The Suez Canal


The Suez Canal – a navigable sea canal in northeastern Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. The Suez Canal is the shortest water route between the ports of the Atlantic and Indian oceans (8-15 thousand kilometers less than the way around Africa). The Suez Canal zone is considered a conditional boundary between the two continents: Asia and Africa. The main input ports: Port Said from the Mediterranean Sea and Suez from the Red Sea. The Suez Canal runs through the Isthmus of Suez in its most reduced and narrow part, crossing a series of lakes and lagoon Menzala. November 17, 1869 the canal was opened to shipping.

However, its history goes deep into antiquity. Ancient historians reported that the Theban Pharaohs of the Middle Kingdom have tried to build a canal connecting the right arm of the Nile with the Red Sea. The first reliable historical evidence of connection of the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea by the canal dates back to the reign of Pharaoh Necho II (end VII – beginning of VI century BC.). Since then, the canal has undergone periods of improvement and decline.

The idea of the construction of the Suez Canal re-emerged in the second half of the XIX century. The world in this period experienced the era of colonial partition. North Africa, the closest part of the continent to Europe, attracted attention of the leading colonial powers – France, Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain. Egypt was the subject of rivalry between Britain and France. Britain has become the main adversary of the canal construction. At that time, it had the most powerful fleet in the world and controlled the sea route to India via the Cape of Good Hope. And in the case of opening the canal, such countries as France, Spain, Holland and Germany could send their low-tonnage vessels through it. They would have created a serious competition for the UK maritime trade.

This undergraduate essay tells more about fate of the Suez Canal, the origin and outcome of crisis.

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