Suez Canal – Colonial masterpiece that governs world trade! – Everything you need to know

Suez Canal is a man-made artificial waterway in a north-south direction through the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt. Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. The canal separates the two big continents, Asia and Africa. And made the shortest oceanic route between Europe and India and the countries at the Western coast of the Pacific Ocean.  Read about the Panama canal.



The Suez Canal was constructed by the Suez Canal Company. And Ferdinand de Lesseps had formed the company in the year 1858. The construction of the canal was started in 1859 and continued till1869. On 17 November 1869, the canal was opened. The canal has reduced the distance between the Arabian Sea and England by 8,900 km or 10 days. It opens the direct vessel for North Atlantic Ocean to the North Indian Ocean through the Mediterranean Sea. Suez Canal is the extent in between Port Said in the north and Suez in the south, which is 193 km in length.

International status

The Suez Canal was built for international trade but its international status was ignored for many years. In 1888 the Convention of Constantinople treaty was signed by all the European countries. It was that have powerful maritime trade at that time. According to the treaty, the canal will be open for all the countries whether it is war or peace. Great Britain has signed this treaty in the year 1904. The treaty also includes the fortification of the bank of canals.

The Suez Canal and the Political Crisis

After the construction of the canal was completed, the traffic is less in the route in the initial years. The financial problem during the construction of the canal provided the British government. With the purchase of the share and it became the major shareholder of the Suez Canal Company in the year 1875.  

The canal is the most important to strengthen the British Economy. This is due to the cost and time that reduces for the British to travel across their colonies and the oilfields in the Persian Gulf.   In 1875 British government have strong control over Egypt when they become bankrupt and financially it has to depend on open Europe.

English and French involvement

The British and The French continued to rule over the country which makes the people of Egypt angry. And finally British invaded Egypt.

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Egypt is able to maintain its independence because of the Anglo-Egyptian treaty of 1936. And in World War 1 Britain becomes the protector of Egypt. And sent forces to protect the canal and take complete control of the Suez Canal. The Anglo-Egyptian treaty declared Egypt a sovereign state in 1936; Britain did not agree to withdraw its troops from Egypt until 1956.

Suez crisis

 Suez Crisis started in July 1956, when the president of Egypt has nationalized the Suez Canal and closed the Straits of Tiran. That ultimately resulted in the invasion of the UK, France, and Israel. After the interference of the United Nation, all these three nations has taken their forces back and the canal was open to the countries for commercial shipping.

This Suez Crisis was there for a longer duration which resulted in the shutdown of the canal by Egyptian authority in 1967 during the war between Israel and Egypt. The canal was opened in 1975 after the settlement between Israel and Egypt.

Since the canal was opened and remained an important route that allowed international ships to avoid the difficult and long route of southern Africa.

Suez Canal is the world’s longest trade route and is very important for the waterways for European countries and the eastern part of the world. Read more about infrastructure here.

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