edmund Power, Jr. , usually credited as Tyrone Power and known sometimes as Ty Power, was an American film and stage actor who appeared in dozens of films from the 1930s to the 1950s, often in swashbuckler roles or romantic leads such as in The Mark of Zorro, Blood and Sand, The Black Swan,...

     as de Lesseps and Loretta Young
    Loretta Young
    Loretta Young was an American actress. Starting as a child actress, she had a long and varied career in film from 1917 to 1953...

     as a love interest. An epic, it is very loosely based on history.
  • The Suez Canal appears in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia
    Lawrence of Arabia (film)
    Lawrence of Arabia is a 1962 British film based on the life of T. E. Lawrence. It was directed by David Lean and produced by Sam Spiegel through his British company, Horizon Pictures, with the screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson. The film stars Peter O'Toole in the title role. It is widely...

    ,
    where it marks the end of T. E. Lawrence
    T. E. Lawrence
    Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB, DSO , known professionally as T. E. Lawrence, was a British Army officer renowned especially for his liaison role during the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18...

    's march across the Sinai Peninsula
    Sinai Peninsula
    The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

     to report to his superiors in Cairo
    Cairo
    Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

    .
  • The Suez Crisis
    Suez Crisis
    The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

     is mentioned in the 1989 hit song "We Didn't Start the Fire
    We Didn't Start the Fire
    "We Didn't Start the Fire" is a song by Billy Joel. Its lyrics are made up from rapid-fire brief allusions to over a hundred headline events between March 1949 and 1989, when the song was released on his album Storm Front...

    " by Billy Joel
    Billy Joel
    William Martin "Billy" Joel is an American musician and pianist, singer-songwriter, and classical composer. Since releasing his first hit song, "Piano Man", in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States, according to...

    .
  • Michael Palin
    Michael Palin
    Michael Edward Palin, CBE FRGS is an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter best known for being one of the members of the comedy group Monty Python and for his travel documentaries....

     visited the Suez Canal in 1988 as part of his TV adventure series, Around the World in 80 Days
    Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days
    Around the World in 80 Days is a BBC television travel series first broadcast in 1989. It was presented by comedian and actor Michael Palin. The show was inspired by Jules Verne's classic novel Around the World in Eighty Days, in which a character named Phileas Fogg accepts a wager to...

    .
  • The Suez Canal is also a map in the game Battlefield 2142
    Battlefield 2142
    Battlefield 2142 is a first-person shooter video game developed by Digital Illusions CE and produced by Electronic Arts . It is the fourth game in the Battlefield series...

    .
  • The idea of the Suez Canal is mentioned in the Asterix comic book series, Asterix and Cleopatra
    Asterix and Cleopatra
    Asterix and Cleopatra is the sixth book in the Asterix comic book series by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. It was first published in serial form in Pilote magazine, issues 215-257, in 1963.-Synopsis:...

    by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. It was first published in serial form in Pilote magazine, issues 215–257, in 1963. On page 47, Asterix offers the future assistance of the Gaulish people should Egypt consider a passage linking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. This offer is taken up 1,900 years later.
  • In Jules Verne's novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the Nautilus travels through an underwater passage beneath the Suez Canal.
  • On an episode of the TV series Glee
    Glee (TV series)
    Glee is an American musical comedy-drama television series that airs on Fox in the United States, and on GlobalTV in Canada. It focuses on the high school glee club New Directions competing on the show choir competition circuit, while its members deal with relationships, sexuality and social issues...

    , Sue Sylvester
    Sue Sylvester
    Susan "Sue" Sylvester is a fictional character of the Fox musical comedy-drama series, Glee. The character is portrayed by actress Jane Lynch, and has appeared in Glee from its pilot episode, first broadcast on May 19, 2009. Sue was developed by Glee creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian...

     (Jane Lynch
    Jane Lynch
    Jane Marie Lynch is an American comedian, actress and singer. She gained fame in Christopher Guest's improv mockumentary pictures such as Best in Show and is currently best known for playing the role of Sue Sylvester in the television series Glee...

    ) claims she was a sniper and an aid to the storming of the Suez Canal.
  • Sailors that are aboard a U.S. Navy ship while it transits the full length of the Suez canal are deemed part of the "Safari to Suez
    Line-crossing ceremony
    The ceremony of Crossing the Line is an initiation rite in the Royal Navy, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps, and other navies that commemorates a sailor's first crossing of the Equator. Originally, the tradition was created as a test for seasoned sailors to ensure their new shipmates...

    " fraternity.

See also

  • Panama Canal
    Panama Canal
    The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

  • Pharaoh (historical novel
    Historical novel
    According to Encyclopædia Britannica, a historical novel is-Development:An early example of historical prose fiction is Luó Guànzhōng's 14th century Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which covers one of the most important periods of Chinese history and left a lasting impact on Chinese culture.The...

     by Bolesław Prus, incorporating motifs of an ancient Suez Canal)

Sources

  • Britannica (2007) "Suez Canal", in: The new Encyclopædia Britannica, 15th ed., 28, Chicago, Ill. ; London : Encyclopædia Britannica, ISBN 1-59339-292-3
  • Galil, B.S. and Zenetos, A. (2002). "A sea change: exotics in the eastern Mediterranean Sea", in: Leppäkoski, E., Gollasch, S. and Olenin, S. (eds), Invasive aquatic species of Europe : distribution, impacts, and management, Dordrecht ; Boston : Kluwer Academic, ISBN 1-4020-0837-6, p. 325–336
  • Garrison, Ervan G. (1999) A history of engineering and technology : artful methods, 2nd ed., Boca Raton, Fla. ; London : CRC Press, ISBN 0-8493-9810-X
  • Oster, Uwe (2006) Le fabuleux destin des inventions : le canal de Suez, TV documentary produced by ZDF
    ZDF
    Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen , ZDF, is a public-service German television broadcaster based in Mainz . It is run as an independent non-profit institution, which was founded by the German federal states . The ZDF is financed by television licence fees called GEZ and advertising revenues...

    and directed by Axel Engstfeld (Germany)
  • Sanford, Eva Matthews (1938) The Mediterranean world in ancient times, Ronald series in history, New York : The Ronald Press Company, 618 p.

External links